In 1966, The Sunday Times Magazine commissioned John Bulmer and writer, Martin Page, to create a picture story on the quintessential English village.
The typical village had to have all the things that a village should: a butcher, baker, undertaker etc. and not be full of retired people. The researchers finally came up with Pembridge in Herefordshire, by coincidence only a few miles from where John had been brought up and was living at that time.
The published article showed the wide range of activities and amenities but also uncovered another side of local life: the hierarchy that still existed, the petty squabbles, the low pay of local work, lack of opportunities exacerbated by appalling public transport. Bulmer’s photographs capture the lighter side of village life: the local fete, conviviality in the pub and children playing and at school.
John spent most of his time photographing abroad for The Sunday Times and this was a rare commission in England for him.