I had to trawl through all the old household photo collection to find what I wanted; you know, photos from a time when they actually meant something, before images of everybody from every place at every time where splattered upon the social networking sites; you know, the times when it took a couple of weeks before you’d see the photos – not just the next morning when you check your online accounts to finds photos of your drunken self from only 6 hours previous.
These are images of Woolley Colliery in the 1990’s – before it was demolished and whilst it was being demolished. (apologies for their poor quality).
(Woolley Colliery – in the background – in the middle of being demolished by explosives, in 1993)
(Woolley colliery – the left of the picture – before it was demolished and before the factories were built in the foreground)
Within the valley (upper Dearne valley) I grew up in, these were the last traces of a landscape and meaning of the place I was born into disappearing and making way for something else. I’ve been interested in my family tree a little more of late also. It seems sensible enough to assume that I do this at times when I do not see much of a future, and if one takes into consideration the full scale of the ancestry websites, making money out of people also looking up their family roots, then one can see that as a society we don’t seem to be able to see much of a future at present.
For me, personally the expectation of already irreversible (to some degree) environmental problems is what drags a landslip over a doorway to a future which I once expected to walk into. But for many it may be a realisation that the liberal-democratic order has failed us, after it wiped out any suggestion that there may be another way to build a better life for us all. Whatever may be the case, there is most certainly a lot less optimism than there was even 8 or 9 years previous. Something has to change.
The landscape in which these photographs are situated is an interesting one to point to especially: as the old coal mining towns/villages themselves suffered incredibly from the destruction of the sole meaning for their existence in the first place, the landscape improved and greened over massively during that same period, and although much is being leveled off for housing developments, it is still a much greener place than it used to be. Now, I do not for one moment intend to suggest that this is compensation for the heartless economic decisions made which destroyed so many peoples’ way of life, but it is a good in its own right – if it stays that way, that is, and developers do not run amok (which seems likely under the ultra neoliberal capitalism the current government are bringing through).
However, more than anything, I am making NO real point here at all – I’d be lying to pretend that I have any over-positive thoughts up my sleeve to finish this blog off with, so I will just idly try to relive the past like everybody else seems to be doing.