Industry, cotton manufacture, steam engines, chimneys and tail races are all terms which tend to make the toes curl of the average architecture junkie. I have been brought up in an environment surrounded by such elements and it has been one of my principle concerns since childhood to make sense of my grim industrial and urban locale.
Most of my life I have been pained by the reality of my surroundings, but through trying to understand the history of industrialisation of my area I have at least found some acceptance and in other ways realised that the Bill Brandtesque streetscapes are a part of my identity. Through accepting some of the uglier aspects of my urban surroundings I have gained a sense of peace which has enabled me to see value in the accrington brick, the proud foundation plaques and the cast iron gutters dotted throughout my existence.
Strangely, the photography of my locale has evolved from factual to the pictorial (a little out of fashion today). The image above is taken in Heywood Lancashire.
Industrial canal Manchester UK
As a direct result of this journey I have found in my own backyard an industrial site which is (in my opinion) worthy of World Heritage Status. The Cheesden Valley, Heywood, Lancashire. What is remarkable about this valley is that along its three mile length from top to bottom we have the remains of several mills which represent the full chronology of the industrial revolution from waterpower to steam and finally electricity. I have set up a mini site and am updating it as I manage to get around and take more photo's. (I am currently engaged in transferring these pages over to my new fotofacade web site).
Cheesden Lumb Lower Mill - late C18th water powered
I have spent the last few years travelling throughout Europe photographing the urban streetscapes both historic and contemporary trying to quell my anxious zeitgeist and all along the answers were in my own back yard.
All images are copyright Andy Marshall