A SEARCH has been launched to find the children and their families featured among a collection of photographs that highlighted the deprivation of Scotland's slum tenements.

The pictures were snapped by photographer Nick Hedges around 45 years ago and depict the lives of people living in some of Edinburgh and Glasgow's worst slums.

They are part of an exhibition organised by the homeless charity Shelter Scotland in the capital, staged after the documentary photographer agreed to lift a 45 year restriction on the use.

The embargo was put in place to protect the subjects, as many were of young children and their families.

The pictures capture a vanished time from the two cities' pasts, when the crumbling tenements found in many deprived areas were giving way to modern social housing.

The Herald: A girl applies makeup in a tenement in the GorbalsA girl applies makeup in a tenement in the Gorbals

Looking more like images from the turn of the century than the 1970s, they show families living in damp, squalid, and often dangerous conditions.

Mr Hedges is hopeful that some visitors to the exhibition will be able to recognise the people featured in the images and that he can meet them once again and hear their stories.

He said: "It would be wonderful to meet the children I photographed all those years ago and to hear their stories. I often wonder what happened to them, if they went on to lead happy and healthy lives.

"When I was commissioned by Shelter to take these photographs, I never imagined that decades later they would still have such impact - none more so than on me personally.

"The poverty and terrible conditions I witnessed shocked me to the core. I guess you could say it would bring closure to the project some 45 years after it all began."

One image in the ‘Make Life Worth living’ collection, taken in 1970, shows a young girl sitting barefoot on a bed. Behind her the walls are covered in damp. The fireplace in the corner is crumbling, covered in black soot.

Another shows a father cradling his son while the slum tenement crumbles around them. A large crack in the wall sits ominously behind them.

The Herald: A child sits in a damp tenement flat, 1970A child sits in a damp tenement flat, 1970

Nick, now in his 70s, was commissioned by Shelter in 1968 and spent three years visiting some of Scotland’s poorest and most deprived areas, documenting housing conditions and quashing the myth that only people on the streets are homeless.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “These photographs are a sobering piece of history not only for Shelter Scotland, but the nation as a whole and it’s important to preserve the stories behind them."

A selection of more then 1,000 photographs are on display in a free, open-air exhibition on St Andrew Square in Edinburgh. The exhibition is sponsored by PwC and runs until 30th October, while the pictures can alsbe viewed at www.shelterscotland.org/lifeworthliving.

The Herald: Sisters share a chair in a Gorbals flat, 1970 Sisters share a chair in a Gorbals flat, 1970