You gave me my birth
Then you made me pay
What is it worth
Cast me away
You’ve really done it now
Dying in my arms
You stand here with nothing
But you’ve still got english charm
Oh England, you’re my home
My heart’s heart
Crashing thunder of love
You’re a place of the poor
The lost rites of love
You cut your own throat
Then you let it bleed
Misleading your people
From what they all need
That’s what we all say
But what does it matter
You’re the USA
Why is it England
I feel like rubbish on your streets
Why is it when I care
I feel incomplete
Why does our future seem
Such a feat
When will our consciousness
England My Home
I moved to Birmingham. I lived in the city centre, almost next door to Central Library. For a year it was my local lending library. I used it occasionally for borrowing books for several more years. In time I become aware of its huge reference collection.
The reference library served me well whilst I researched and wrote my Master’s Dissertation. A helpful librarian showed me how to use the index card system and how to get more books from the stacks. Over many months she became (in my head…) *my librarian*. Almost every reference source I needed was there.
I started work at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The Library was a neighbour once again. We worked with Library colleagues on collections digitisation projects. Some still exist. I learnt about the Library’s amazing photography and local archive collections.
14 December 2015
Demolition of the Library began.
Every day people gather outside the Museum and take photos of the work as it progresses. My days at work are accompanied by the sounds of demolition. My office overlooks the Library. I have a privileged view.
The escalators rarely worked. The lifts often broke down too.
The cafe was… erm… extremely municipal.
The ceilings were low and loomed menacingly.
The staff office spaces were pretty grim.
The striking Brutalist architecture had been disfigured with a tacked on shopping centre (though the Gregg’s was handy…).
The surrounding spaces such as Paradise Place were…well…post-apocalyptic. Though I kinda liked that.
The demolition is incredible to watch.
I loved this building.
Goodbye old friend.
British Library offers over 1 million free vintage images for download.
News story here.
Have a play with the British Library Flickr site here.
My name in fabulous typography.
A while ago I wrote a blog about artist Ken Hughes because I owned a sculpture by him. I commented at the time that he seemed to have had a successful artistic life but that there was little about him out there.
I had assumed that Ken Hughes was no longer alive. Then a researcher contacted me via my blog. Then his daughter contacted me. And Ken is still alive.
I also discovered I have another piece of ceramics by Ken. A plaster tile, also purchased by my grandma.
Ken Hughes, tile, 1996
Tile, reverse, signed 'Ken Hughes'
Provenance, my grandma's note
This morning I got into work to find a lovely two page hand written letter from Ken. He said that maybe he hadn’t undertaken as much self-publicity as he should have. I wrote back (not hand-written I am afraid) reflecting that maybe those of us that come after should all help towards creating a legacy.
“Here was an elaborate tapestry of institutions of national and local importance woven over two hundred years.”
Robert Hewison, Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain, 2014.