All posts filed under: Beauty in decay

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.     There were no council run waste tips when I was young. There are lots now, which is why I’m surprised people feel …

UK Closed doors

The order of things in Britain has changed over the last few years. It has changed at a pace unlike any I’ve seen in my life. Or, does it just seem to be changing faster because I’m getting older? I can’t tell. I can only view the pace of change from my own perspective, distorted or otherwise. Many of our institutions we once thought rock solid have gone or changed so they’re no longer recognisable. It’s inevitable, I suppose. Change has altered much of the fabric of our society,  none more so than the media. The BBC, long regarded as the bastion of independence and autonomy seems to have buckled with its new apparent right leaning bias. The Newspaper industry, always powerful, now seems to have gained a renewed influence as its many independent elements have coalesced around certain powerful individuals. It wasn’t always like that. Britain has a fine record of independent newspapers dotted around the country. The Stamford Mercury, for example, Britain’s oldest continuously published newspaper title having been running since the early …

Victorian cast iron men's urinals under railway​ arches. Central Birmingham. Late 1970's

I talked yesterday of beauty in decay…

Yesterday  I reviewed the book ‘Beauty in Decay’. I mentioned in that review I was interested in this as a subject myself. I have very little work to show in this genre, despite being involved in urban renewal myself, which inevitably meant the destruction of these buildings. Way back then, sadly,  I didn’t carry a camera wherever I went. That’s a great regret to me – and should be a lesson to us all. However, in the mid to late 70’s I did get the occasional frame which indicated my leanings in this direction. I post three here. I hope they interest you. At an exhibition of some of my work back in the 70’s a critic said I was from the “dustbin school”. I was offended back then, I would take that as a compliment today. The image at the top of the page shows a Victorian, cast iron, men’s urinal in central Birmingham. It was placed underneath the railway arches on the approaches to New St Station, near to the Bullring. I returned …