View and zoom into this image on our new collection website
Women in a Public Washhouse, Glasgow
© Estate of Humphrey Spender/Getty Images

Reference URL

Women in a Public Washhouse, Glasgow 1939

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Spender was sent to Glasgow in 1939 to photograph a story for ‘Picture Post’ magazine. It formed one of a series of articles concentrating on life in Britain’s industrial cities. His imagery, shot with an unobtrusive 35mm camera, captured various aspects of Glasgow life and continued his anthropological interest by recording everyday activities from across the social spectrum. Despite reporting high unemployment in the ship-building industry and a chronic housing shortage, the tone of the Picture Post article remained positive. There was “no friendlier city in Britain”, it concluded. However, as Spender later noted, Picture Post’s reasons for commissioning the story were driven by the desire to increase its readership in Scotland.

Glossary Open


The scientific study of the behaviour and development of humans.


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.

Anthropology, Commission


  • Acc. No. PGP 115.2
  • Medium Silver gelatine print
  • Size 18.90 x 28.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1988