For the last 4 decades, street photographer Chris Porsz has been documenting working class Brits in his hometown of Peterborough as well as other parts of England over the years. Now 30+ years later, Porsz has spent the better part of a decade tracking down people from his original photos taken in the 70s and 80s and recreating the portraits as well as getting an update on their lives since.
The result is Reunions, a unique book comprising 135 reunions. The self-proclaimed ‘labour of love’ was a huge undertaking that required considerable planning, research and perseverance.
Below you will find a handful of photos from the new book along with blurbs about the people in the photos which were written by Jo Riley. To order your copy, click here.
1. Dog And Tina (1985 And 2015)
Punks Tina Tarr and her partner Dog were pictured near the Cathedral in Peterborough when Tina was 18. The couple left the city in the 1990s and went travelling. They have twins, but are no longer together. Tina now lives in Dorset and makes willow products and hosts weaving workshops. Dog does hedge laying and gardening and lives in South West Wales. “I remember the photo being taken, it was a brilliant time. I had various styles of punk hair for quite a few years,” said Tina. Dog added: “They were good times, I still had hair then”.
2. Railway Kiss (1980 And 2009)
Tony Wilmot was snapped saying goodbye to his girlfriend Sally at Peterborough Railway Station in 1980 and a year later they got married. Tony was 22 and working in Essex as a teacher and Sally was 21 and based in Stafford as a local government officer. On this occasion they had met up in Peterborough and had no idea the photo had been taken. It appeared over 30 years later in a local paper the Peterborough Evening Telegraph and was seen by Tony’s father. The pair, who are now both headteachers and live in Lichfield, Staffordshire, have two children Tom and Jenny who are themselves in their twenties.
3. David Harvey And Tim Goodman (1980 And 2010)
Bridge Street. David Harvey became Chief Superintendent now retired. His son is a policeman in London. Tim Goodman has six children and is a successful businessman.
4. Friends (1982 And 2011)
Under the Guildhall, Cathedral Square. Penny, three sisters Sarah, Louise, Carole and Juliette. In the reunion photo Alison (last on the right) took the place of her sister Juliette who sadly died.
5. Five Boys Running (1987 And 2016)
Andy, who has been married for 21 years and has a daughter, said: ‘I remember playing the arcade game Phoenix, which involved birds hatching out of eggs.’ Andy went into the Army after leaving school and drove trucks in the Transport Corps. He left in 1987 and has been working for the Royal Mail in Werrington, near Peterborough, ever since. Richard is now an electrician in Peterborough and is married with two boys. He said: ‘There were only about 70 of us in our school year and we were all really close. They were happy times.’ Tony James works as a stone cutter and has two children; Aaron works at Ikea and is married with three boys. Devinder moved to Yorkshire in 1986 and is married with two boys and works for the Housing Association. They’ve organised a school reunion and plan to keep in touch.
6. Sisters (1980 And 2013)
Left to right, Shehnaz Begum, her twin sister Rukhsana and their older sister Itrat were spotted sitting in the window of their house on Cromwell Road. ‘We often used to perch in the window and watch what was going on in the road,’ said Shehnaz. ‘My twin sister and I were about seven and Itrat was nine. We loved riding our bikes with the other children in the street and were good friends with another set of twins. Mum said we were quite a handful’. The three sisters still live in Peterborough and see each other regularly. Shehnaz, who is divorced, has a daughter and looks after elderly and disabled people, together with her twin, who is re-married and has five children. Itrat works for the post office and is married with six children.
7. Metal Mickey (1980 And 2016)
Steve Osborn was known as Metal Mickey in the 1980s as he broke both his legs several times in a series of motor biking accidents and had plates and bolts put in them. He said: ‘I even carried on riding my bike with my leg in a cast!’. Steve, who now uses walking sticks to get around, lives in Spalding, Lincolnshire and is married. He had four children, but his son died in 2012. Steve plays the guitar with different bands and has raised more than Â£20,000 for the National Association of Bikers with a Disability.
8. Jewellery Assistant (1990 And 2015)
Vicki Gracey (nee Frost) worked as a sales assistant at a jewellery store in Queensgate Shopping Centre for two years. Vicki has since had jobs behind bars, in retail, hairdressing and restaurants and currently deals with tenancy sustainability. She still lives in the city and is married with two children. ‘I’m a people person and I’ve always had jobs which involve working with the public,’ she said.
9. Good Friends (1980 And 2015)
The four men are still good friends and were delighted to pose for the reunion picture while the pairâ€™s receding locks made it impossible to recreate the sculpted hairstyles they had sported in 1980, the friends were happy to recreate their photo. â€˜I dressed like that for about four years and my family always grumbled that I was taking too long in the bathroom,â€™ says Mr Medler, 47, who is married with three children. â€˜It was surreal retracing our steps.â€™
10. Double Bubble (1980 And 2012)
Sisters Anna (left) and Emma Hankins posed for a picture blowing bubbles with Hubba Bubba bubblegum in Bridge Street. Anna was 11 and Emma was 13 and the girls were waiting for their mum while she was shopping. The siblings, who both went on to have careers in hairdressing, are now married and have families. They still live in Peterborough and see each other regularly. Anna now works in a pharmacy and Emma works for the Ideal World shopping channel. ‘It was hard trying to blow bubbles again after such a long time and took quite a few tries,’ said Anna.
11. Butcher (1980 And 2015)
Richard Price started work at the butchers when he left school at 15 and is pictured here selling meat outside the shop when he was about 17. In 2015. Richard worked at the shop for three years. He still lives in the city and works as an entertainer. The butchers shop became a cafe.
12. lan Medler And Peter Yates (1980 And 2010)
13. Pin Badges (1970 And 2013)
Punks (r to l) John Church, Gary Beckett, Ade Lawrence and Pippa Hodgson were pictured in Cathedral Square, wearing pin badges. John, who is now a painter and decorator in the city, said: ‘The other lads were school friends and Pippa was a mutual friend. We used to hang out together and listen to punk music. I think I was about 15 and on the verge of becoming a punk.’ John is still friends with Ade and they play in a band together. Gary emigrated to Australia, where he works as a project manager and Pippa now lives in Spain.
14. Eating Chips (1983 And 2016)
School friends Martin Coulson (left) and Andy Randall were eating chips bought from the arcade which has now been replaced with Wilkinsons. ‘I think it must have been a Saturday and we’d been to the chip shop. The chips were a bit like McDonald’s fries and were always good,’ said Martin, who was a warehouse manager and is currently re-training. He is married with two children. Andy is a telematics engineer and is married with three children. He added: ‘We were probably going around the toy shops together as we had a Scalextric track’.
15. Ice Cream Seller (1980 And 2014)
Genesio (Gino) Borrillo bought an ice cream van when he moved to Peterborough from Italy and travelled around the city in the summer selling ice cream. Ice cream Seller – Reunion, July 2014. In 1992, GIno set up a pasta shop in the city, which he still runs with his daughter. He is married and has three children and four grandchildren.
16. County School Girls (1979 And 2016)
Sandra Williams, Carmen Chin and Maureen Mayers were friends from County Grammar School but lost touch over the years and the school was converted into sheltered housing in 1985. ‘Carmen was my best friend and lived in my road, so we were always together,’ said Sandra, who is now married with four children and a step-daughter and works as a passenger assistant for disabled children and in a coffee shop. Carmen, who is married with four children and now lives in Lincolnshire, where she has a small holding said: ‘I think we were the first year to go to the grammar school after it changed from being a comprehensive.’ Maureen, who still lives in Peterborough and has four children, had broken her right arm when the photo was taken and hid it behind her back. She said: ‘We’d had freezing cold weather and we were playing tag and I slipped over on the ice’.
17. Pink Mohican (1985 And 2016)
Punk Badger Farcue can still remember winning the Pizza Eating Competition in Cathedral Square. The contest was organized by Stefan Malajny, who ran the Papa Luigi pizza restaurant. Stefan said: ‘I remember Badger managed to eat his pizza in about two minutes, which was very fast.’ Badger was 20 at the time of the contest and worked as a labourer, building dry stone walls. He said: ‘My friends encouraged me to enter and we had to try and eat a 12-inch cheese and tomato pizza as quickly as possible. I won and got a round of applause and front page of the local paper.’ Badger, who has five children, moved to Somerset in 1991 and now tarmacs roads.
18. Tasbir’s First Job (1982 And 2016)
Tasbir Singh worked on a stall at the market for four years after leaving school. Tasbir’s first job – Reunion, July 2016. He then worked for BT and Royal Mail, where he is today. He still lives in the city and is married with three children and four grandchildren. He said: ‘I worked on the stall from the age of 18 until I was 22. It was hard working in all weather’.
19. Ice Creams (1981 And 2015)
Donna Yarnell was five years old when she was photographed with her three-year-old brother Steven licking ice creams in their front garden. Her family moved out of the house two years later so it brought back lots of memories when the pair returned to the street in February 2015. ‘I was really surprised because the front gate was exactly the same,’ said Donna, who works in a pub, still lives in Peterborough and has four daughters. Brother Steven also lives in the city and has a son.