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High Street Glasgow

Photographer: Thomas Annan (1829 - 87)

'Close No. 118, High Street, Glasgow, 1868'

In 1868 the photographer Thomas Annan was commissioned to record the tenements of Glasgow before their demolition by the city corporation. The atmosphere of what were regarded as the most squalid slums in Britain is powerfully evoked in these studies, some of which include carefully arranged group of residents. 

In this fourth edition of Annan’s work, William Young wrote of the photographs in his preface, ‘In surveying them, we instinctively feel that human life, born, bred, or led within their shades is sorely handicapped’.

Photogravure

From William Young, The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1900)

John Berger comments:

‘Glasgow today is the only city in Great Britain familiar with poverty, which denounces that imposed poverty, but which is never ashamed of it! Thomas Annan's photograph, taken five generations ago, is a very moving and remarkable testimony to this.’

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