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Death of a Village


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Death of a Village

3 May 2020 10:07AM   Views : 546 Unique : 364

If you travel along the East Lancashire Road (A580) you reach a point where it dips under a large roundabout and turns into the A6. This doesn't register as anything in particular, but the road now travelled is the one that tore a huge scar through the small and thriving village of Irlams o' th' Height. This was a close knit community comprising lots a good quality terraced housing, a road (Bolton Road) full of shops either side, parks, an open croft opposite our house, and Summerville County Primary School. This is where I was born and raised and I knew every corner of it.

Photographically, there was a wealth of material, but we never see what is all around us and we assume that it will always be there. Well it might not be, and it disappears so suddenly that we hardly notice that moment of change. What changed for the Height was that the sleepy A6, which ran right through it, was too busy and the road needed to be widened. We gained a three lane each way highway by simply ripping one half of the village away, with all its shops and other businesses. Apart from a handful of beginner's images I have no record of the Height in my own shots, but I had woken up enough (photographically) to record a few images of the construction of the new road.

I've had to copy my black and white prints, so the images might not be great, but they are an historical record.

A6 under construction

A6 under construction

Looking towards Agecroft Colliery and Cooling Towers (all long gone)

The fate of the Height, with the symbolic "noose" hanging over its skyline

Ektachrome slide showing the original A6 before the far side of the road was ripped away

The thought I am left with is that if I'd photographed the ordinary surroundings I lived in for years, then those pictures would have taken on a new meaning now and been really interesting. Alas I didn't, but with Lockdown maybe we should venture on our exercise walk and actually look at what is around us. And take a camera.

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