Another year comes to a warmish and wet close. More activity around Battlefield than in previous years: A cycle track and another huge student accommodation block nearing completion with what looks like another being built alongside. How many more student accommodation blocks can this city sling up? Maybe next year comes the answer. (A former trading estate site close by Battlefield has been cleared for development …)
To close the year's blog posts a record of a recent walk around the patch I call Battlefield here.
With Best Wishes to you and yours at this season of goodwill.
What struck me when I came to live next to the dene that carries the Ouseburn down to the River Tyne, was the speed with which one could move from quiet suburban streets into woodland and riverside. That and the visible signs of past occupations, the remnants and the patch work of time. No planner does this and it is quite impossible to re-create outside of a television or film set.
It is the reason now that when planners do think of heritage the ideas are as fake as Mary Poppins Old London Town. Someone once told me – and this may be true – that a lot of city re-creation efforts (hard design) are sourced from a style manual: 'Victorian' lamp posts, bespoke paving slabs, authentic cobble-type features, bollards and litter bins and so on; all mail order heritage. One can find this tat everywhere now.
Untidy as it is, the genuine arises from and through human activity over a long time period and should be cherished as such. Time apparently is in short supply now. Imagination in very short supply. The public has to be ushered through life like tourists being fed the basic facts – 'Got it?' – and rushed off to the next sales point. Our function as consumer spending units is being underlined to us in so many ways in so many places. Time is blurring before our eyes. Everything is the same and has never altered.
This photographic journey was lazy leisurely and thoughtful. I share it with you here.