POSITIVE USES OF PHOTOGRAPHY – CHALLENGING MONUMENTAL CIVIC FAILURE

(Thoughts and photography in the service of the community – on respecting the local war dead of Swinton and Clifton in Salford.)

For me photography is a tool I use with a purpose on behalf of my clients or those whose causes I chose to support, whether for profit or not, with my images and journalism. It comes completely naturally  for me to want to record and communicate and share my observations with others in carefully chosen words and images as I have done throughout my working life for over forty years and to do that to the best of my ability whatever it takes for the benefit of others and those who hire my services. As a sequel  to raising awareness of a local issue in my GRAVE OFFENCE log journalism, another incident has occurred which threatens a local monument honouring the fallen of Clifton, an area of Swinton.

A MONUMENT OR A GRAVE IS A PERMANENT MEMORIAL NOT A LUMP OR LUMPS  OF STONE OR A PLOT  THAT CAN BE MOVED WHEN IT SUITS SOMEONE’S OR A COLLECTIVE’S  INTERESTS. Our local monuments,  you would expect to be regarded as sacred but it appears that local officials have in the town hall  have an alternative perspective. Please click on any image to see the larger version

The Clifton War Memorial, Manchester Road - should it be moved ?

 

Citizens are generally proud of where they live and have chosen to live , within a  city, a town, a village and yet identify with and are naturally protective of  their own  neighbourhoods and its familiar landmarks. They accepting change and new positive , sympathetic developments as progress but wanting local landmarks to be retained , kept in good repair on their behalf and  to have things from that unique community history they identify with and can be proud of and giving a sense of stability and continuity. Political changes in respect of changing political boundaries created a City of Salford from the merging of seven local boroughs , each with their own identity, coats of arms and history and the new county of Greater Manchester changed our location from Lancashire on paper at least.  I am not a native of Salford or more accurately the combined borough of Pendlebury & Swinton where I made my home. I am from the South of England but I came here to get my professional teaching qualifications and was in the service of Salford Education as a teacher of inner city kids with learning difficulties for some twenty six years. I am now retired and continue with my parallel profession as a Salford based photographer and journalist and an advocate of the City and my community and all its merits and the merits of its people.

I use my camera to make my living but words and pictures are also my life and, when I am not busy chasing a living for paying clients I give some of my free time to document local history and help raise awareness of local issues through my journalism , mostly on line these days and my photographs. I preserve an extensive archive of images of local landmarks and beauty spots and also share images of precious parts of the fabric of the community. There is so much more to the area where I chose to live to the end and that in such a contrast to the image of the City as just a “Dirty Old Town” as described in the patronising folk song of working class socialist  political activist  Ewan MacColl, father of the late Kisrty MaColl.. Few know that 60% of the area of the cities seven boroughs is actually green space and my neighbourhood is steeped in local history which I respect, admire and seek to protect..

 

Separate annual Remembrance Ceremonies are a local traditon providing a location specific place to express thanks and sorrow for surviving friends and families of the war dead.

Where possible I aim to celebrate record and report on life in my area, loving to photograph joyful weddings, parties, social events and Christenings for local people. I have too, on a number of occasions, produced news items for the media , on a voluntary basis ,for example supporting local charity fundraisers and not for profit organisations by providing images and copy to the local paper as well as , for example, a full length feature article on local waterways which was published by a boating magazine in the USA a few years back.  I also believe in the power of using  appropriate selected images as a tool to helping get your messages across and often an image can provide  irrefutable evidence as opposed to written opinions which are more easily challenged. In the case of the monument you are in no doubt from my images what this is, where it is, and who it represents and where it is likely to be most cherished and respected.

What I cannot do as an ethical professional is stand by and do nothing and merely watch crazy or unethical liberties being taken near my home with the local resident’s heritage and especially, for example,  where, rightly or wrongly as I see it,  the impression has been given that the council  appear to be complicit in proposals to exhume bodies from a local disused graveyard rather than dismissing that part of the planning application immediately it was made and even more so when that plot of land under debate includes a war grave. Annually the City provides civic dignitaries to represent the citizens at Remembrance Day ceremonies so thus it seems hypocritical that the Council have failed to move in to protect as sacred, the  last chosen resting place in the  former Unitarian chapel  grave yard along with his family members , a local hero of the great War , Private Wilbraham Blears formerly of 12 Chorley Road Swinton. Lack of sensitivity is also being demonstrated  another crazy, in my view disrespectful  plan to move a memorial at Clifton to the fallen of the two World Wars near the motorway junction and opposite the Robin Hood public house an aptly named Memorial Cottages adjacent to the monument. Will they rename them if his silly idea comes to pass ? That monument commemorates those men from Clifton who died for King (1914-1918) or Queen 1935-1945 and Country and it is in my view fatuous, money wasting and indeed insulting to Clifton and Swinton folk to even think of moving it from where it belongs to the neatly clipped lawns of the Civic Centre possibly for the convenience of local dignitaries who attend annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.

 

Citizens are proud of where they live and have chosen to live , within a  city, a town, a village and yet indentify with and are naturally protective their own  neighbourhood . They accepting change and new positive , sympathetic developments as progress but wanting local landmarks to be retained , kept in good repair on their behalf and  to have things from that unique community history they identify with and can be proud of and giving a sense of stability and continuity. Political changes in respect of changing political boundaries created a City ofSalfordfrom the merging of seven local boroughs , each with their own identity, coats of arms and history and the new county of /Greater Manchester changed our location fromLancashireon paper at least.  I am not a native ofSalfordor more accurately Pendlebury & Swinton where I made my home. I am from the South of England but I came here to get my professional teaching qualifications and was in the service of Salford Education as a teacher of inner city kids with learning difficulties for some twenty six years. I am now retired and continue with my parallel profession as aSalfordbased photographer and journalist and an advocate of the City and my community and all its merits and the merits of its people.

 

I use my camera to make my living but words and pictures are also my life and, when I am not busy chasing a living for paying clients I give some of my free time to document local history and help raise awareness of local issues through my journalism , mostly on line these days and my photographs. I preserve an extensive archive of images of local landmarks and beauty spots and also share images of precious parts of the fabric of the community. There is so much more to the area where I chose to live to the end and that in such a contrast to the image of the City as just a “Dirty Old Town” as described in the patronising folk song of working class socialist  political activist  Ewan MacColl, father of the late Kisrty MaColl.. Few know that 60% of the area of the cities seven boroughs is actually green space and my neighbourhood is steeped in local history which I respect, admire and seek to protect..

 

Clearly this cross secured so poignantly indicates the local importance for this monumenr.

Where possible I aim to celebrate record and report on life in my area, loving to photograph joyful weddings, parties, social events and Christenings for local people. I have too, on a number of occasions, produced news items for the media , on a voluntary basis ,for example supporting local charity fundraisers and not for profit organisations by providing images and copy to the local paper as well as , for example, a full length feature article on local waterways which was published by a boating magazine in the USA a few years back.  I also believe in the power of using  appropriate selected images as a tool to helping get your messages across and often an image can provide  irrefutable evidence as opposed to written opinions which are more easily challenged. In the case of the monument you are in no doubt from my images what this is, where it is, and who it represents and where it is likely to be most cherished and respected.

What I cannot do as an ethical professional is stand by and do nothing and merely watch crazy or unethical liberties being taken near my home with the local resident’s heritage and especially, for example,  where, rightly or wrongly as I see it,  the impression has been given that the council  appear to be complicit in proposals to exhume bodies from a local disused graveyard rather than dismissing that part of the planning application immediately it was made and even more so when that plot of land under debate includes a war grave. Annually the City provides civic dignitaries to represent the citizens at Remembrance Day ceremonies so thus it seems hypocritical that the Council have failed to move in to protect as sacred, the  last chosen resting place in the  former Unitarian chapel  grave yard along with his family members , a local hero of the great War , Private Wilbraham Blears formerly of 12 Chorley Road Swinton. Lack of sensitivity is also being demonstrated  another crazy, in my view disrespectful  plan to move a memorial at Clifton to the fallen of the two World Wars near the motorway junction and opposite the Robin Hood public house an aptly named Memorial Cottages adjacent to the monument. Will they rename them if his silly idea comes to pass ? That monument commemorates those men from Clifton who died for King (1914-1918) or Queen 1935-1945 and Country and it is in my view fatuous, money wasting and indeed insulting to Clifton and Swinton folk to even think of moving it from where it belongs to the neatly clipped lawns of the Civic Centre possibly for the convenience of local dignitaries who attend annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The fenced monument area has seating for local quiet reflection - the robin hood public house across the road. I have rendered it sepia to disguise the eyesore it is having been painted bright orange !

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