Batley project

New photographic project…work in progress…can be found here:

Batley was the rough end of West Yorkshire’s heavy woollen district. Epic Irish slums turning out what was known as Shoddy. Taking wool rags and clothes and recycling them into carpets, blankets and uniforms. More illiterate Irish flood in. Shoddy Barons, a shoddy King, a shoddy temple. Good times. An inland port. The valley channels the lorries and vans along the strip. The North’s lost Vegas. The Batley Varieties. Or now like a wild west town after the railroad moved. The Batley Varieties is now the Frontier nightclub. Fabulous Victorian and Edwardian buildings laid out like film sets. The Hollywood nightclub. In a country that wasn’t so unbalanced they would have been snapped up long ago frozen into universal chi chi. Now they pass from rough house owner to rough house owner.

This road is always in transition – cheerfully careless with its heritage. Cheerful gargoyles look down. Always buying and selling. Profits are imported and exported – rise to the hilltops like smoke. Like they always did. Round every corner a boarded up pub – it could still be open. The last locals standing joined by the van drivers, the lorry drivers, the lost souls of the road – the long afternoon mutates as the trucks vibrate the window sill dust. Are you lonesome tonight? Or it could be a place of worship. Valley of the temples. Spiritualism, tabernacles, the society of friends, masons. Now full of pallets, and old cloths for recycling. All piled up – looking for a buyer. You turn the corner and wonder what you will see next.


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