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This Must Be The Place.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Jude Fawley, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Over the past couple of years I've been compiling information from periods throughout my life, collecting documents via subject access requests and visiting places I've lived. Not having really anything from my childhood in the form of school reports, photos (I have two) I'm re-visiting places and taking a photo. It's good fun and occasionally stirs up emotions, which is interesting.

    Considering 'false memories' and massive structural change to the road network, upgrades of buildings, demolition and re-building it can be quite a struggle to work out the exact spot or nearabouts where I stood or passed years ago.

    If anyone has read Peter Ackroyd's 'Hawksmoor' you might remember when, at the very close of the novel, he (Hawksmoor) enters Little St Hugh church, sits down in a pew and ponders the idea of that space and those who occupied it previously.

    I won't ruin the end of the novel but it's all very metaphysical as past and present meld.

    A couple of things I've found on my travels is undoubtedly the massive change and loads of re-routing of paths and roads.

    A lot of what I'm doing is driving routes I used to walk. Often I stop and have a proper look at buildings but it probably looks weird to observers.

    I used to do a lot of hitch hiking from the age of about fourteen right up into my mid thirties. When you're 'stuck' without a lift you get to see a lot of the landscape and it's amazing for me that I remember certain named places.

    This is just one example. In Bretherton Lancashire right close up to the A59 junction there used to be a toll house. I think it was called 'Toll House'. Close by was the dolls hospital and museum in a lovely building. I passed them a lot. Opposite was a field and some woods. The field and woods are still there. I think it's Hesketh land. The toll house is gone. The junction is now a roundabout and the dolls hospital and museum is just a house now.

    I find memory very interesting. I use it as a guard against future shock.

    Is anybody else doing this wandering around trying to recapture the past? I know people do genealogical research but is anyone else trying to catalogue their past life by actually going places and taking photos?

    Maybe I'm just weird.

    Another nice thing is to be able to book-end the whole thing by keeping some sort of record now.
    blue451, Mainwaring, colpee and 6 others like this.
  2. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I believe it to be a human trait these melancholic memories.

    In 1982 this was about.

    In 1984 this arrived.

    Previous to all that, of course, was this.

  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I did this yesterday...

    I was 15 minutes early to an appointment so I took a wander through the village... entered the church and sat there. It was dark, old... empty... but from the dates it was clear this building had been active for 800 years... 40 generations of humanity had experienced the space I was in.

    Then I quietly wandered through the graveyard... weather worn markers to lives lived and lost... their loves, couples place next to each other, close in death as they were in their lives... and a silence that haunted me afterwards...
  4. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Occasional commenter

    What a great opening post, IMO.
  5. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Sometimes, whilst I'm on the motorway, I can see over on the hill a block of flats in a city where I used to live. I often think that one day I will go and see it again. I have such happy memories of living there but it seems like a different lifetime, like someone else's life, not mine. I left there 30 years ago and I've never been back since mostly because I've never had the time and it's a bit far. I'd love to go back but I think it would make me very emotional. I miss the people I used to live with there. It would all be different now. The flats were council run but there was talk of them recently becoming listed buildings because of their history and I think have become 'gentrified' because of their position and proximity to the city. When I lived there they were heated for free by burning rubbish that residents threw down shoots into the basement and so they were always warm and I could hear cockroaches chirping in the walls. The lifts never worked and were usually full of pee and I used to be scared of who might be in them so if I was on my own I used the stairs. We had a balcony which over looked the city. The night lights and the sunsets were spectacular. I would give anything to be able to go back and stand on that balcony one more time.
    Jonntyboy and sodalime like this.
  6. sodalime

    sodalime Lead commenter

    That's an interesting comment. Insightful. I like it, but I'm not sure it works: as one is older now and future shocks will always be things we have never dealt with before, and that's why they are shocks.

    No, but I find listening to music similarly cataloguey, and that combined with google street view and satellite imagery can allow one to check out past haunts without spending the money involved in actual travelling there.

    Well, yes, that's true :p;) but not for this particular aspect of your character, which i find really understandable.
  7. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    When I left the tower block I lived in I took photos of the view.

    Directly opposite on the horizon stands Sandy Heath transmitter. At night it would be lit up with five red lights ascending its structure. It irritated me that it was an odd number. I'd have preferred six but at least they were equally spaced.

    Then one of the lights kept going out. After a while they moved that light making the spacing different. That really irritated me. But at least the light worked.
  8. sodalime

    sodalime Lead commenter

    If they moved it higher up the structure it became a highlight ;)
  9. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I do my reconnaissance on Google street view and Google maps then I set off. I went off on Friday last to various places. I have photos and I might upload some but it all takes a lot of explaining.

    I went to:
    Market Drayton
    Newton Le Willows

    I stopped off at other places along the way.

    For the drive from Brinscall to Newton Le Willows I used the sat nav and it took me via Jenny Lane (not Penny Lane) Wrightington.

    When I was a small child in the mid sixties we would go out that way. We might wander miles and I remembered the old broken-down farm buildings. They're all renovated now and people are living in them.

    I went to Brinscall to photograph Brinscall Baths building. We went there on Wednesday afternoon with the school when I was about eight. We called it 'Brinscall Baths' but it really is only one swimming pool. The old balconies are still there where we used to change.

    My abiding memory of Brinscall Baths is of what I thought was a reservoir which seemed to be closer to the building. There's a car park there now so I think they built into the 'reservoir' which is more like a fishing lake now.

    We'd get off the coach, everyone would be told to be quiet and I'd look over the reservoir wishing I could just spend the summer afternoon over the other side.

    I remember it was very quiet because of the lack of traffic.
    blue451, chelsea2 and sodalime like this.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Occasional commenter

    [QUOTE="I would give anything to be able to go back and stand on that balcony one more time."[/QUOTE]

    If I may offer advice, do it, as soon as you can, before it is too late.

    I am fortunate in that I have a happy life at the moment with few regrets that bother me, but the ones I do have are mostly involved with not doing something, or not asking someone about something, or not keeping in touch with someone, or not revisiting somewhere, that it is now too late to do.

    I think it would be really cool if, after you have been back, you were able to comment on here about what it was like and what you felt. Yes?
    primarycat likes this.
  11. primarycat

    primarycat Star commenter

    I do from time to time. No photos but I do revisit places. The two flats I lived in above my dad's restaurants no longer exist. One has been reconverted into a house, the other is in a stretch of the road that has had the terraced houses knocked down and flats built instead.

    I have returned to the cemetery around the corner from the restaurants to sit and think if feeling very unhappy or stressed.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Although I love revisiting 'old' places from my life, they don't move me...it's 'old' people which do that.

    Two years ago, we had a weekend university reunion for a society I used to belong to there. Back in the day (1970s) there were about 70 of us. 50 of us managed to meet up, and several others couldn't come but would have loved to have been there. Some of those who came I hadn't seen since we left. But it was like we'd never parted. It was such a special, special weekend - there seemed to be a golden glow around it, and I (who never cry) spent the whole weekend choking back tears.

    We're doing it again in 3 years' time, but I know it won't - it can't - be as good.

    Enjoy your (re)discoveries, Jude.
  13. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    The house I mostly grew up in is still recognisable, though it's been done up.
    The primary school I attended looks exactly the same, though it now has a demountable in addition to the main building. Although the village is probably bigger than the small town where I now live, it has one less pub and shop than when I was young.
    My grammar school closed and we moved into a new building when I was in the Vith form - but all the buildings are still there - the roads have changed, though. The 'new' school, now terminally dated, was still in use when I last went back.
  14. missmunchie

    missmunchie New commenter

    I have lived in Spain for 18 years now but I still dream of my childhood village in Scotland where I grew up. It is a great comfort to me to walk those streets and feel at home in my dreams. This summer past I returned, for the first time in three years, with my two daughters. We went hill walking and had ice creams from the ice cream van. Such simple pleasures. Very emotional as most of my school friends no longer live there, I am left with only the memories. I think the true feeling of nostalgia lies in not knowing if you have left your mark on the places where you have been that are important to you.
    I agree, what a great opening post.
    blue451 likes this.
  15. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Throughout the 70s and 80s, I worked in central London. I lived nearby for some years, so much of my social life revolved around London. I got to know London; and in particular the area around where I worked, like the back of my hand.

    Around three months ago I had to attend a confernce which was being held at an address in Bishopsgate, so I looked on Streetview to find out how far from Liverpool Street station it was.

    As it happens, my first wife was an Essex girl and while we were courting, I'd meet her at Liverpool Street station and see her back on the train after, so I was familiar with the station and surrounding area. It would be more truthful to say that I was once familiar with the station and surrounding area, because what I saw on Streetview was baffling.

    I looked at the area where I worked and was astonished by how much it had changed. It was the devil's own job to find the entrance to the hospital I worked in. It's still there, but they built the Shard right next door, knocking down the familiar landmarks and making the route to the hospital more complicated than enough. When I got to Liverpool Street station, there was nothing at all that was recognisable and if I hadn't got maps on my phone, I'd have got lost.

    When we had the London meet, we took the train to Waterloo. That's all changed as well. Once upon a time; and until relatively recently, i.e. the last time I attended a meet at EV, I could have described in precise detail all the landmarks in the station, the best exit to use to get to EV and the landmarks to look out for along the way. I can only sort of do it now.

    In the era I grew up in, it was common to give directions to people based around pubs. Turn left next to the Cat and Custard, then opposite the Fox and Hounds there's an alley that takes you Leather Lane, where if you look to your left you'll see a row of pre-fabs. If you walk past them and past the tanning works, you'll see a pub called the Queen's Legs.

    If it's open, you can shoot through it and come out the rear entrance you'll find yourself in the road you want. Otherwise you'll have do a right and then another right to get to it.

    You'd be wasting your breath giving directions like that these days.
  16. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    When we lived in Scotland, although I was really happy there, I longed to be back in Yorkshire. It just felt like the right place to be, where I was born and bred. Sometimes I take a look at my old house, when I go to visit my niece who lives nearby, and it's exactly the same as when we lived there, which is nice. My old school looks the same too. Is like to visit my old primary school, which was completely open plan, but they've made its into classrooms so it wouldn't be the same.

    It's nice to go back to old places, bit a bit sad if they've changed a lot.
  17. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    There's a certain selfishness in all of this wanting the world to remain as it once was. It was only that way for me. Previously it had been a different way for others. It is as it is for those today and soon it will just be memories for them.

    And it's illogical to expect things to still be before I cease to exist. As though they'll see me out.

    The atmosphere of a place and the actual atmosphere. Heraclitus or the illusion of permanence. A notion that objects don't displace space but create it. And time!

    The real downer is finding that the route of the road has been changed or housing estates stretched over land on which once stood perfectly horrendous mental institutions.

    Staring down driveways that have been extended and new gateways built. Considering a concrete post and wondering "is that older than me?"
    sodalime and blue451 like this.
  18. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    It was also that way for everyone else of your generation, Jude. In my case, largely true of generations that preceded me.

    Change inevitably happens, but in some places the speed of change has been so rapid and with such little concern for the history associated with that place, replacing buildings that once had historical importance with buildings that serve short-term commercial gain.

    At some time back in the 70s, I walked from Bermonsey to Southwark on a hot day. On the way I passed some dissued warehouses where the smell of spice in the air was incredibly strong. I tried to investigate whether a restaurant worth visiting had opened, but it turned out that the smell was coming from the warehouses bricks.

    The scent of hundreds of years of storing spices, whose aromas had permeated into the brickwork. The buildings were ugly, but it was a delight to wander between them and an even greater delight to find out what their purpose was.

    They've all been knocked down now and replaced with something pointless and inane. My grandchildren will never be able to enjoy the experience I had or have cause to visit the library as I did, to find out, as I did what those buildings were built for and in doing so, learn a fair bit about the spice trade and its importance for the British Empire.

    The evidence for Britain's involvenment in the spice trade is being eradicated and will one day only be found in book references, so long as libraries exist and if interested parties wish to record it online.

    It isn't inconceivable that we might one day find we can no longer afford municipal libraries and someone does something silly to the Intenet that causes it to lose all its data.

    Where will that leave us? My grandchildren will only have my word for it that there were spice warehouses alongside the Thames, somewhere between Bermondsey and Southwark.

    If I told them to retrace my steps and all they could find is a shopping precinct with a few charity shops, a Poundland, a couple of betting shopsand a string of arcades full of one-arm bandits, what good would that do them?

    In a few years they would also be gone, probably being replaced by a string of Amazon returns bins.
    lanokia likes this.
  19. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    If I may offer advice, do it, as soon as you can, before it is too late.

    I am fortunate in that I have a happy life at the moment with few regrets that bother me, but the ones I do have are mostly involved with not doing something, or not asking someone about something, or not keeping in touch with someone, or not revisiting somewhere, that it is now too late to do.

    I think it would be really cool if, after you have been back, you were able to comment on here about what it was like and what you felt. Yes?[/QUOTE]

    Well, the weird thing is... My youngest and I were researching university courses tonight and she is interested in the uni in the very same city as where I lived. I might see if she fancies going to the open day in October and then we could visit the flats afterwards and have a look. It would be a strange thing going back but I am intrigued now. I'll let you know!

    @sodalime no, not Aberdeen.
    sodalime and Jonntyboy like this.
  20. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    but the answer in always "nobody"

    The Earth moves so fast around the sun, and the sun moves so fast around the galaxy, we are always millions and millions of miles away from where you were a year ago, or a decade ago, and we will never go back.

    Every second of every day we are in an entirely new space.
    lanokia likes this.

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