Ildiko Peter


/ Northern England - The Industrial Revolution Route

Northern England - The Industrial Revolution Route

United Kingdom 2012. 4x5" large format on colour negative

“ The whole of the industrial districts are really one enormous town, of about the same population as Greater London but, unfortunately, a much larger area; so that even in the middle of them there is still room for patches of cleanness and decency. That is an encouraging thought. In spite of hard trying, man has not succeeded in doing his dirt everywhere. The earth is so vast and still so empty that even in the filthy heart of civilisation you find fields where the grass is green instead of grey; perhaps if you looked for them you might even find streams with live fish in them instead of salmon tins. For quite a long time, perhaps another twenty minutes, the train was rolling through open country before the villa-civilisation began to close in upon us again, and then the outer slums, and then the slag-heaps, belching chimneys, blast furnaces, canals and gasometers of another industrial town.” George Orwell: The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937.

In 2011 I won the Goldfinger Travel Scholarship Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Aimed mainly for architects, I won the prize as a photographer and travelled through Northern England in June 2012, realizing my project in 7 towns and cities in 4 different regions. In nearly four weeks, I visited and explored Blackpool, Morecambe, Fleetwood, Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford and Leeds. Driven by my passion for architecture, history and urban transformations, my aim was to follow the tracks of the Industrial Revolution in Northern England. I wanted to see, discover, understand and document the economic and social changes through the changes of its urban landscape. From the Victorian heritage of factories, docks and warehouses dating from the 1800’s, through post-war modernist buildings of the 1950’s and 60’s, to the contemporary architecture of city regeneration programmes. I captured and documented the present through the mixture of constructions sites, abandoned buildings and redevelopment works; briefly: I pictured Northern England’s ever changing and evolving society that has a rich historical past.

The work consists of 66 colour plates (images). I used a large format Linhof Technika camera with 4x5” Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative film. The photographs have then been scanned, retouched, colour-corrected. The images are presented in a chronological order, following my route of coastal towns (Blackpool, Morecambe, Fleetwood), the two main cities of Lancashire (Liverpool and Manchester), and finally, two cities of West Yorkshire (Bradford and Leeds).

A book with 2 volumes (photographs + sketchbook) were realised, two dummy copies have been printed digitally.

Print sizes: 130 x 105 cm (large size), 82 x 65 cm (small size). Archive inkjet mounted and framed.