Len Grant’s Our House
17 Apr 2007
Reviewed by Ken Wilson Title: Our House Edited by : Len Grant Published by: Len Grant Photography, 2006 ISBN: ISBN 10: 0-9526720-4-9 ISBN 13: 978-0-9526720-4-3 Price: £10.00Len Grant’s Our House, published to follow his curatorship of the exhibition of the same name at The Lowry, is an invaluable record of one of the more radical and less documented social projects in recent British history. The photographic and verbal portraits of the residents facing rehousing on the ‘New Deal’ estates of Cardroom/New Islington, Hattersley and Salford constitute a model of balanced reportage that perhaps only an independent publication can aspire to. The balance of views is admirable (although, as Grant readily acknowledges, not necessarily representative), particularly given English Partnership’s and Urban Splash’s support of the project. The book appears to cover many more residents than the most vociferously political. Any conclusions are left to the reader, though the interviews inevitably tend to attribute the descent of the ‘sink’ estate to a lack of political representation and foresight. If there is a criticism, it is perhaps a slight lack of clarity on its intended readership. As a permanent social record, it feels much less substantial than it ought to, and in such close confines the diversity of the individual approaches seem like a lack of editorial control. A more confident price on a weightier tome with a more limited print run would have provided a much better permanent record of the project.
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