HomeArts & EntertainmentPhotographyBlack and white snaps of 1980s pub replicated 40 years later

Black and white snaps of 1980s pub replicated 40 years later

A photographer who took black-and-white pictures of a pub in the 1980s recaptured his old images in the same spot nearly 40 years later.

Russell Boyce, 60, went to the Star & Garter pub in Hull, East Yorkshire, every lunchtime as an art school student and used his 35mm camera to capture locals enjoying pints.

And 39 years later, after working as a photographer for news agency Reuters, he returned to his old haunt to recapture similar scenes and reveal how life inside had changed.

An exterior shot from 1983 on the corner of West Dock Avenue and Hessle Road

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Three men watch the racing in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Russell says the port city had been in “decline” during the 1980s, and most of the people who frequented the bar were “retired old fishermen or those out of work”.

But he says locals, who at first “teased” him about his attempts to take pictures, had later largely ignored him, which allowed him to capture them intimately.

Now he has revisited his former haunt in 2022 to capture his former photos of the “friendly old boys” in the same positions they were taken in 1983.

His striking images contrast the black-and-white original scenes with the modern-day colour settings and make it appear that the regulars have returned for another pint.

Russell says: “I quite like the idea of these old boys appearing in the pub for another pint – another crafty beer in the afternoon. It’s slightly ghostly, but that was the intention.

Eddie Cliffe walks through the Star & Garter in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Manager Johnny Walker behind the bar in 1983 as a barmaid pours a pint in 2022

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

“It does pop you back into the past – especially with these blokes looming out at you. My passion is telling stories. I love people, I love pictures and I love the stories that surround them.

“Revisiting this wasn’t so much looking backwards but actually trying to bring the past forwards.”

Russell, originally from London, went to art school in Hull in 1983 and, during this time, he frequented the Star & Garter pub on Hessle Road, now called the Rayners.

He says: “I lived round the corner. Hessle Road was where the whole fishing industry was – but, basically, it had been devastated.

“When I was there, they were tearing down all the Victorian housing and the industry was disappearing.

Sisters Sally Fletcher and Cora Abbott in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Eddie Cliff walks past Tommy Harding in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

“I used to go there in my lunchtime and, when I first went in, I asked the landlord if I could take pictures.”

Russell says the men who frequented the boozer initially teased him, but after a few visits they forgot he was there and let him get on with his work.

He says: “The old boys were of course a bit like, ‘What are you doing here, you bl**dy southerner.’ At first they joked and teased me, but then they ignored me – and that was great.

“Then I could stand really close to them and it was like I was invisible. They were really nice. I gave them prints, and they liked it – and it just grew and grew.

He adds: “The landlord would always pour me a pint, but I would take a couple of sips from it, take a picture and look around, and it would disappear every single day.

“There was a lot of unemployment there, a lot of poverty, but there was still a very warm feeling.”

Little Ethel, also known as Evil Edna, and Ernie ‘Sweat’ Haines in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Harry Wood with the wooden leg chats with his friends Laurie Dixon, Jimmy Joyce and Bob Drewery in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Russell says that, when he returned to take the pictures over a few visits this year, he was amazed that some parts of the pub hadn’t changed a bit.

He says: “Some of the pictures line up, and that’s really great – like the one of the old boys looking at the TV.

“In the Eighties, the pubs were completely filled with smoke, so the light was quite diffuse and smoky. But I would hold the picture up, and then I went: ‘Oh my god – there it is!’

“The initial pictures were all shot on film, and the new pictures I took were all on digital.”

Two women chat in the pub corner in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Barmaid Vera Talbot pulling a pint as Ken Morton takes a drag on his cigarette and Dennis Kemp shares a joke with John Ofori in 1983

(Russell Boyce/SWNS)

Russell says the pub’s current inhabitants also shared a keen interest in his photography, but they were now more wary about where the images would end up.

He says: “People were immediately interested in what you were doing.

“Back in the Eighties, there was no internet or Facebook, so people would ask, ‘What are you going to do with that?’ And the answer would be ‘probably nothing’.

“But now they ask, ‘Is it going to be on Facebook, Instagram?’ People are so used to instant distribution now that they’re suspicious of it.

“But they liked it, especially when you showed them the old pictures.”


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