Workers' Playtime


Workers’ Playtime was a BBC Radio programme, broadcast three times a week at lunchtime, live from different factory canteens across Britain. The programme was intended as a morale booster for industrial labourers in the mid 20th century. These photographs explore the history and significance of performance and entertainment in working class communities around the UK. This tradition has its origins in the music halls of Victorian Britain and flourished in the Working Men’s Clubs of the 20th century as workers’ leisure time increased.

The project is inspired by my Father, who performed an Elvis Presley tribute act on the Working Men’s Club circuit throughout my childhood. It always struck me that many of his fellow entertainers in the clubs also worked in the local coal mines or had other manual day jobs. They were using a talent for performance and showmanship to make an extra income in the evenings and at weekends. The idea of the transformation of these men and women out of their workaday clothes and into neatly pressed costumes for the stage has always fascinated me.

This is an ongoing project in the early stages of development.