Shirley Baker, the famous Manchester photographer, spent a day at the airport in 1987 capturing the experiences of passengers using the airport and a collection of 30 of these photographs will go on display in the library from Monday 4 June.

As well as capturing various areas of the airport, Baker’s photographs also show how people passed the time before a flight by playing cards and board games – a far cry from smart phones, tablets and kindles!  The style of passengers is also brought into focus with big hair and plenty of shell suits on show.

The airport’s famous chandeliers that used to hang in Terminal 1 also make an appearance, along with the historical – pre-mobile phone – phenomenon of people queuing to use public pay-phones, all dressed in iconic 1980’s fashion.

Born in Salford, Baker was famed for her street photography of working class inner-city areas. The photos of Manchester Airport were discovered in the library archives. They explore work created in the summer of 1987 after Shirley Baker was approached by the Documentary Photography Archive (DPA) who were seeking to commission photographers to grow their collection of contemporary work.

All the images are held by Archives+ at Central Library and the full commission can be viewed at



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here