Monthly Archives: August 2020

The Failure Of Medieval GPS

Even with photographs taken fifty years ago, I am normally pretty good at remembering roughly where they were taken. Perhaps I can’t always pin down the actual street corner or the back alley, but, in most cases, when I clicked the camera shutter release, some form of medieval GPS geotagged the image in my mind. And if I need help with a street or a district, all I need do is post the image to one of the many “Old Town” Facebook Groups, and someone is bound to have lived there or met their husband at the Fish and Chip shop on the corner. This particular image, however, has defeated me. I have a feeling that I might have taken it in North Staffordshire (which would mean sometime between 1969 and 1973), but other than that, I have no recollection. The medieval GPS was obviously not working on that particular day.

A Lazy S

Whenever I look at my old photographs of Halifax from the sixties and seventies, I am reminded of just how much it was a period of change for the town. Roads were being built whilst others were being demolished, chimneys were coming down whilst tower blocks were going up. And the trees were coming back: after being ground down by the soot of the industrial revolution for two centuries, they were beginning to repopulate the hills.

This third photograph taken from the top of Beacon Hill seems to sum all that change up. The road up to Southowram seems to snake like a lazy s: the old is being swept away by the new.