Since the summer of 2018 residents of the three housing schemes have been participating in a unique photography project.   They have been sharing their family pictures and photo albums and talking about the memories and stories that the photographs provoke.    The activities have been taking place monthly and only stopped in February 2020 as a result of the Covid pandemic and lockdown. 

The project has been led by GRAIN Projects, a photography organisation based in Birmingham, and photographers Stephen Burke and Kate Peters. 

Photographs were scanned and stories were recorded via conversations and reminiscing as residents shared details of their childhoods, occupations, family occasions, homelife and special occasions and memorable events.  Everyone had a story to tell and the photographs provided an important visual history of the resident’s lives and of Birmingham and surrounding areas.  Photography is unique as it captures a specific moment in time, a memory and enables people to remember and tell their story. 

Kate Peters, a celebrated portrait photographer based in London, was invited to make portraits of the residents who participated.    Kate has worked with celebrities, actors, politicians and Olympians and has make a special set of photographs with the residents.  The resulting portraits are very honest and noble depictions of all those that took part. 

One of the portraits, of Quinton resident Olive Hall, was awarded as one of the ‘Portrait of Britain 2020’ photographs, a significant national photography award.  

Fantastic portrait of Olive Hall by Kate Peters'.

A small-scale exhibition, designed to show some of the beautiful photographs shared by the residents, was on display during the Lench’s Trust Founders Day celebrations in 2019.   

As a result of the project a small publication was launched in September 2020.  All the residents that took part have copies for themselves and their families.  The book features all the participating resident’s portraits, a selection of their own personal archive photographs and lines of text from their memories and descriptions. 

Stephen, Kate, Nicola and the team would like to thank everyone that was involved in the project.  It was a great privilege getting to know everyone and to hearing about their photographs and stories.  We hope you enjoy the book and we look forward to seeing you again when social distancing allows. 


Credit to Kate Peters' for the amazing new portrait photographs of residents.

A few quotes from the book

‘I met my husband in the army.  He came to where I was for a little while.  I knew as soon as I saw him that I would marry him.  I met men from all over the place in the army… and bless me he came from Erdington.’

‘Photographs are important – you can look back at them -you’ve got your memories then.  It helps to keep the memories.’

 ‘I had that dress for my wedding.  My friend said get on the 74 bus to Hockley, you’ll see the sweet shop and then press the bell.  That’s who made my dress.’