Beware the Flesh Hovels, my son
A nice trip out last weekend, displaying my wares at the Cossrail model railway show at Barrow-on-Soar in Leicestershire. I had an interesting conversation with a couple from an independent video production firm, Nest Films, whose work is very professional and worth looking at. I also ended up chatting with people from my home town, Belper in Derbyshire (it’s a small world) and took an order for some pictures of Scropton crossing in Staffordshire. But it was good to get out and just show my face and my work. Oh, and someone came to the show in their everyday classic – a rather nice Triumph Herald 13/60 convertible…
All that and a rather wonderful local road name, too.
My best news this week has been that I have signed the contract to produce my first book – The Lost railway – the Midlands – for Ian Allan. My working title for this project was “The lost world of British Rail”, because in the period 1971-89 I took a lot of photographs of disappearing steam age railway infrastructure (and the odd train or two). It was my father’s idea – he’d been involved in the West Coast main line resignalling, but left the railway when he started to be asked to work on projects to remove railways rather than modernise them. So in that period, we spent a lot of time travelling the country photographing Victorian stations, signal boxes and goods sheds, and their associated paraphernalia – mechanical signals, cast-iron warning signs, platform luggage trolleys, yard cranes and the 101 other things that have long since disappeared from the railway without anyone really noticing. The pictures are hardly of any great artistic merit, but you can’t go out and take them today, and they show a world that has disappeared in just a very few years. We covered a lot of territory in those eighteen years, though in the end it was getting harder and harder to find infrastructure that hadn’t been modernised, gentrified or removed. Even then, there was a lot that we missed, but when I contemplate the list of places we did get to, I feel quite a sense of achievement. And of course, this was in the days before officialdom frowned on photography in public places, either because of security or “commercial confidentiality”. A couple of examples of this work are attached. Truly a lost world.