The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'the north'


In December 1969, a young man from the south of England decided, under the influence of kitchen-sink films, to go to the North with his camera and capture the stark beauty of the old North on film before it disappeared forever. Some decades later, he got a Flickr account, scanned his photos and posted them here. Most of them are in black and white, and many are quite beautiful, in a somewhat bleak, sparse sort of way.

The photographs, which are generally beautifully shot, are accompanied by the photographer's descriptions of the scenes, in which he laments the passing of the old grim north, and the Southernisation of England, with the arrival of things such as pebbledash, holidays to Florida and even the Clean Air Act. Which does at times seem somewhat problematic; I suspect that the residents of Moss Side or St. Helens would quite happily sacrifice the bleak poignancy of their streetscapes for holidays in the sun and indoor lavatories (not to mention not dying prematurely from the effects of air pollution), though other pieces (such as this one about lost opportunities for childrens' play and this lengthy meditation on fleeting experience and the beauty in the mundane are simply sublime.

aesthetics beauty england history photography the north uk 1


It has long been said that it's grim up north, and now a new report by a right-wing think tank claims that the north of England is doomed and should be abandoned. The report by Policy Exchange, a think tank closely connected to the Conservative Party, states that northern cities which sprung up during the industrial revolution, and declined with the collapse of manufacturing, are beyond hope of regeneration:

The authors concluded that coastal cities like Liverpool and Sunderland had "lost much of their raison d'etre" with the decline of shipping and had "little prospect of offering their residents the standard of living to which they aspire".
It was time to be "realistic about the ability of cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to regenerate struggling nearby towns such as Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland.
The solution, the report suggests, would be to encourage those residing in the north to move to the south-east of England. In particular, in the Information Age, Oxford and Cambridge would expand into vast, thriving cities, much as Liverpool and Manchester did during the industrial revolution, and the outskirts of these cities should be where large numbers of new homes for emigrating Northerners should be built:
"We should consider expanding both dramatically, just as Liverpool and Manchester expanded in the 19th Century. Dynamic economies require dynamic economic geography."
The Tories, aware of their historically poor showing in the North, have been quick to dismiss the report, swearing up and down that it does not represent Conservative policy, and that, should the voters see fit to elect them, they are comitted to regenerating the North.

england the north tories uk 0

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