Working lives

Darwell, John ORCID logo ORCID: (2004) Working lives. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33 (4). pp. 719-721. Full text not available from this repository.

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These photographs were taken in 1985 and formed a study of the clothing industry in and around Stockport (in Cheshire, UK).1 Stockport was traditionally known as a centre for the hat making industry. For weeks I prowled Christy & Co., Stockport's largest and oldest hat makers, observing and photographing every aspect of the processes involved in the production of bowler hats, from the soaking in acid baths and felting of rabbit fur, through to the moulding and subsequent finishing of the product. In many ways at the time, and even more so looking at the images now, it was difficult to imagine that such locations still existed in 20th century Britain. As one worker described it to me: ‘Everything in here is hot, wet or both!’.

Though revelling in the spectacle of such locations, and others involving tanneries and clothing manufacture, and feeling a sense of occasion in capturing such environments for posterity, I also thanked my lucky stars that I would not be spending forty years of my working life in such unhealthy settings. Though the factories depicted here have long-since closed, any subsequent long-term health effects are still likely to be experienced by former workers in years to come. Moreover, much of this type of unpleasant and unhealthy work has now been displaced to other countries, where workers will subsequently bear the adverse health effects.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: International Journal of Epidemiology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1464-3685
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Graphics and Photography
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2016 11:31
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 18:45
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