In 1985 I lived at one end of Tenter Hill, a weaver’s terrace comprising five houses. At the other end lived Mr Hawley. He lived alone, was registered blind and occupied only the ground floor rooms of his house. He was aged around ninety, making him born in the 1890s. When the time came for him to be moved into a home and his house sold, I popped round and recorded his meagre and spartan life on black and white film.
His sink is a washing up bowl on a shelf, his cooker is a 2-ring Baby Belling. The wiring for his electricity is on the outside of the walls. His toilet is a commode next to the sofa. A picture of him and his late wife is glued to the wall by the strip-light. He rarely got dressed and lived in pyjamas and dressing gown.
This was 1985, the year when Live Aid raised over £30 million for the the starving in Africa, when Manchester United beat Everton to the FA Cup, when soap opera Eastenders went on air for the first time, when Mohammed Al Fayed bought Harrods and the year that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was refused and honorary degree by Oxford University.