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Betty's Paradise

woman in deckchair with a cup of tea on waste ground in front of cathedral

© Stephen Shakeshaft

"1983 and the streets on the hill in front of the Cathedral were all cobbled and the steps snowy white, scrubbed daily. The terraced houses stretched to the huge doors of the Cathedral, and the inhabitants formed a real community around the splendid architecture of the great church.

Betty lived there and when they decided to demolish the houses she stood firm, or sat firm, taking her sun chair and banner. She didn't wish to leave the community she had grown up in.

The houses tumbled and the land in front of the Cathedral looked sad to me. I don't know where Betty moved to but I know the hill missed her."

Stephen Shakeshaft

Reminiscence sessions

A number of reminiscence sessions were held during the exhibition in which people discussed the events, places and people captured in Stephen Shakeshaft's evocative photographs. Here is an example of the responses to this picture:

"Looking at photographs around the Anglican Cathedral and the city centre, it upsets me at how little we've settled for in terms of replacement buildings. We were worth something then and are worth more now. Give us something worth looking at as Stephen Shakeshaft has."