Monday, 6 October 2014

After Phyllis Nicklin: Salford Tame & the Hockley Brook





The photograph above is of the River Tame near Salford Bridge taken by Phyllis Nicklin in 1968. In August 2014 a group visited the area, as well as others Nicklin had photographed, to retake the sites. Below are the results.

Ian Stenson

Albert Blakeway
Jack Dixon


The Tame is flowing from right to left in the foreground, under the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, and Hockley Brook flows in towards the viewer on the left, but in 2014, the view to the brook is blocked by greenery.

In 2014 the area is filled with the hum of traffic from Spaghetti Junction, which is situated, out of view, just behind, but construction began in 1968. Considering that Nicklin took no pictures of the early construction of Spaghetti Junction implies that work had not begun when she wandered the river with her camera.

Most of the industry that Nicklin's image depicts is now gone, replaced by the pale cubes of the 'industrial estates'. And the greenery is a welcome addition; rats can be seen scurrying through the shrubbery, but they attract a buzzard, or other bird of prey, that waits quietly on the grey lip of Spaghetti Junction far above; too far to make its species out clearly.

Cyclists and walkers come up and down from the several ways; it's Spaghetti above, but also spaghetti below, with three canals meeting at Salford Junction, one river and one brook, each jutting off in different directions. You can follow any one, and not be sure where you're going to end up.

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