IMAGES of life in Glasgow's slum tenements are to be shown in Scotland for the first time in decades.

The photographs will be exhibited in Edinburgh almost 50 years after they were commissioned by housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

The exhibition comes after the documentary photographer Nick Hedges agreed to lift a 40-year restriction on the use of the photographs in Scotland.

Hedges had originally limited their use, as many feature young children and their families, in order to protect the subjects.

The photographer, now in his 70s, spent three years visiting some of Scotland’s poorest and most deprived areas, documenting housing conditions and speaking to the people who lived among the squalor.

He said that many welcomed his camera because it was the first time anyone had taken an interest in the daily struggles of their lives.

The photographs were all taken around the Gorbals, Govan and Maryhill in the late 1960s.

In one a young mother wheels her baby into a derelict tenement. Hedges recalled that she told him that just a few days earlier she had been in bed with her husband and they had both woken up to loud noises.

Her husband ran outside and found a wrecking ball demolishing the tenement block. The conditions were so bad the demolition men had not thought that people could still be living there, and did not think to check.

One image within the original collection shows a family who lived in one room in Glasgow’s Maryhill and slept with the lights on in a bid to scare off rats. They told Rodger that one night they had counted 16 rats in the small, damp room.

The photographer said: “The exhibition marks a homecoming for these photographs and I’m thrilled that Shelter Scotland has worked tirelessly to ensure that the public will have access to them – to see the conditions and levels of sheer poverty faced by families in recent history.

“I was a young man when I took these photos. They shaped my understanding of documentary photography – how images can serve a purpose. In the years which followed, I became committed to photographing the everyday life of people. I never pursued anything more exotic.

“There is no single picture that I am most proud of in the collection. The people’s words, the stories I heard while I photographed them are just as important. Together they mean more than any single image can.”

He added: “I haven’t forgotten any of the names of people I photographed or the conversations we had 40 years ago. They are just as clear in my mind today as if they happened yesterday.

“Whilst in one sense these photographs are a piece of social history, in another sense they serve to remind us that the crisis in housing is as significant today as it was then.

"The insecurity, the ill health and the anxieties that young families, the poor and the elderly face is unfortunately as real now as it was then. It points to our failure as a society to address the basic needs of our fellow citizens.”

The exhibition in St Andrew Square is free and features 20 photographs out of a collection of over 1,000 images. It runs until October 30.