The Nick Hedges collection includes 1,000 images taken when he was commissioned by Shelter to document the poor housing conditions suffered by many in this country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hedges travelled all over the country, visiting London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and other major cities, contrasting the conditions he found there with those living in the countryside. The photographs include images of many immigrant communities including, for example, tenements in London funded by the Rothschild family to house Jews fleeing Eastern European persecution in the early 20th century.
Nick Hedges was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, 1943. He studied photography at Birmingham College of Art 1965-1968, and worked with Birmingham Housing Trust on an exhibition about the city’s badly housed. He subsequently worked for Shelter, the National Campaign for the Homeless in London from 1968-1972 as a photographer and researcher, producing exhibitions and publications. He returned to the Midlands to complete a 2 year photographic documentation of factory work. This study was exhibited widely, and published as the book ‘Born to Work’ in 1982. He completed a documentation of the Fishing Industry in the North East for the Side Gallery in Newcastle, which was exhibited and published by the Gallery. He was appointed as subject leader in Photography at the University of Wolverhampton in 1988 until 2002. He is currently working on a project called ‘Conurbation’ with the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at Birmingham University.