Created between May and August 2019, this project has been made for the annual Falmouth Flexible Photography Landings gallery. This work is an adjunct to my photographic research project on coal freemining in the Forest of Dean, as part of my MA in Photography at Falmouth University (an accredited education programme).
When freemining formed a major part of the local economy from 1750-1950, Lydney Harbour was a focal point for the onward transportation of coal. Evidence of this journey, from pit via tramway and railway to docks, can still be seen throughout the Forest. I was drawn to the final part of that journey and wanted to examine the area from a contemporary photographic perspective. These images are presented in running order along the two miles of road that runs from the bypass just south of Lydney, in Gloucestershire, to the harbour on the River Severn (see the map below).
What I discovered was a fascinating short journey of heritage and current railway stations, a bus ‘graveyard’, the ongoing demolition of Pine End Works (famous as the factory where the WW2 Mosquito airplane was built), old boats and yachts, a somewhat silted-up harbour area, and signs. A lot of signs. It occurred to me that today’s risk warnings would be anathema to the Victorian and Edwardian workers, and whilst I understand the Health & Safety obligations, I feel these signs jar with the history of the place. The harbour and the area around it used to be a hive of activity. Today it is a place where you are reminded of what you can and (largely) can’t do. It is an odd juxtaposition, hence the inclusion of some of these signs alongside my images of a slightly sad yet strangely graceful area that today is the road to Lydney Harbour.
I also produced a small book on this project, with more images, a short video of which can be seen here: