In a little corner of Rochester in Kent there is a little unknown lane (in comparison to its well documented sister Rochester High Street), Horsewash Lane. As you know I love a bit of local history and have been fascinated by it for ages, however the history behind Horsewash Lane has only come onto my radar recently.
When I was little my father lived in Strood, and when returning home we’d always cross Rochester bridge, going under the subway which is the start of Horsewash Lane (opposite the Crown Pub), at the time I didn’t know it by that name. I was fascinated by that white tiled subway, as I descended the spiral stair case to it, or when I went with my mum and brother (who was in a pram at the time) down the ramp. I can’t really explain why I had a real connection with that subway, perhaps as it book ended some great memories from days out, then we returned home with the hustle and bustle of the road above, safe in our echoey subway.
Anyway I digress, Horsewash lane, I’ve investigated the history behind the area, through Medway Council Archive Centre and CityArk online, both of which note that horse washing took place at this point at the river from around 1828, as depicted in sketches found from the Frindsbury side of the river. The lane has been documented to have been there since 1548 (then known as St Clements Lane) when the Parish of St Clements declined following Henry the 8th’s united church policy. The City ark document noted that in 1851 an arch from the Church of St Clements was found when the new bridge was being built. This Lane linking to the area know as ‘The Common’ hosted many a market in its hey day including wheat, cattle, corn. It is refreshing to see that the traditional markets of Medway are being kept alive such as the Rochester Farmers Market and Rochester Flea.
Visiting the area today, it is very run down, fenced off, with no real evidence of the interesting area that it once was, it feels unloved and neglected (apart from the graffiti and the coach park). The old subway is now boxed in, the stairs removed, and a new pedestrian crossing now takes it’s place. With the new Rochester Riverside housing development, I wonder whether Horsewash Lanes new residents will even know that this place ever existed. So much of our local area is well documented, I don’t like to see those little gems not so well known, fall to the way side in our wonderful and rich local history.
The photographs I have taken show the area 2016, before further development takes place, and this area’s history is potentially forgotten.
I’m taking part in a short course called The Body Electric. I wanted to undertake something purely for my own development, I’m aware that it has been some time since my last blog, but hey ho, I Love to be busy!
Starting The Body Electric course has proved a very valuable time to me as a community activist and photographer, giving me wider thought about my community; the role I play within it; how my photography reflects my passion for the Medway area, and to also open my mind to new creative ways of thinking.
The breadth of experience within the room, and willingness of sharing skills and ideas, is wonderful. Some areas of the Medway Towns are sometimes put down in the media, over the recent years I’ve only felt a real ‘can do/will do’ attitude through the people I meet. Don’t get me wrong there are improvements that can be made anywhere and no place is ever really ‘perfect’, but feel that your little slice can be made great and have a knock on effect to the wider area.
We shared lunch today, thinking about our environmental community, many people chose to bring along food to share that they had made themselves, I bought along a vegetarian pasta with pesto made from the spinach in my garden. The visit to the Sunlight Centres Community Garden, and Mens Shed project was inspirational.
I have definately got out of my comfort zone at our full day session today; I just went for a wander with my camera (those of you who know me well, know I like to have a plan of action!) to explore lower Gillingham, a place I hadn’t really visited before. Rambling over the old port train track, to Hillyfields. Amongst the rows of Victorian terraces I stopped at the Orchard on Hillyfields pondering over a cut tree and wrote this:
Hilly fields 09.05.15
Your roots are still there
And part of you to see
An illusion of a grand tree
That you once were, to me
I don’t know what happened
Or how it came to be
That you are there
with your bare bones to see
Amongst this concrete jungle
You are in an oasis of calm
The birds continue their tweeting
As the sun beats down on my arm
There are so many places in Medway
I have yet to see
But for now thanks Hillyfields
Thanks for having me.
On late winters sunny day I popped into the Rochester Flea, located in the Gordon Hotel on Rochester High Street.
A bustle of people popping in and out of the doors, with their recycled bags full of individual treats and goodies from the stall holders inside.
The Rochester Flea for me (like the Farmers Market) is a fantastic opportunity to source something individual and chat with local people who are passionate about their trades.
This feeling was so abundant especially when chatting with Ron from Papa’s Yankee Workshop. Ron’s passion for his carpentry is infectious. I was fascinated when he was telling me that all his items were made in his own workshop from reclaimed/found wood. I loved the lines in the tulip wood, and enjoyed looking at each of his gorgeous bespoke pieces.
Robin from Scorpio Gallery was another interesting person to chat to, it was good to have contact with a local Picture Framing service, since the sad closure of Langley Galleries on the High Street.
Now as you may know from my last post of Rochester Farmers Market, I love food! The Rochester Flea doesn’t disappoint on this front, as well as having some wonderful crafts, vintage clothing, house hold materials, reclaimed and reloved items, and even a Disco, there is Fikabrod.
Headed up by Rikard, Fikabrod is a Swedish bakery selling all kinds of original Swedish treats. I particularly love the cinnamon buns and the chocolate coconut balls! The photos probably don’t do it justice you have to sample the delights for yourself!
The next Flea is on 29th March 12-4 why not pop down and enjoy.
I love being involved in anything to do with my home town and I really love food. One of best combinations of home town and food currently takes place in the Corporation Street Car Park in Rochester, yes you’ve guessed it, Rochester’s Farmers Market -Yay!
I loved wandering down today in this chilly January morning, a bit overcast but the sun finally put in an appearance.
It was good to meet some of the stall holders and supporters. The market has recently been voted by the Taste of Kent Awards one of the top three in Kent. With a some support via lots of twitter action!
Fellow twitterer Steve the Fish had a good selection of fresh fish and sea food and I took home some scallops and Whelks.
I bought a nice Cheese and Tomato focaccia and a Rosemary and sea salt Ciabatta, and some Goats Cheese.
There were crepes, from Crepe in my Face, (I recommend the Brie, Mushroom and Garlic Savory -Yum) Samosas and Chutneys from Baljinder at Cinnamon Girl, and a great demonstration of cooking crushed potatos, with Goats Cheese, greens and onions, by Sparky from Source2Sauce, with all produce sourced from the stalls at the market today. It was very yummy and I’ll definitely be making that at home!
There was also a variety of stalls selling Meats, cakes, ales, ciders, jewellery, candles, preserves, sweet things, plants and flowers, and a Gardeners tips corner.
I was intending to just pop down, take a few photos and go home and enjoy my food, but I found the atmosphere so warm and welcoming, with real community spirit, I stayed for a couple of hours chatting and sampling the food!
I have fond memories of the original flea/Farmers market at Corporation street when I was a little girl. I’m so pleased that the Farmers Market appears to be growing, and along with the revival of the Flea Market at the Gordon Hotel, it is good to see the Rochester community supporting local businesses.
Really looking forward to the next one:
I’m so looking forward to being at the Rochester Flea on Saturday 30th November 2013 sharing an outside stall with fellow photographer Richard Reader. As well as some fabulous second hand goodies, musical instruments, clothing and little stocking fillers, I will have an assortment of my portrait and landscape photos available to purchase. I will also be having a an exclusive promotional offer to those who come along to the Flea for an Autumn/Winter outdoor shoot WOW I’m soooo excited!!!!! So get there early to pick up a flyer.
For those of you looking for ‘feel good’ Calendars for 2014 then look no further that my stall, following the successful sell out of the Medway Little Theatres Calendar Girls in May I have a limited number of Calendars featuring the very gorgeous cast, left to purchase (including a little photo of yours truly). All Calendars are £7.50 and all proceeds are being split between the following Charities: Marie Curie, Cancer Research, and Macmillan Nurses. Fabulous causes I’m sure you’ll agree.
Don’t forget to come and say hello, and sample all the wonderful treats at the Flea.
NB: I will be wearing a few more clothes than this! 😉
Wow! well what a fantastic weekend for fabulous creative Medway! Awesome gigs from independent Artists via Homespun, (A-lines were my favourite on Friday night at the Nags Head) Rochester Lit Fest’s Garden Party, and the Friends of the Vines Cherry Picnic.
My ‘Freedom of the Nude’ exhibition for Medway Open Studios had a fantastic number of visitors, despite the heat, and the call of the beach! I’d like to thank each and everyone who popped in and appreciated my work, with genuine and interesting conversations, hopefully inspiring others to have their own open studio/creative adventures from this point onwards.
Many visitors were genuinely interested in my film photography, so I think there is a bubbling revival of film photography out there, oooh workshops and an exhibition of just Film photos maybe calling!
Just a few wonderful comments from people throughout the day:
‘you can see the love and emotion connecting the people in the photo’
Visitors enjoyed that I captured ‘the natural ‘in-between’ moments in the shots’ and that the ‘message was clear that our bodies do have a story to tell’ and was a great experience to ‘see photos of natural people’ i.e. not photoshopped in anyway. We are all Individual, Beautiful, Nude.
The Medway Open Studios is on until 21st July (my exhibition is on Friday 19th July 5-7, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July 12-5), if you want to come along, please do! Heres a downloadable programme. If you get your hands on a hard copy, there is a competition on the back for the opportunity to win £100 towards your chosen artist! (T’s and C’s apply). We all look forward to welcoming you to the studios around Medway.
Nestled away Near Cranbrook in Kent is Sissinghurst Castle, a wonderful home born out of a passion of a couple (Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West) in the 1930’s.
I was lucky to have visited at a time where the gardens were in full bloom.
The idea of ‘getting in for a shilling/penny’ is still operational by the National Trust, you are given a plastic shilling/penny in order to gain entry to the main building.
The feel is similar to that of Castle Drogo however not as huge, but in a sense that someone had a great passion to make their home exactly how they wanted. I can relate to that, after all its is said that our home is our castle.
The Site is wonderfully peaceful and a delight to sit in the wild garden by the stream. The building and maintaining of the Castle wasn’t with out its struggle, not only between the land, but also between Vita and Harold. There is a great exhibition about their lives, loves, strains, and passion throughout their lives which I would encourage anyone to go and see. I love the passion of individuals striving for their own little haven in their creative world.
An Excerpt from Vitas diary:
When people like you and me marry, life resolves itself into a compromise, which is truly satisfactory to neither. Bit I love you, I can never ever cure myself of you, so what is to be done?
Originally myself and a small group of local artists thought about starting an open house in our neighbourhood. We wanted to promote the wonderful diverse nature of the creativity in our local town particularly for independent artists, with a unique touch of having a view in peoples homes, this was around early 2012, when we discovered that Medway was due to have its own ‘Medway Open Studios‘, a fabulous find!
July and December 2012 Medway Open Studios were exceptionally well attended, and we are all looking forward to July 2013. We have collectively called ourselves ‘The Bishops Square Artists’ an affectionate name for the square that we all live on.
The Facebook event page and further details can be found here.
Heres to a successful summer.
In my opinion, one of the most simple forms (and the most fun forms) of photography is using the Pin Hole Camera. I am still in awe of light, how it knows where to travel.
Basic concepts are (and you can try this at home):
* get a small box (shoe box is great/or cheap kits can be bought online) make sure that it has a lid
* paint the inside black
* pierce a little hole in one end
* make a small liftable flap to cover the hole and secure with masking tape.
* Go to a dark room/cellar/cupboard and put your light sensitive paper in the opposite end to the hole, close the box
* go outside (and choose your subject/plant/building) and open the flap covering the hole for a few seconds and close
* then go back into your dark room and ‘Develop, Stop and Fix’
Et Voila! a wonderful little photo made with no fancy lenses just the light (noting that the picture will be upside down).
I am looking to arrange a workshop in the summer months, do let me know if you would be interested in coming along by using my contact me page .
Just a couple of my favourites:
An overcast and showery day was a challenge for the shoot, however we did get a brief break in the rain, which added to the theme of the shoot ‘The Sirens of Cetham’. Sirens are typically beautiful but dangerous creatures from Greek Mythology, luring sailors to shore to inevitably destroy their ships.
One of my favourite shots of the day was of ‘Siren’ Natalie peering through the iconic anchor entwined with the fabric from Kalika’s Armour, just outside the Pentagon Centre in Chatham, a link to the Naval history of the town.