Things to look at and read

On Utah Beach

We'd just been away. It didn't take me very long to remember that I'm not very good at holidays. The vacancy of it all gets to me very quickly, I find it difficult to relax and conjure 'fun' up out of being somewhere just because it's somewhere else. We tended to end...

Lost in a Landscape: Wolterton

A bit of a beauty, this was nearer the start of our circuit quite obviously positioned in Wolterton Park next to the main drive; It's another life remnant a piece of the past which has gained purchase in the now by becoming a folly for the gentry. It is very pretty...

Lost in a landscape: Worstead

  I was looking for something else, I didn't actually find what I was after, because of gates and no access signs and the sound of people murdering wildlife in Westwick woods, but as I pootled down another dead end this vista was there, so I hopped along the lane...

Through glass: 1960s Norwich – part 4, streets

Difficult to subdivide these really, so the obvious one was to produce a post of 1960s Norwich street scenes or buildings which were shot. Some things are instantly recognisable, others less so. some things just haven't changed much beyond a coat of paint, others are...

Lost in a Landscape: Buckenham Carrs

Heading west of the city two days before Christmas, and it's all a bit of a bind. A glue of cars sticks the inner ring-road fast, the whole route backed up with shoppers, escapees, people leaving work early, the driving dead. The light is at a tangent – the winter...

Vanishing Point: The Somme still flows – Schwaben redoubt

I've been distracted enough not to put fingers to keyboard for the last week or so. Mainly because I had an upcoming trip to France, my first on my own due to some fairly uncontrolled sets of human circumstance and how time plays its stupid games. Travelling isn't an...

Sucking Eggs

My mum died over ten years ago at a ripe old age after period of massive emotional instability and half mad bought on by a large stroke. It was a hinterland for her and us – her children. A period which lasted 18 months from the onset – the invisible hole burning in...

Approaching Nirvana

Heroes are strange beasts, as is memory. Nirvana never were particularly the former for me, but are very much part of the latter. Retrospectively – 25 years on almost to the day, it's still quite nice to know you were present at the stuttering birth of a new squalling...

Through glass: Victorian Great Yarmouth

Victorian Great Yarmouth   I'm always on the look out for old photographs, negatives, slides and plates. In particular, the old, forgotten and unseen. The vague visual detective work involved in trying to work out when the shutter fell as much as where, it is...

Dear Dad…

I've resisted the urge to paint this incomplete picture for a while. I started writing this some months ago, it would have been my dad's birthday, that got me thinking about him and about how I'm heading towards the age he was when my mum had me. And I've written...

Vanishing Point: Devil’s Wood

Oak is a feature of the English psyche, a fabled national wood if there is such a thing. It proliferates throughout our history from warships and traders building an Empire to the familiar furniture and ancient twisting house frames. The royal Oak subverted to shelter...

Lost in a landscape: The Denes

Summer is nearly upon us, it's May, a bank holiday weekend. What better time for a lazy trip to Great Yarmouth for a mindless wander along the prom and up to the strange outland of the Denes, even hazy sun is nice, in this swearing breathing Martin Parr exhibition....

New from The Flatland

Forgotten Norfolk - Brian Wells

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New Forms – City

Photographs of Norwich North taken from forever to 2023

Vanishing Points

Western Front prints from 2012 to 2018, from the 2018 exhibition.

Colour

Landscapes, prints from various series and some one-offs by request.

Lost in a landscape

Various prints from the East, Lost in Landscape and Coasting series.

New Forms – edge

Photos of Great Yarmouth between 2000 and 2021.

Coasting

Photography from along the coast of East Anglia

Posters

A selection of posters based on various buildings, objects and projects.

Limited Editions

Special edition numbered/signed Giclée prints – studio printed

Flatland

Small publishing co-operative, slowly growing our book list.

Lost in a Landscape

and other places…

A series of essays

An unstructured collection of written pieces which are basically a long form series of intermittent work – mostly observational, written to accompany photographs shot over the last ten to fifteen years across Norfolk and East Anglia. These essays look both at what is seen as well as what isn’t; acknowledging the depth of the landscapes we briefly inhabit, and the lives lived that are disguised by geographical, environmental and human change.

The history of us is in our soil, mixed with the crag and flint, hidden in our place-names, and lines our fields and boundaries. The past is there, in the lines our rivers, roads, streets and buildings. The narrative we exist as part of is as deep as it is long.

Lost in a Landscape: Buckenham Carrs

Lost in a Landscape: Buckenham Carrs

Heading west of the city two days before Christmas, and it's all a bit of a bind. A glue of cars sticks the inner ring-road fast, the whole route backed up with shoppers, escapees, people leaving work early, the driving dead. The light is at a tangent – the winter...

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Lost in a landscape: Little Snoring

Lost in a landscape: Little Snoring

When you drive you travel along the edges of things, where modern life has built a wall along the edge of the land, the tall banks, berms and tree lines of the A roads and motorways where the litter and pieces of spent tyre lie in the dust. The piles of scrapings...

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The forgotten chapel – William of Norwich

The forgotten chapel – William of Norwich

Ring-roads, go round and past. Nature of the beast I suppose, circling. Norwich is blessed with ever-increasing circles; from the old castle ditches and the fee to the city wall and the inner link roads, out to the proper ring-road now forming into another ripple of...

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The Walled City 4: St Augustines Gate

The Walled City 4: St Augustines Gate

This used to be the back wall of Magpie Print. I remember it being an inside; the inside of a building full of printing gear with 'Mudpie Bob' as we called him at the helm steering it. The trade seas were rough, from letterpress through to photolitho. I used to help...

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Lost in a landscape: The Denes

Lost in a landscape: The Denes

Summer is nearly upon us, it's May, a bank holiday weekend. What better time for a lazy trip to Great Yarmouth for a mindless wander along the prom and up to the strange outland of the Denes, even hazy sun is nice, in this swearing breathing Martin Parr exhibition....

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Collapsing new buildings: Barrack Road Gasometer

Collapsing new buildings: Barrack Road Gasometer

Another thing to collect, often more by chance than design. These are unmistakable monuments in our urban landscapes and I happened to pass this yesterday in Great Yarmouth and happened to stop and get my camera out and take a few snaps of it after it skylined in...

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Lost in a landscape: Hardingham – four crosses

Lost in a landscape: Hardingham – four crosses

There are axis of travel in our existence, roads that we use often at various times that become embedded into us a part of our journey through life. Well worn paths that aren't exactly desire lines, they are the things that link us together, part of our familial...

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Coasting: Sidestrand – the moving edge

Coasting: Sidestrand – the moving edge

Sidestrand - the moving edge There are a few places where you can really see the dynamism of the erosion of the soft coastline. It is obvious along nearly the whole length of Norfolk and well into Suffolk, our soft glacial memory is easily eroded. Shifts can be seen...

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Waterland: Strumpshaw fen

Waterland: Strumpshaw fen

There is something mysterious and magical about the Broads. I've idled a fair while in the past sitting in a boat, the idiot at the other end of the line from the maggot or more correctly a dead lamprey or smelt when I used to fish. It's basically trying desperately...

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Lost in a Landscape: Kett’s Lane, Swannington

Lost in a Landscape: Kett’s Lane, Swannington

I've written about Swannington before, but not Kett's Lane. It's a lovely slice of countryside, unspoilt for an area which was for a period in the mid twentieth century a fairly industrialised airfield. It sits between the main axial roads radiating outward from...

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Lost in a Landscape: Little Ryburgh

Lost in a Landscape: Little Ryburgh

A bit of a late addenda to a trip to Pudding Norton last year that ended up with a chase around the countryside near Fakenham looking at Deserted Medieval Villages, shrunken settlements and ruins. The whole area is haunted by the Flockmasters and full of such sites....

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Coasting: Happisburgh Low light

Coasting: Happisburgh Low light

It's a habit, almost a ritual. On Boxing day we go on a beach walk, blow away the cobwebs, usually at Happisburgh. This drives further back than our family now. We did the same when I was a child. My mum and dad and whoever else happened to be there on Boxing Day were...

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Vanishing Points

The Great War series

Vanishing Points is a long-form photographic series with accompanying interpretation consisting of stories relating to the landscapes of the Western Front, memorials and some of the figures that peopled them.

A selection of 36 final images was made from over 120 photographs which formed the core of the 2018 exhibition and collection at St Peter Hungate in Norwich, The exhibition was timed to coincide with the centenary of the Armistice and ran for two weeks.

The response was truly staggering.

The original articles can be found on the links below and images can be purchased from the collection in the shop.

Articles

Vanishing points: The Bull Ring, Etaples

Vanishing points: The Bull Ring, Etaples

Etaples was one of the main base camps along the coast of Northern France, being a port, a lot of men, thousands of them would have disembarked here. Many more would have embarked. It was known as "The Bullring", as were most of the base camps, but this one was the...

Vanishing Point: Out of sight

Vanishing Point: Out of sight

Genealogy is an inconsistent science, and growing a family tree can quickly become an obsessive piece of semi-fictional detective work. The urge to push further and further backward heading into our peasant laden past, hankering after the occasional sight of a king or...

Vanishing Point – Langemark

Vanishing Point – Langemark

Langemark is I feel one of the most desolate corners of the Western front. As I mentioned in another piece on Vladslo there is something so desperately bleak and sad about German cemeteries. They don't lack in any of the respectfulness of the loss or the death or the...

Vanishing Point: Devil’s Wood

Vanishing Point: Devil’s Wood

Oak is a feature of the English psyche, a fabled national wood if there is such a thing. It proliferates throughout our history from warships and traders building an Empire to the familiar furniture and ancient twisting house frames. The royal Oak subverted to shelter...

Vanishing Point: High Wood

Vanishing Point: High Wood

At locations like High Wood, sometimes the only way to start these things is difficult, so here is a Piece of Mackintosh, not perhaps his best poem, but he can sum up the general situation in the area of High Wood better than I can. He knows what it was like because...

Vanishing Point: Fricourt New Military

Vanishing Point: Fricourt New Military

The best and the worst of it all are hidden over a brow. You won't find the chattering crowds of the nexus points where death draws itself to a peak, this is not Thiepval or the Menin Gate. Nobody talks, no one sniggers, there is no rustle of frite wrapper when a hush...

Vanishing Points series prints

If you would like to buy a Limited or Open Edition Print from the Vanishing Points series some are still available in the shop

Like what I do?

If you like what I do you can support the site running costs here by sending me a few quid using Kofi. Always much appreciated.

Blitz ghosts, bomb maps and more…

Ten years ago I did a thing, the echo is still rattling about in my head, occasionally it slides noisily back into my consciousness so I add to it, it’s mostly here.

Blitz Ghosts: St Michael at Thorn, Norwich

Blitz Ghosts: St Michael at Thorn, Norwich

St Michael at Thorn, Norwich. Or it was. It stood just behind the Archant building, sort of opposite or adjacent to the shops that survived the flame-grilling of Bonds in April 1942, this is 11 years before the bombs fell in 1931. So I'm standing roughly, within a...

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Blitz Ghosts: St Benedicts Church, Norwich

Blitz Ghosts: St Benedicts Church, Norwich

St Benedicts Church, Norwich is quite hidden away, a sad little relic. The tower is still there, preserved like like a thick flint chimney, or a Cloigtheach except no bells ring here, It reminds me of Messines in Flanders too. It's set in some grass just off St...

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Blitz Ghosts: Aylsham Road

Blitz Ghosts: Aylsham Road

Aylsham Road, Norwich, April 1942 and nearly now, one of my first Norwich Ghosts. There are two pictures of the area. Both I believe taken by George Swain. The top Blitz Ghost is the first one I ever did, and the bottom one is the last. A 500kg landed here, it blew...

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Norwich Castle Museum Ghost 1941 > 2012

Norwich Castle Museum Ghost 1941 > 2012

Parachute troops, bare-headed and wearing 'jump jackets', in Norwich during exercises in Eastern Command, 23 June 1941. (Credit: IWM collection). Original Taken by Lt Puttnam, Official War Office photographer. Image of drizzle and murk, Nick Stone, Official...

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Norwich Blitz Ghosts: St Giles

Norwich Blitz Ghosts: St Giles

Upper St Giles Another Norwich Blitz ghosts, Baedeker Raids again, not entirely sure which night to be honest 27th or 29th, I'm thinking 27th when Barn Road copped a load. What is interesting here though as much as anything is you can see how the new Cleveland Road...

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Through glass

Found slides, glass plates, photographs and archive material.

Through glass: North Norfolk holiday 1960s

Through glass: North Norfolk holiday 1960s

Another small collection of found slides. These ones came via Martin Snelling (@LeftofNever on twitter), ex-Norwich lad, who runs View From This Side; a project which collects found transparencies and slides. I swapped them for a few slides of Albania, because... I...

Through Glass: Lowestoft early 1960s

Through Glass: Lowestoft early 1960s

I recently went to visit Phil to take some stuff back. I'm terrible for not getting round to things and I'd had a pile of glass sitting on my desk at work for about three months, it's heavy, he's shut when I'm open and open when I'm shut and I just never got round to...

Through glass: North Norfolk, Herbert Thomas Cave

Through glass: North Norfolk, Herbert Thomas Cave

A second set of Philip's glass. These are 6 x 6 inch glass plates, mostly in rather nice condition, a few are de-laminating slightly and they're a bit dotty in places but basically all sound. These are believed to be by a photographer called Herbert Thomas Cave. The...

Through Glass – Philip’s Glass: Norwich Trams

Through Glass – Philip’s Glass: Norwich Trams

A few sample images from a batch of glass of Trams in Norwich I've got access to via a friend Phil. There are only three of these and they are in a bit of a state, looks like they weren't fixed terribly well and are quite badly smoked so I've had to pull them back a...

Through glass: 1960s Norwich – part 4, streets

Through glass: 1960s Norwich – part 4, streets

Difficult to subdivide these really, so the obvious one was to produce a post of 1960s Norwich street scenes or buildings which were shot. Some things are instantly recognisable, others less so. some things just haven't changed much beyond a coat of paint, others are...

Through glass: Norwich 1960s – part 3, churches.

Through glass: Norwich 1960s – part 3, churches.

There aren't many of churches in the Phoenix collection, but what there are are fairly interesting. A selection and also some of the archaeological dig in near the Garth at Blackfriars and the Art College, Norwich. Norwich in the 1960s Part 3 St Helen's Church,...

Persistence of memory

Graffiti Jam, Sovereign House, Anglia Square 2009

I'm a bit of a graffiti watcher, I like the stuff basically, it's that human mark-making thing. The 'remember me' trope. I've written about it a little bit before, arborglyphs at Blickling springs to mind. I've also watched a lot of developments with Medieval Graffiti...

Babylon’s Burning

I’m reasonably open about the fact that I have a mental health condition – I suffer from anxiety. I talk about it occasionally on social media, friends know, but I haven’t ever made any kind of thing about it apart from writing a piece about facing fear and the Great...

Cambridge – persistence of memory

Persistence of memory My mum grew up here. Her and therefore my ancestors were here for hundreds of years working as maids and cleaners, labourers, cartmen, and brickies, laying the railways, further back pulling the root veg through the surface of the peaty soils to...

Sucking Eggs

My mum died over ten years ago at a ripe old age after period of massive emotional instability and half mad bought on by a large stroke. It was a hinterland for her and us – her children. A period which lasted 18 months from the onset – the invisible hole burning in...

Spitfire versus Hurricane

The workhorse and the charger. I lived in North Walsham as a kid. RAF Coltishall was only about 6 miles away. We all grew up with the English Electric Lightning; the cold-war emblems, a sliver flash glossily belting past on high, occasionally breaking the sound...

9/11 – the years on

Guest post from Louisa Griffith-Jones. Sometimes you just stumble across a remarkable piece of writing. Louisa posted this earlier today. I read this about 9/11 standing at a bus-stop, a lump in my throat. She is a friend, someone I remember from gigs in the early...

On Utah Beach

We'd just been away. It didn't take me very long to remember that I'm not very good at holidays. The vacancy of it all gets to me very quickly, I find it difficult to relax and conjure 'fun' up out of being somewhere just because it's somewhere else. We tended to end...

Dear Dad…

I've resisted the urge to paint this incomplete picture for a while. I started writing this some months ago, it would have been my dad's birthday, that got me thinking about him and about how I'm heading towards the age he was when my mum had me. And I've written...

It’s beginning to and back again

We went to London. We do this journey quite often, from here, the east it is a fairly routine trip, a day out; one of those the ever shortening distances that only just hold us all apart. We have offspring who have set up shop there in the expense and dull glitter,...

Collapsing new buildings: Sheffield

I used to go to Sheffield a fair bit, less so now as one of the reasons we went as often as we did was one of my children lived there and she now lives in Greece, via Slovakia and Vietnam, she is one of the estimated 2 million Britons living in Europe that handily get...

Black Dog Tales

Mapping the Grim

This was part of the original intent of the Public Archaeology project (for PA2015) and for me, because data is poetry and maps are fine prose. Due to the nature of my working life; the fact that I'm a bit of a butterfly/battering ram when it comes to how I approach...

Tom Starling: Old Shuck – Salthouse into Kelling

Wonderful piece of Norfolk dialect from a well-spoken North Norfolk chap relating his brief but nervy meeting with Old Shuck just outside Salthouse towards Kelling; one of the various 'two masters' routes that relate to the North Norfolk version of the tale based...

Passing on Black Shuck

Tim Fox-Godden is friend who prints and illustrates, he also originates from the same area of Norfolk as me, he strolls down many of the same psychological byways and holloways as me and occasionally our paths cross. He has produced this rather lovely linocut as a...

Black Shuck of the Fens

Black Shuck of the Fens Guest post: Matthew Champion I have a confession to make. I was born on the edge of the fens. A child of the bleak, flat and desolate waste that sits on Norfolk's western boundary, between 'the Isle' and the cold North Sea. I'm not a true fen...

Physical Graffiti – Jess Macdonald

Guest post from Jess Macdonald From a very early age, I’ve always loved ghosts and ghouls, and long-legged-beasties and things that go bump in the night. Folklore, myths, the supernatural. I’ve never believed any of it, but it’s always exerted a hold on me. I’d plead...

The Mouldwarp King

Like badgers in channels of hypocausts devoid of fire, The Mouldwarps scatter the cairns of our mothers, And the bogs hold our fathers pinned to wicker.[1] The mole is an ‘earth-thrower’ - a mouldywarp, molywarppe, moudiwarp, mouldwarp, moldwarp. The collision between...

The Black Dog of Sculthorpe Moor

Guest post by Nick Headland A couple of Black dog tales, neither experienced first hand which is more-or-less how Folklore works and how it evolves. So much so that Nick pointed out in his message that if he asked the other people involved now the story would change,...

Black Dog lore of the North York Moors

Guest post: Martyn Hudson, Newcastle University The North York Moors of North East Yorkshire are well known for their witch folklore and for lore around hybrid human and animal beings including the witch-hares of Danby Dale, Westerdale and Farndale, mermen and women...

The Halvergate Shuck

Guest post from Nigel Thorpe There's nothing quite as strange and good as a tale from the horses mouth, someone you know who has encountered, done, or experienced something. Nigel bumped into Shuck at the very start of the millennium. This story serves to show what a...

Black dog tales: Bungay’s Black Shuck

"There were assembled at the same season, to hear divine service and common prayer in the parish church of Bongay, the people therabouts inhabiting. Immediately hereupon, there appeared in a most horrible similitude and likenesse to the congregation then and there...

Georeferencing

No place like home: Viking Norfolk

The landscape reveals many things about our past. You can stand in the middle of the city entirely enveloped in the past; the Norman cathedral and Castle, medieval churches and Tudor buildings, the remnants of war and peace, people remembered in plaques. To cast a net...

Norwich: “Brightest shining of the city” – part 1

Viking and Anglo-Saxon Norwich We live here. It is easy to forget where Norwich comes from, we take our surroundings for granted; a city that has grown from virtually nothing over the last 1200 years. A scattering of people living on gravel terraces above a bend in a...

Mapping the Grim

This was part of the original intent of the Public Archaeology project (for PA2015) and for me, because data is poetry and maps are fine prose. Due to the nature of my working life; the fact that I'm a bit of a butterfly/battering ram when it comes to how I approach...

Ghosts: London blitz aerial maps

These are blitz ghosts: London blitz aerial maps using images from various collection overlain on Google map aerials. An iconic image from one German Heinkel III bomber showing another over Rotherhithe, the Surrey Commercial and West India Docks and Isle of Dogs to...

Maps: Norwich City Wall

Basically Norwich City Wall with all the main elements marked on, This is not 100% accurate for detail, It's stepping off point and that is all at that stage. Building started on 1294, finished in 1350-ish, then we started to pull it down. Privately financed partly by...

Lost Rivers of Norwich

I'm nothing if not unoriginal, this has come about for two reasons; me watching the excellent Thames Discovery project at work on Twitter, And more recently an idea of Jon Welch's based on seeing this rather remarkable work of Art by Stephen Water; his is hours of...

WW1: Trench Ghosts Part 2

Part 2 in a series of an uncertain number of these things. There's no project like an open ended one... St Eloi 1915 St Eloi is just to the South East of Ypres on the Salient, not that far from Hellfire Corner, or Hellfire Roundabout as it is now. There are a number...

WW2 RAF and USAAF airfields in Norfolk mapped

Several years ago, I did this entirely to satisfy my own wanderings around WW2 RAF and USAAF airfields in Norfolk. It's publicly visible on Google already, but it made sense to post it on the website to so it's more findable. It is worth noting that a lot of these...

WW1: Aerial Trench Ghosts Part 1

I did one of these to explain something to someone, then tweeted it and it all went a bit nuts, so it makes sense to put some of them together into posts on here rather than having them scattered to the 00000100 corners of the digital world. Schwaben Redoubt Early...

Ghost Airfields of WW2: Part 2

Second in the series, again a simple trick, sticking an aerial photo on a Google map, Maps eh, what's not to like. A selection here from the fair scatter across Norfolk, more to follow eventually. The Ghost above is from a series of photos which were pointed out to me...