The raw material for my last assignment for DI&C came from images I took walking the same route for 100 days. The act of walking, looking and thinking was crucial to this project and beginning level 3 I wanted to advance this methodology further. 

An idea came to me about photographing places that were within walking distance of my home that looked nondescript on the surface but had a hidden history. I began to think of stories I had seen in the press as a starting point (inspired by Tom Hunter‘s Living in Hell) and came up with 7 stories. I then used google search to find newspaper articles relating to them:

Stanley Spa:

The Stanley Spa is a former pub converted into a swingers club that has courted controversy over the years. It is somewhere I pass frequently that without local knowledge would seem completely benign, in fact, in all the times I have passed I have not seen anything untoward at all:

Vigilante paedophile hunters:

There are many stories concerning groups such as Dark Justice who use the internet to catch predatory paedophiles. A particular story where a local man was caught at a supermarket as he went there to meet who he thought was an underage girl stuck in my mind. Perhaps it was the fact that my eldest daughter was in her mid teens at the time, or the banality of meeting at a Supermarket combined with the gall to do this in such a public way that made this memorable:

Foot and mouth – Chapman’s Well:

This is the oldest of the stories I thought about, dating back to the foot and mouth crisis of the early 2000s. During that time, a mass cull of animals either affected or at risk of infection took place, one of which was a local area Clapman’s Well that I remember faced local opposition:

Cannabis Farm:

Cannabis farms being found in seemingly innocent residential properties seems to be a regular occurrence, and I approached this story with a general google search rather than by having a specific instance in mind:

Sweet shop drug den:

South Moor is a village just outside of Stanley with a reputation for being quite tough, so when this story broke about a sweet shop being the front for a drug dealing operation there was little surprise and many amused comments made, especially since the police had to seize all of the sweets as they may have been contaminated:

Bus Station fight:

Following a bonfire night fireworks display in 2018, a group of local youths gathered near Stanley bus station and fights broke out when PCSOs tried to move them on. Not sure if this counts as ‘viral’ given it was the end of the month before the story took hold and featured in the national press, but releasing the PCSOs body camera footage and video from camera phones seem to be the changes that meant this story gained interest across the country:

Causey Arch dogging:

Causey Arch is a local beauty spot with woodland walks leading to the world’s oldest surviving single arch railway bridge. The car park is renowned as a meeting place for ‘doggers’, although I could find no recent press articles about this – perhaps the subject is no longer as newsworthy as it once was?