One day in 1973, acting on a whim, Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr, final year photography students at Manchester Polytechnic, attended a Granada TV open day to view the newly reconstructed set of Coronation Street. There they learned that location filming of the popular soap opera was shortly to end. This was because wholesale regeneration of Salford’s housing stock was sweeping away the ranks of Victorian terraced streets and their paving of stone setts, the very features which defined how a TV audience expected ‘the north’ to look. If the drama were to continue to look like itself, exterior scenes would henceforth be shot only at the studio.
This discovery inspired Meadows and Parr to go looking for a former classic ‘Street’-like location to document before the bulldozers moved in. They settled on June Street in Ordsall, twenty houses which were still fully occupied. Over eight weeks or so, using the college Hasselblad and a bright photoflood lightbulb (screwed into the ceiling socket), they photographed each household — adults, children, dogs, cats, the budgie and, in one case, a tortoise — sitting together in their front rooms. When it was all done, they invited everyone to take part in a group photograph.
On 21 May 1973, BBC Look North broadcast a TV news feature constructed around their photographs incorporating a sound montage in voice-over of June Street residents articulating their anxieties about being relocated. Meadows and Parr were paid £10.
June Street was demolished in 1975. Coronation Street airs three nights a week and is now in its 62nd year.
Café Royal Books is a small independent publisher of photography photobooks or zines, and sometimes drawing, solely run by Craig Atkinson and based in Southport, England.
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