This Gallery form a collection that was part of a recent commission for Imagine Hillfields part of a larger project called Imagine. The project was and is about how we relate to our environment and how we imagine our present and future, connecting communities through research. Hillfields is an urban suburb, it is in many ways very much like the area I live in in Norwich, somewhere that has seen repeated attempts at regeneration and therefore suffers from a slightly eclectic appearance with Victorian and Edwardian sitting alongside 1960s and 1970s architecture. There are elements of the early proto-industrial Top-shops mixed with tower blocks and terraces that turn into late twentieth century maisonettes and bungalows; a mixture of different elements of different developmental processes and phases overlaying each other. It has been bisected by huge roads and suffers from the predictable and depressing familiar knock-down rhetoric that Mile Cross, Magdalen Street and St Augustines and Norwich over the water echo. The irony is not lost on me, these areas are often the most vibrant, imaginative and inclusive communities in a city.
It is an area that has seen immense change, and unlike Coventry city centre escaped the worst of the blitz has suffered the good intentions of town planners much the same as many British cities have. It has a remarkably diverse community, and continues to support new waves of immigrants. It is all told a fantastic bit of city I was fortunate enough to be shown it all in detail by photographer Jason Scott Tilley, Ben Kyneswood from Warwick University and local historian Stas Librowski amongst others.
We shot the area over two days based on a body of work accumulated by Ben and Stas through Hillfields history group and municipal and other local archives,. And also had access to the frankly fabulous work by John Blakemore through Jason, John’s work is a joy to use for rephotography, the human elements of the originals make these a particularly remarkable body of work.
The work formed part of the exhibition at Fargo (Far Gosford Street) in August some of which is now on display at City College Coventry. Ultimately the whole collection of rephotographs is in the gallery below, Click on the pictures to view.
More Blitz Ghosts and rephotography images are available here