Stirchley High Street Stories

I took part in this project along with several other photographers to capture different aspects of the section of Pershore Road that runs through Stirchley. The High Street is lined by shops and other public buildings and is full of contrasts, even contradictions, which I decided to try to capture in single images.

The project was led by Tracey Thorne of Ghost Streets CIC. A collection of photos from the project can be viewed on the Stirchley High Street Stories blog. Each of us who took part in the project chose a different theme, so it’s quite a diverse collection. A selection of the photos was put on display at Artefact Stirchley (June 25 – 29) and also published in a specially-produced newspaper.

Below are the photos I chose for the exhibition – plus a few others – with some additional explanations of the ideas behind them.

A pedestrian walks past tulips in the sunshine

Walk on by… maybe you’ve got your own beautiful life to live. Others will have time to stop and catch the moment of delicate glory

These tulips flowered all too briefly in the open space in front of the former District Office. While some people stopped to look, and maybe sat on the nearby benches, many passers-by just, well, passed by.

In the distance the Cube is lit up by evening sunshine, while the derelict fireworks shop dominates the foreground

Dereliction and distant aspirations: the Cube, a symbol of bold modern living, stands where canalside wharves once fell into disuse

The above photo is the original version that I took in March 2019. While crossing the canal bridge along Pershore Road I noticed the Cube, lit up in the evening sunshine, in contrast with the fireworks shop which has been derelict for years. I later took another photo from the same spot under different lighting conditions, and that version – which I hoped would be more suitable for printing – was used in the project.

A Seven Capital hoarding alongside the British Oak pub

The unknown and the unchanging, side by side

Seven Capital own a large plot of land at the northern end of Stirchley. The land was acquired piecemeal over many years by Tesco with a view to building a superstore, but they abandoned the project and sold it on for development, most likely for a mixture of retail and housing. When new residents eventually arrive they will live next door to the British Oak pub which has been here for many decades.

A watch and clock maker in his shop

Traditional craftsmanship, nearly lost in our throwaway society, is on its way back. At the Phull Watch Company, Malkit has been repairing and restoring for over two decades

Flowering plants in front of a Jesse Hill sign

Gunmaking once brought wealth and skills to the city. Flowers bring harmony and peace… fit to be laid on the graves of the oppressed

A hydroponics shop across the road from shelves of flowering plants

Soil or water? Indoors or outdoors? Where do you grow best?

The following photos did not make the final cut for the exhibition and newspaper, either due to lack of space or because I was still developing my theme.

Traffic passing 20 mph speed limit signs

20 mph: an uneasy compromise between speed and leisure

While most drivers simply want to get through the area as quickly as possible, pedestrians wish that the road could be quieter. The sun can only shine on one side of the road at a time

A mixture of shop signs projecting above the pavement

A jumble of shop signs: no chain stores here

Reflection of Pershore Road in a glass window

Symmetry of Stirchley

A pedestrian waiting to cross at traffic lights

Still life

Photos on display along a wall

Some of our photos were on temporary display at the Stirchley Fete

Posted by banting_wp