Paradise Street: Vintage photographs that examine the lost art of "playing outside" in Britain

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

For children growing up in Britain 50 or more years ago, streets and alleyways were playgrounds of curiosity and adventure. Nowadays, tempted by technology or restricted from being alone outside, "playing out" is no longer the norm.

A new book called Paradise Street brings together the work of 10 photographers including Shirley Baker, Martin O’Neill and Paul Kaye, most of who lived and worked among the people they photographed.

Spanning the 1930s to the late '70s, these images of children playing in the street form a joyful nostalgic record of past freedoms, reveals how attitudes towards safety have shifted over the 20th-century. Taken from streets around the country, in locations including London, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Suffolk and County Durham.

Being from Manchester, we especially love Shirley Baker's photographs around the city – in Chorlton and what look like areas of Moss Side and Withington.

With an introduction by Lucinda Gosling, Paradise Street is published by Hoxton Mini Press in collaboration with Mary Evans Picture Library.

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1968, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1968, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1963, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1963, Shirley Baker © Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

London, 1960–1965, John Gay © John Gay / English Heritage / Mary Evans Picture Library

London, 1960–1965, John Gay © John Gay / English Heritage / Mary Evans Picture Library

Milton Street, Belfast, 1969, David Lewis-Hodgson © David Lewis-Hodgson / Mary Evans Picture Library

Milton Street, Belfast, 1969, David Lewis-Hodgson © David Lewis-Hodgson / Mary Evans Picture Library