Carl Mole has been photographing the Teesmouth area of Teesside since 2015. The photographs on display at Eston Arts Centre show the habitat, landscape and the relationship between people and the geographic area. They range from where the river meets the North Sea between the coastal towns of Hartlepool and Redcar, and upstream to Middlesbrough Dock. There is a Natural Nature Reserve at Teesmouth and the area is surrounded by some of the largest concentrations of heavy industry in the UK.
The series of photographs of around Teesmouth are an unsentimental visual exploration of the area around the mouth of the River Tees. The photographs take the viewer on a documentary and environmental journey of the landscape to enquire if beauty can be found in the least expected and industrial places; the places overlooked and neglected in favour of the idealised natural landscape.
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
September 10 – October 3 2020
Saturday 10-1pmEston Arts Centre
176-178 High Street
Another top record from Ivan the Tolerable & His Elastic Band. I’d recommend that you give it a listen. It’s super good
See the virtual exhibition at Dovetail Joints
This soundtracked my walk from Redcar to Saltburn today, it’s a bit good.
A message from Oli
Happy Bandcamp no-fees day! I made a new EP and its out today so i can raise the funds to replace my 8-track machine which has all but died after 15 years hard labour. So if you wanna buy it, do it today as all the money goes to the artists for the rest of the day. Its pay what you like so all donations are welcome, and if you are skint and still want it, well thats ok too!
My friend Martyn Hudson has published a very special book called, on blackamoor. Martyn has an intimate knowledge of the moors, but more that that he has a deep love of the place, something which is very evident in his writing, as he takes us on a very personal journey through its unique landscape and history.
If you have any interest at all in the North York Moors or the history and folklore of a landscape, I would encourage you to read this beautiful book. Copies can be purchased here
Watch Martyn talking about the Moors for the recent Discover Middlesbrough History Month here
My multi-talented friend Graham Vasey has written a book. Graham is an artist, writer, photographer, countryman and fisherman philosopher, he also brews wonderful beer. I’d recommend you take a look.
The one positive thing to come out of lockdown for me is I have finally finished my book “The Fishing Flies Of A Teesdale Angler” in which I look at over 30 flies published by Robert Lakeland in the 1850’s. Within the book I discuss the flies individual history (many of which go back to the 17th century) the materials they were created with and how we can replicate these simple but effective fishing flies. It is available to buy directly from Blurb.com for £25 plus postage, but if people would like a copy please contact me, if I can order over 20 copies I can offer it at a significantly cheaper at £15 plus postage.
From the wonderful Side Gallery Newcastle
The industrialized river mouth documented in the early 1980s by the North Yorkshire photographer, extending his 1970s work in Greatham Creek.
Macdonald wrote: ‘The Tees Estuary is visually extremely exciting. Its richness, in part, arises from the inherent contrasts of the natural environment against man-made structures – of the vast sphere of sky, serene or dramatic, against the horizontal flatness of lowland space punctuated by verticals as power stations, fractionating columns, blast furnaces and estuarine lights. The vast expanse of water reflects a permeating light which clothes objects and landscape in a unique brightness, beautiful and sensational, a delight to photographers and film-makers alike.’ Commissioned by Side Gallery, the exhibition was shown in 1982.
All images © Ian Macdonald
See the online exhibition here
The Black Path is a track that runs for most of its route beside the Middlesbrough to Redcar railway line. It starts just behind the Navigation Pub in Middlesbrough and runs to the mouth of the River Tees. It also makes up the final stretch of the Teesdale Way, a long distance footpath that follows the river Tees from its source on Cross Fell to the sea. Although it is now seen as a leisure path it has a legacy that predates the formation of England itself.
The path follows the southern bank of the Tees, from the crossing point at Newport, to the mouth of the river. It is a route that has made up a boundary between many kingdoms, the earliest of which may have been that of the Celtic Briton kingdom of Gododdin or Hen Ogledd, a name which means ‘the old north’
In the late 5th century it followed the boundary between of the Anglian Kingdom of Deira to the south and the rival Kingdom of Bernicia to the north. These two territories were later combined to form the Kingdom of Northumbria.
Later, the Vikings founded the Kingdom of York, which stretched from the Humber to the Tees, so the paths route once again marked a significant northeastern boundary. The final ruler of the Kingdom of York was the wonderfully named Eric Bloodaxe, a Viking who could claim to have been the last true king of the North. The Kingdom of York gradually became the county of Yorkshire and the path marked the final land section of its northeastern corner.
During the Norman Conquest, the English rebel’s camp of refuge was situated close to the path on Coatham Marshes. It may well have been the route that the rebels used to escape from William the Conqueror when he and his army rode to the camp to in an attempt to wipe the rebels out, an action that eventually led to the infamous Harrying of the North.
From the Medieval period onwards the path was used by sailors to travel to and from ships at the ports of Coatham, Dabholm, Cargo Fleet and Newport, the path then became known as the Sailors Trod. The name appears in the early histories and maps of the new town of Middlesbrough.
During the industrial age, the path was used by workers as a convenient route to many industrial sites that had grown up along the railway track and river bank. This is when it became known as the Black Path, named for the industrial grime that lined the route.
Today the path is only used for leisure purposes. I believe that it is probably one of the most interesting public footpaths in the county as it winds its way through the industrial hinterlands of Teesside. I have walked the path many times and have recently noted the re-wilding of the area, I have seen foxes and hares on the path even once saw a deer at clay lane. The slag surrounding the path has decomposed to form lime-rich soils which support plants that you cannot find anywhere else in our area, their seeds were carried through the narrow corridor by trains arriving with cargoes of limestone used as flux in the iron industries along the track.
If you have never walked the path I suggest you give it a go, it provides a wonderful insight into our industrial heritage and takes you to places that you cannot reach by any other means.
The Black Path by Bob Mitchell. 2016
Coke Oven Triptych by Kirsty O’Brien. Painted as the Clay Lane Coke Ovens were closing in 2016
Northumbria Map Attribution – A compiled visualization from various public sources, CC BY-SA 3.0, link
England Map Attribution – link
Other Maps – Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
A message from Ivan the Tolerable (Oli Heffernan).
Bandcamp are waiving their fees today for one day only so I’m putting my new album out early to make some money to pay my rent and bills cos I work in the private sector which basically means I don’t get paid when there is a downturn in work. Great. Anyway, Shoebox Records are releasing the album on 10” and CD if you want a physical copy (there are only 10 left) but if you want it now for any price you like go to this bandcamp link and get it there. If you can pay something that would be mega but if you are in the same boat as me, feel free to have it for nothing. It’s a big old slab of watery endtimes music. Hope you like it. Thanks and stay safe everyone!