brief – submission – blog – feedback
[21Jul] I would like to make something that combines Eltham’s two principal features – the Palace and the Stephen Lawrence memorial, but I have not thought of a way of doing so.
Thus Plan B stays with my theme from Asg.4, Before-and-after / Then-and-now. I have had this in mind for a while and bought two books of the Old Eltham variety (Kennett, 1991 and Sleep, 2004) back in April. I opened them for the first time yesterday and found the contents fascinating. Today, I set out with two targets in mind, but visited the local library is no more but they have a selection of such books – I took some iphone images of the contents and ordered another two (Bedford, 2013 and another Kennett, 1995).
The Bedford does pretty much what I intend, juxtaposed then-and-nows. I’ll just have to aim to do it better. One thing I hope to do is explore online presentation options.
My interest in this sort of thing (other than in a general way, brought on by old age and reading Barthes, see Asg.4), is a project by Ingrid Newton, published in fLIP issue 39, Having a Whale of a Time
Using my collection of vintage postcards of St Ives and photographs of the same locations taken with my plastic Holga camera, I have created collages of the old and the new, including a snippet of the postcard message.Ingrid Newton, fLIP Issue 39 p. 25
My two targets were the main crossroads on Eltham High Street (where [as yet unknown] begat Martins bank begat Barclays Bank, begat a Wetherspoons) and the nearby former Greyhound pub.
[24Jul] That’s a common enough phrase to generate 631,000 hits in Google, including a £63 book (Aksamija, Maines & Wagoner, 2018) and a piece by an OCA student (Middlehurst, 2015). The idea can manifest itself in a number of ways, from archaeological digs to intentional physical references, such as the tendency towards the Neoclassical during C18-19th. The main occurrence within this project is the common recycling of retail spaces as shops and trends come and go. Douglas Adams (2009) described the way shoe shops once dominated high streets, along with banks and as those have waned, they have been replaced by mobile telephone shops, charity shops and ultimately empty lots.
Using my own knowledge of the Eltham High Street and the books I have acquired on the subject, I have sought to identify the various levels of change that have taken place.
- changes but perceptibly derived from previous usage, for example a shoe shop becoming a phone shop with a change of facade, interior rearrangements but the fabric of the building unchanged
- demolition and rebuild
- hybrid buildings where changes overlap, for example serially changing shops on the ground floor while higher floors change from offices to flats
- a change of building but no change of purpose, for example a church being rebuilt
- buildings that have not changed in form or purpose
All of these are, of course, changes happening in specific locations — that is the purpose of the exercise, but there is a quite bizarre example nearby, in fact the church of St Barnabas photographed for Assignment 2. This was originally in Woolwich Dockyards, used to replace Eltham’s Barnabas after a fire, and, of course has one of the Hans Fiebusch murals.
[28Jul] I have been blowing warm and chilly on this project but my 4th book, Kennett (1995) arrived today and has rekindled it with the quality of the illustrations, several of which I have been searching for for the last week.
Two aspects I was getting stuck on were:
(i) should I try to get exactly the same angle and perspective as the original? – conclusion = no – aim for a pleasing and comparable representation.
(ii) should I try and illustrate all the available varieties of change using a single location, namely the main crossroads? – answer = no, pointlessly limiting, established by Kennett’s photograph of the old Eltham station (illus. 150, no page numbers).
I am considering trying for examples that justify two or more historic illustrations combined with 1 or 2 contemporary ones, e.g.:
(i) old Eltham Station, the area now, the replacement station and the same area before it was built.
(ii) Eltham palace – very old, pre and post Courtaulds and now..
Running list: Eltham Palace, Eltham old station, B&Q, St Barnabas, Library from Pound Place, church/McDonalds, Fire Station, unknown/Martins/Barclays/Wetherspoons.
|Bedford||Kennett, 1991||Kennett, 1995||Sleep|
|EP||Eltham Park Station||81, 96||150||76-77|
|M||McDonalds||37, 39||46, 101||63, 54||34, 33|
|OP||Old Post Office||74||169||18|
|W||Winter Gardens||70||94-95 100-101|
[1Aug] I photographed Eltham Park Station yesterday and am still processing the images. I bemoaned the lack of pedestrians, denying me the chance to match their positions to the originals and then had a thought. Cut and paste a few of the grainy B&W characters from the originals to my images. That takes us a step closer to the sort of thing Ingrid Newton was doing which was my starting point for this project.
[7Aug] At the outset I stated that I wanted to “explore online presentation options” (21st July) and I had in mind coding (or, rather, using someone else’s code for) wiping between the old and new images. Much preferable to this is to revert to my starting point of Ingrid Newton‘s work and I have been looking into some other exponents of overlays.
Soomin Ham inherited a box of her grandfather’s photographs, 2x3in contact prints, taken in Korea in the 1930s and 40s. In her projects Portraits and Windows, she merged her own photographs with her grandfather’s in what B&W magazine described as “a collaboration … [built] on fading memories”.
Nuno Guerreiro de Sousa, part of the RAKE collective, is active in publicising surveillance by government and other entities. In one aspect of the project Police State black and white photographs of groups of police officers in action were superimposed on colour Google Street View images of the same location.
quote The 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the sometimes-voiced sentiment that the UK police use less force than those elsewhere prompted RAKE to start the project. The cosy vision of “the bobby on the beat” still lingers in Britain … especially because most police here do not carry guns. But, that cosy confidence belies an insidious power behind the scenes: a system of surveillance and control that Hurman describes as “bureaucratic violence”.RAKE in BJP, June 2021
† The fracture is not in the original, it is a result of my removing the article from the magazine and the fact that it was spread over two pages.
Although not as personal as Ham’s or as purposeful as RAKE’s, my superimpositions for this Assignment reinforce the locational link between my image pairs by adding a degree temporal unity.
[12Aug] I signed up for November assessment today, so let’s get on with it. “Aim for a coherent set of no more than 15 pictures” — coherence is implicit and if the limit is 15, there should be at least 10-12. A tick means started.
ABC, Barnabas✓, Beehive, B&Q ✓, Palace, EPS ✓, Greyhound ✓, McDonalds, Orangery ✓, Old Post Office, School ✓, Wellhall, Wetherspoon ✓ = 13. + Pound Place ✓
[14Aug] I am continually surprised and delighted by how much information can be conveyed by a few greyscale dots, how little digital information is needed to conjure the form of a physical entity. This was first explored in the course in EyV Part 1, looking at Ruff’s JPEGs series and then experimenting with the effect.
[15Aug] In the assignment submission, I will send in both the old and composite images. If this were a gallery display, I would just show the composites, quite large prints, starting with the more subtle ones (few added characters) and ‘composite titles’, such as Eltham Palace, 1928 and 2021, the intention being that the viewer would not at first notice the additions and be confronted with an ordinary snap of an unremarkable building. Eventually (some time before B&Q) the viewer will realise the additions and return to the earlier pieces to look for them, having twigged what is happening.
[16Aug] I see from the latest AmPhot (21st August, pp.36-39) that Garry Pycroft has skin in this game too. Both Hoad and Pycroft are less subtle than I consider my pieces so far, but I have been considering something closer to Pycroft’s approach for McDonalds, where a church was demolished, to be replaced by shops, first Burton’s, now McDonalds.
[21Aug] Less than a month to go, but I want to get this in early, complete the missing bits of the course and get on with the final assessment preparation. Subjects completed are –
Barnabas, Beehive, Bowls, B&Q, the Palace, the old Station, the Greyhound, the Orangery, Roper Street School and Pound Place = 10
One category missing from this list is complex building change overlays that I had intended to deliver, but are difficult to achieve elegantly. A case in point is McDonalds / Burtons / Eltham Congregational Church. A large house was demolished to build a road and the increased traffic noise led to the church being replaced by shops (largely Burtons and then McDonalds). It is the church / McD’s intersection that I would most like to express but this would, perhaps, be best done with the church as a starting point overlaid with shop logos, but that reverses the approach in the other images.
The other main possibilities are:
• Wetherspoons Corner, opposite McDonalds (W. James greengrocer in 1902, Martins Bank, Barclays Bank, Wetherspoon);
• the ABC cinema, demolished and replaced by a nondescript row of shops below and a closed JobCentre+ above;
• the Old Post Office, now a pub, with the rest of the road rebuilt around it.
So, the remaining targets are:
ABC, McDonalds, the Old Post Office, Wetherspoon
and Wellhall – a housing estate – I thought I knew where this was and went to photograph it with the Bowling Green, but it is elsewhere (very close to the Stephen Lawrence Memorial).
Footscray Road could be done seriously.
Perhaps the Fire Station, the deserted Police Station, the Library and the Avery Hill Winter Gardens.
[Later] The ABC cinema has been done, adding the site acquired board, a cinema queue and the dome from three separate old images. I think the outcome might be disincluded in the submission because it is too fussy – we’ll see.
Regarding Wetherspoon’s there’s nothing much to add to the image from the old photographs that brings any originality to the project, it has already been covered quite adequately elsewhere. I am wondering whether this falls into the assignment brief’s “[a]re you holding on to a favourite that is no longer required”, nostalgic for the memory of the Barclays Bank there (they pay my pension, after all) and conscious of the time I spent finding the name of W. James greengrocer who occupied the site in 1902. I considered paying the Land Registry for the details, but if there is no useful imagery, I need to drop this one.
Old Post Office – this is opposite the ABC site. The building itself is now a pub and all the other buildings on the row have changed – this one is worth a try.
The Fire Station is a possible as there is a good image from c.1916 in Kennett (1995). The police station is not is has moved and now closed – although the replacement building is quite interesting in itself, it offers nothing for this project.
The Library is a good prospect.
[24Aug] the first draft of the images is now complete. Next – assemble, write and submit the Assignment and then the whole course for assessment by the end of September. And write the book.
Batch 1, 21st July
[21Jul] This was a trial run, taking with me some laminated images from the two books to hand (Kennett, 1991 and Sleep, 2004) of the Wetherspoons Corner and the former Greyhound pub.
There are two images of the Greyhound I am trying to match. The main problem is constant traffic.
Greyhound pairing completed 10th August.
Batch 2, 31st July
[15Aug] Eltham Park Station is done but not well enough so a return to the site is required
The Orangery is done
Batch 3, 5th August
[15Aug] The Palace needs a second try, Wetherspoons is WIP.
[22Aug] The Palace now complete, Wetherspoons may be abandoned.
Batch 4, 24th July – 15th August
[15Aug] Recently, B&Q, St Barnabas and the CofE school off the High Street, but also some images dating back to the previous months.
Batch 5, 17th – 18th August
[18Aug] The bowling green was deserted when I arrived but a player arrived (white top, in the centre of B05-1, waving) and we chatted. I showed him my image from 1936 and he was surprised that the pavilion had once been thatched). The advised that play would start in an hour-or-so. Soon another player and the groundsman arrived to open up. I did not wait for play to begin. Thence to EPS.
Batch 6, 20th August
[20Aug] It is difficult to get a comparable image of the Courtaulds wing of the palace as the earlier building covered the moat wall and there is a new tree.
The Beehive (my local when we first lived in the area) is a pleasingly decorated, listed building that I once photographed in detail for UK Art’s documentary project.
Batch 7, 23-24 August
[24Aug] Probably my final visits to the High Street for this purpose. The Library and Fire Station went pretty well, but the Old Post Office is now obscured by trees, generally speaking a good thing, but for now an inconvenience.
former Greyhound Pub
[10Aug] The photographs were taken on 21st July with two images from Sleep (2004, p.17), figs. L01-1 and L01-3, as templates. The pairing of figs. L01-2 and L01-4 were prepared before the addition of ghost images was introduced and L01-4 was then unsuitable. A similar image with less traffic was substituted, fig. L01-5 and this, with L01-1, became the first completed pair.
Regarding Wetherspoon’s there’s nothing much to add to the image from the old photographs that brings any originality to the project, it has already been covered quite adequately elsewhere. I am wondering whether this falls into the assignment brief’s “[a]re you holding on to a favourite that is no longer required”, nostalgic for the memory of the Barclays Bank there (they pay my pension, after all) and conscious of the time I spent finding the name of W. James greengrocer who occupied the site in 1902. I considered paying the Land Registry for the details, but if there is no useful imagery, I need to drop this one.jottings
Eltham Park Station
[10Aug] The photographs were taken on 31st August. Fig. L03-1 is the original that really gave this project some impetus, but when I had completed the pairing and cut the detail (fig. L03-3) I realised that my image was blurred. This might be a result of using a tripod (something I rarely do) and leaving lens IS on. I substituted the second pairing (taken without a tripod) but might return to the site. In the meantime, figs. L03-4 and L03-5 are in the shortlist.
[18Aug] Retaken and reprocessed today as L03-6, L03-7 a detail. That’s what was intended.
[13Aug] The Orangery originally stood in the garden of Eltham House on the High Street (fig. L04-6). The House was demolished in 1937, to be replaced by Debenhams and later Marks & Spencer. The Orangery gradually deteriorated, but was restored in various phases over the last 20 years and remains adjacent to the M&S car park, though minus its eagle.
The images found include parked vehicles, but no people. One, from 1928, fig. L04-5 does show the eagle, though.
[12 Aug] It would be possible to fill the assignment with aspects of this site, though few show people. I will illustrate just one, the view from the C15th bridge over the moat. The 1905 image shows the extended Moat House, occupied by Richard Mills of the Court of Chancery until his death in 1880. There is a photograph of the bridge in the other direction from which two characters can be taken.
I’ll try to get back and try another, further along the bridge.
A better outcome from Batch 6, 20th August.
[15Aug] There is only one comprehensive viewpoint available of St Barnabas because it is surrounded on three sides by housing. It was therefore necessary to flip the image of the church, as flipping the 1900 photograph would have been too apparent a change.
[10Aug] We lived on Footscray Road in the 1980s and often walked past the closed building with the crenelations (now known to be merely a façade, fig. L07-4) without knowing what it had been. The Grafton typewriter spool factory, built in 1919, It was demolished and replaced by an unpretentious branch of B&Q in 1988.
The front boundary of the site is unchanged and, from memory, the location and size of the front walls of both the Grafton and B&Q buildings are roughly the same.
This and St Barnabas above are at the extreme end of this archival interraction and would have to come at the end of the display so as not to “give the game away” to the viewer too quickly.
[16Aug] While searching for old images of the school, I found on Pinterest that John Hoad has already travelled this path, fig. L08-2.
None of the sources have dated the old image, but the houses now lining Roper Street are Victorian and so I will estimate c.1900.
[16Aug] This is one of the most extended chains of development.
[22Aug] As with Wetherspoon Corner, but here even more so because of the extent of architectural change, I am struggling to devise any combination of old and new that expresses the development pleasingly. At the moment, I am inclined to drop it.
[17Aug] A late addition to the targets. The boys posing on a street corner seem to be in uniform, perhaps a school or choir.
This is an example of the advantages of expanding the image beyond the original to emphasise the extent of the architectural change.
[18Aug] I regard this as the most successful melange with just the right balance of boldness and subtlety, especially after the crop to L11-3.
The Beehive, New Eltham
[20Aug] Opposite the Beehive, which is just down the road, there is a pleasing juxtaposition of a Boilers-To-Go van today and a horse and cart in 1900. The view has been extended behind the pub to show the housing that has replaced the “pleasure ground at the rear of the pub where travelling fairs were sometimes staged” (Kennett, 1991, p.48).
[20Apr] Many of the 100 Dogs (Asg.3) photographs were taken on Footscray Road, which leads from my home to Eltham High Street and also to a nearby park. Kennett (1995, illus. 145) includes an image dated 1914, when it was known as Victoria Road, that includes a no.39 bus (fig. L13-01). For amusement, this has been added to one of the Asg.3 images. Unfortunately, that is not my partner bringing up the rear, but a random pedestrian.
[21Aug] as noted in the jottings above, “[the] ABC cinema has been done, adding the site acquired board, a cinema queue and the dome from three separate old images. I think the outcome might be disincluded in the submission because it is too fussy – we’ll see.”
Eltham’s new Vue cinema, opened just in time for lockdown, is in the background of the current image. (That’s a slight exaggeration, I did use the Vue’s interior in March 2020 for C&N Asg. 2.
[23Aug] The front cover of the second Kennett volume (1995) has an irresistible image of a 21 bus outside the library (fig. L15-1). There is a reproduction of the full photograph in Sleep, fig. L15-2, that includes a horse on the other side of the narrow High Street.
Bedford takes a different approach, photographing the library from the other end of Pound Place (fig. L15-3) – see L10 for the view in the opposite direction.
Tom Burnham on Flickr offers the 1971 view with Woolworth’s and the London Electricity Board (fig. L15-4).
Fig. L15-5 takes a step further back than Bedford’s into Sainsbury’s car park. Pound Place has now been closed to traffic under London’s Streetspace measures.
As fig. L15-6 shows, Woolworths and the LEB have been replaced by Poundland and Prezzo respectively.
Fig. L15-7 will form part of the assignment submisson. I estimate the date of fig. L15-1 to be no later than c.1925 as it preceeds the initial widening of the High Street and covered upper bus decks were first allowed in that year (The Scotsman, 2014).
[25Aug] The end of the block, was the police station until the 1930s when it relocated to the other end of the High Street and it has now closed. The Fire Station is little changed, although the High Street has twice been widened and more recently narrowed a little.
Old Post Office
[24Aug] Park Place, where stands the Old Post Office, now a pub (fig. L17-4) and the street pedestrianised and tree-lined (fig. L17-5) to the extent that taking a photograph suitable for editing is impossible.
[10Aug] One month+ to go, it is time to start making decisions. The fundamental one is should only photographs with ghost additions be included? That is undecided.
For now, I will just stash every completed pair here and decide later
[10Aug] The first pair is the Greyhound, figs. S1-1 and S1-2. Next Eltham Park Station, figs. S1-3 and S1-4, but not the image I wanted.
[25Aug] EPS has now been corrected, so S1-5 and S1-6 will replace S1-3 and S1-4.
[26Aug] STOP PRESS I have 5 days to apply for the old-style Level 2 courses, after which, “The curriculum has been refreshed to explicitly incorporate a range of perspectives including diverse and often unrepresented voices, environmental issues and social contexts. ” (attachment from from OCA email 25th August).
S7-S8 The Orangery – this, to my mind, is one of the most effective images, although the intervention is minimal. I have not been able to determine when the eagle in the niche disappeared, but I was remarkably pleased when I found an image that included it, watermarked or not,
S9_S10 Grafton Factory and B&Q – I have an inordinate fondness for the old, crenellated factory we used to walk past. If showing the image without the old photograph, I would have to add the crenellation to B&Q.
S11-S12 St Barnabas – This and B&Q will be amongst the last in a display of increasing intervention, but I think they are both effective.
S13-S14 Roper Street School – Not the strongest but just makes the cut.
S15-S16 Pound Place – I am in two minds whether it is better to show the extended current buildings or crop the frontage to emphasise the changes along Pound Place itself where the cottages have been replaced by a disused office block and Sainsbury’s. On balance (and given the new time pressure) stick with S16.
S17-S18 Bowling Green – This is the strongest image to emerge fro the project and heads the submission page.
S19-S20 The Moat House and Eltham Palace – the Palace has to be included in any survey of Eltham architecture, though it is not immediately clear that these are photographs of the same location. I suppose the same may be said of the B&Q pair.
S21-S22 The Beehive, New Eltham – As with Pound Place, I’m not sure whether a tighter shot of the Beehive might not be more effective, but that could be my sentimental attachment to the frontage. I might drop this one altogether.
S23-S24 Palace Cinema and shops – Yet again, I am in two minds whether this one works. There is little to suggest continuity between the two.
S25-S26 Eltham Library and
S27-S28 Eltham Fire Station – there is a striking similarity here because the main buildings have changed little (although the distant ones have been replaced) and so the overlay of the old vehicles is emphasised. This could be my nostalgia creeping in but they both work well for me.
[26Aug] Must press on, here’s the selection for submission.
I&P Asg 5 References
Adams, D. (2009) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. London: Pan.
Aksamija, N, Maines, C & Wagoner, P (2018) Palimpsests: Buildings, Sites, Time. Turnhout: Brepols N.V.
Boothroyd, S. and Roberts, K. (2019) Identity and place [I&P]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Ugochukwu, N. (2020) 9 Words and Phrases to Remove From Your Vocabulary in Support of Black Lives Matter [online]. ecowarriorprincess.net. Available from https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2020/08/9-words-phrases-remove-avoid-support-of-black-lives-matter/ [Accessed 10 March 2021].
Bedford, K. (2013) Eltham Through Time . Stroud: Amberley Publishing.
Kennett, J. (1991) Eltham in old photographs. Stroud: Alan Sutton.
Kennett, J. (1995) Eltham: A Pictorial History. Bognor Regis: Phillimore & Co.
Middlehurst, S. (2015) Researching Architectural Palimpsest [online]. stevemiddlehurstcontextandnarrative.wordpress.com. Available from https://stevemiddlehurstcontextandnarrative.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/researching-architectural-palimpsest/ [Accessed 24 July 2021].
Newton, I. (2018) Having a Whale of a Time. fLIP. Issue 39, Spring 2018, pp. 22-25.
Pycroft, G. (2021) Hyperlong Exposure Photography Amateur Photographer 21 August 2021, pp.36-39.
The Scotsman (2014) On this day: London’s first red buses went into service [online]. scotsman.com/. Available from https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/day-londons-first-red-buses-went-service-1999611 [Accessed 23 August 2021].
Sleep, D. (2004) Images of London, Eltham. Stroud: Tempus.