WHILE children across Bradford are being told to stay inside for most of the time due to lockdown, Eccleshill-born photographer Ian Beesley has taken us on a trip down memory lane.

Long before the days of PlayStations, Minecraft and Netflix, kids had to make their own entertainment, usually in the great outdoors.

This week as part of his regular series exploring his career through the lens, Mr Beesley takes us back to kids playing on the streets of Bradford between 1977 and 1979.

Having fun at the back of Listers Mill

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He takes up the story behind him deciding to capture Bradford youngsters from more than 40 years ago.

He said: “On graduating from Bournemouth & Poole Art College in 1977, I was awarded a Kodak Scholarship for social documentation.

“The scholarship was to document changes in northern industrial society.

“One of the things I was interested in was children street games.

“At that time in the inner city there wasn't a lot of green space, so street corners, waste ground were popular playgrounds.

“I would walk from where I lived in Eccleshill through Undercliffe, Idle, Bolton, Manningham, Listerhills, Whetley Hill to the city centre and back home through Bradford Moor.

Proggers or Chumpers reading comics while building a bonfire for November 5. Otley Road, Undercliffe

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“Note progging or chumping was local slang for collecting wood for the bonfire.

“One street might be Proggers and another street Chumpers. Proggers would raid champers bonfires and vice versa.”

High jinx in Eccleshill

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Fun in the snow in Otley Road

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Kids having fun with an old pram in Undercliffe Cemetery

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Playing marbles in Thornton Road 

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A game of ‘piggy’ in Listerhills

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Kids climbing the Henry Moore sculpture at Lister Park

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Young sledgers at Tunwell Mills in Eccleshill

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Two boys looking after the change at Lister Park Fair

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Bubble gum fun

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Who is Ian Beesley?

He was born in Bradford in 1954 and after leaving school in 1972 worked in a mill, a foundry before going to work at Esholt Sewage works, where he was part of the railway gang.

Encouraged by his workmates to go to college and find a career, he took up photography and eventually was accepted to study at Bradford Art College, after which he went to Bournemouth & Poole College of Art.

On graduating he was awarded a Kodak Scholarship for Social Documentation and started to document the demise of industry particularly in Bradford and West Yorkshire.

His work is held in the collections of Bradford City Art galleries and museums, the National Media Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Royal Photographic Society, the V & A London, the National Coal Mining Museum for England and The Smithsonian Museum Washington USA. He has published 40 books.

In 2012 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and in 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bradford for his outstanding contribution to the art and culture and the social and economic development of the city of Bradford.

He is currently artist in residence for the Bradford Institute for Health Research, Gallery Oldham and Yorkshire Water.