Capturing Hulme's 'inspiration and get up and go energy'


Steve Coogan

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Richard Davis

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Some of those Richard Davis met in Hulme became household names, such as Steve Coogan

Now lost to regeneration, the flats of Manchester’s Hulme were the home to poets, artists, musicians and drop-outs in the 1980s and 90s.

Despite being warned that it was a no-go area while studying in the city, photographer Richard Davis decided to move to the buildings, because “I never did like anyone telling me what I should or shouldn’t do”.

Known locally as ‘The Crescents’, he found kindred spirits in the inner-city neighbourhood.

The Birmingham-born student moved into a squat, turned part of it into a dark room and studio and started documenting life in the area, something which he said everyone was happy for him to do.

“Word got out I had a camera and knew how to use it, it was that easy,” he said.

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Richard Davis

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Richard Davis

Image copyright
Richard Davis

“Remember this was well before mobile phones and Manchester at that time didn’t have many photographers.”

“[Hulme had] the most amazing creative spirit, sense of community and, for a lot of people, a real source of inspiration and ‘get up and go’ energy.”

He said the flats drew in “the kind of people mainstream society seemed to reject”, though some of those he got to know – comedian and actor Steve Coogan and poet Lemn Sissay among them – would become household names.

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Richard Davis

Image copyright
Richard Davis

Image copyright
Richard Davis

Gathering his images together for a book, he said it was sad to think that such a vibrant place was now gone.

“Everything you see is no longer there, [it has been] completely bulldozed,” he said.

“I miss the old place – it was like no other, totally unique.”

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Richard Davis

Image copyright
Richard Davis

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Richard Davis lived in Hulme for about five years

Hulme 1980s-90s by Richard Davis is published by Cafe Royal Books



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