Even more Flat Life…
I previously put up two images of America Street in Tunstall, that is what started me off on this project, so I went back a few weeks ago and completed what I had started. America Street is quite a steep hill and is one of the oldest in Tunstall, it is on the 1832 map. Until 20 years ago there were terraced houses on both sides, but those were cleared away and sheltered housing alongside some older ‘new’ housing make up most of the street. On a corner near the top is the Tunstall Workingmen’s Reform Club, one of the few workingmens clubs left in the area which were often central to nightlife of many communities.
As there are so many images please click to enlarge.
In yesterday’s blog Ancient History, I put an old colour photo of this scene. Today’s comes from autumn 1971 and shows the mist in the valley I mentioned, taken probably in the morning before I went off to Leek School of Art. I had my Zenith E by then, so this is sharper, and looking at those images from that time I am quite surprised how good the built in light meter was, much derided by one tutor as it was just above the lens! I would have developed and printed this and it has lasted very well, must have had well mixed fixer! If I remember I turned this into a painting, and somewhere I may even have a photo of that. I was bad about keeping things, so this survives courtesy of my mother and I found a whole pile of my stuff after she’d died in 2005. Glad she did and it perhaps shows that we should keep stuff. This is a scan from a print, the negative long destroyed.
Looking through some boxes I found this print, the negative has long since been lost. It is from late Spring 1971, I’d have been just 17. It is taken from our garden in Checkley a village near Stoke-on-Trent, my father had retired and we moved there in 1970. The cottage was next door to the cricket club; the well mown grass is to the right. I think this will almost certainly have been taken towards a project at Leek School of Art, probably early morning as I used to have to start off at 7.20am and catch 3 buses to get to Leek by about 8.50, I often wouldn’t get home until 9pm. There was often mist in the valley when I left home, though through the winter it was dark and on the odd occasion the bus driver didn’t see me waiting! But over three years going to Leek I only missed 4-5 days, I remember it as a thoroughly enjoyable formative time. It’s a bit out of focus and the camera I was using at that time was an old family one which was not great quality for landscapes, I got a Zenith SLR a few months later.
This is Bank Street in Tunstall, the most recent of my Streets Project, photographing all the streets within half a mile of where I live. Like many streets in Tunstall it is split into two distinct areas, and always has been, though those have changed. It is a bank or hill which at the top end joins Hawes Street, and at the bottom end (now closed off) High Street. The top half is made up of terraced houses, often made up of pairs of houses, joined together with each other, as if spec builders added as it developed in the mid/late 1800’s. At the bottom end was a large pottery factory, Meakin’s then later Doulton’s (my back ‘garden’ is made up of waste from Meakin’s). It used to employ more than 1,000 people at one time, many would have lived in the surrounding streets, but closed and were demolished in 1997. On one side was built an estate of houses, most of which seem to have been bought to rent out, they are certainly no bigger than most of the terraces further up the street. The other side is still derelict. At the top end is a small park where a couple of houses or maybe a shop once stood as well as a sheltered flats development. Half way down is a former chapel now a small pottery which I couldn’t photograph properly without a wider angle lens.
Please click to enlarge the images