Where I live

These twelve images are the downselect that I’ve made for the first set of images which depict a “document” of the village I live in “warts and all”. What I tried to do is to pick images that, when looked again in 100 years will show a slice of the life that I inhabit now. On particular interest were communications and infrastructure, social places and the development of the area.

Rather than embed the images in this text I thought I would deposit the images at the end of the text which might enable the viewer to consider them as a whole rather than disparate images connected by my text, which will obviously lead them to certain conclusions. I appreciate either way is going to affect the viewer, but this was the decision on the day.

Middle Barton is a fairly old place, mentioned in the Doomsday book and affected by the plague it has stood the test of time by largely remaining anonymous straddled as it is by it’s two wealthier neighbours Westcote Barton and Steeple Barton.

All shots taken by Fuji X100 with a fixed 23mm lens

Image 1. Two dominant points in the frame. The higher being a sign that declares the village firmly patriotic “Victory War Memorial Hall Playing Fields”, the fields (or part of them) are directly behind. The British Legion meet at the Sports and Social Club which is to the right of the frame and play(ed) a large part in the setting up and running of the facilities. A central social meeting place for the village.

Image 2. More signage. A crossroads in the village, a metaphor always for change, the composition placed the signage with an echo in the telegraph wires above it and central to the frame. Most of the roads leading away from the sign are nowhere to be seen. It is a village in transition, as I suspect most communities are; the upwardly mobile moving in, the locals being squeezed.

Image 3. The methodist chapel is now closed. The only thing arresting it’s metamorphosis into a dwelling is the current very poor access – significant infrastructure changes would need to be made to ease that situation. Methodists now need to vacate the village in order to practice their faith – I think Woodstock is now their closest chapel.

Image 4. Mill Lane. Once this the tiny River Dorn fed the Mill to the left of the image, not sure when it stopped grinding but the Mill house is one of the larger properties in the village, this view has been seen in photographs of the village since the 19th century, it is an exemplar of the continuing change in the community.

Image 5. North street, the main thoroughfare in the village running east/west. This depicts the rural and the sub-rural. The tractor moving from one field to another and occupying the bulk of the thin main street in the village by doing so. The small van parked on the pavement, the house for sale, the signage on the lamppost – paraphernalia of everyday life in the village. Nothing has changed in this ever changing landscape.

Image 6. The Sports and Social club (rear view). Some new basketball and tennis facilities are being erected. The area will need some additional landscaping after the heavy machinery has messed up the ground after heavy rains this summer. Continued investment into the community is the key here.

Image 7. Perhaps debatable, but another view of the land set-aside for the community. I left it in as in 100 years this land may have been appropriated and it would serve as a reminder of “what we had”.

Image 8. Not many of these left now. An old cottage that has been gutted and refurbished – this one with an extension. It serves to show how the village is still evolving, property developers are still keen to winkle these types of properties out and entice new people into the village – unfortunately at the expense of the locals.

Image 9. Whilst the hairdresser has been on this premises for over 30 years it has moved with the times – or not and changed hands for new tenants who offer a more up to date service. What will they make of this in 100 years?

Image 10. South street, running parallel to North street, this depicts one of the major issues in a rural village, that of communication. The telegraph pole, too expensive for BT to update and yet vital to the many families and small businesses who now rely on the internet for outside world communication. The post box in the middle distance being replaced by the internet, what will this landscape evolve into in a century’s time?

Image 11. The Fox, one of two pubs barely hanging on. This pub proudly boasting “pub of the year 2011” a real “turnaround” of fortunes since a local couple took it over. The pub management recognised their hardwork and endeavour by announcing that their rent should now match their new found fortune, it is to be doubled! The tenants now wonder if they can survive or even if they want to! I suspect this and the other pub will have gone before a decade is out and these will be family dwellings.

Image 12. The inevitable progress of time. Brian’s farm now hosts three mobile ‘phone masts – it earns more for him than his cattle and he works part time as a casual labourer. The land in the foreground has been speculated over for decades, whether Brian decides to cash it in for his pension, only he knows – but I guess it won’t look this rural for many years to come.





One thought on “Where I live

  1. Pingback: Where I live part three | John Umney – Gesture and Meaning

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