Beauty in decay, Blog post, Documentary, PDBarton, projects
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Once we were friends.

I have early memories from when I was a child, of furniture, amongst other things, being dumped on waste ground. This was post-war Birmingham. In the inner city, there were “bomb sites” as they were called, where houses, shops and businesses had been destroyed by bombing. The city was slow to change so many of these remained into the 60’s.

People would dump, prams, bikes, old mangles and just about anything else on these sites. As they were getting rid of the utilitarian, kite marked, wartime furniture and replacing it with the ‘latest look’ tacky objects, furniture would make a temporary appearance too. If it wasn’t carried off by somebody who was worse off than the person who dumped it we used it as a trampoline, or ocean liner or wartime tank or medieval castle. Inevitably it would be set on fire – especially around Guy Fawkes night, November the 5th.


Urban decay in Birmingham Wimpey or Stubbings flats off Summer lane with demolition going on in the foreground. Early 70’s


Child playing on waste ground. Inner city Birmingham, late 60’s


There were no council run waste tips when I was young. There are lots now, which is why I’m surprised people feel the need to dump their furniture in woods or hedgerows. Afterall they have to drive to get to those places so why not take their junk to the tip? That’s simply perverse.

A sadness remains in these once loved and cherished items. I know you cannot ascribe human emotions to an inanimate object; nevertheless, they wear real loneliness. Perhaps it’s the comparison to the surroundings. Or perhaps somewhat childishly, I just think of them as dumped pets.

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