Street photography: Loyalty to this beloved Manchester town revealed in sharp focus

Angela Christofilou
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Street photography: Loyalty to this beloved Manchester town revealed in sharp focus

Despite growing up in Greece to an English mother and Greek father, I didn’t spend all my summers playing at the beach. We visited family in England, specifically Heywood, Greater Manchester, to see grandparents and the rest of the family.

This town holds a special place in my heart; and it was something of a wonderland to me when I was a kid. “We are going on holiday to Heywood!” I honestly could not wait to get on the plane, see grandma, eat fish and chips and 99p flakes, and go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the day – and enjoy that sunshine when it came.

Heywood was the only England I knew. When I moved to London from Greece in 2008, I was considered the girl from the north, even though I had lived in Athens till then. Manchester is four hours away from Athens by plane, and from London it’s still four hours away, but by coach. I still make that same trip in the summer.

This series of black and white, mainly street, images was shot around the carnival parade, which takes place in the town every year. Heywood has changed in many ways: shops have shut, people have moved into Rochdale, Bury and Manchester city for work, and there is not much to do. People will talk to me about how grim it is, but there are many who have stayed faithful to the town, will never leave and work hard to see it grow.

That loyalty is what I find the most captivating. I met people who have never even visited London and who have no interest in doing so either. There is beauty in this small town, a togetherness that is missing from life in the city. It’s always good to be back.

For more of Angela Christofilou’s work you can visit her website here