Wednesday, 30 May 2012

I Make Myself A Canoe

Resolving to make a canoe, Crusoe selects and cuts down an enormous cedar. He spends many months hacking off the branches, shaping the exterior, and hollowing out the insides. The result is a far larger canoe than he has ever seen before. He now realizes the mistake of not previously considering its transport, since for him alone it is immovable. He considers building a canal to bring the water to the canoe, but he calculates it would take too long and abandons the idea. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012


The progress of the inhabitants of Whitby in the art of shipbuilding has eminently conduced to the increase of their shipping. Shipbuilding has been carried on at Whitby from time immemorial; though in former ages the vessel were so small, that the art of constructing them might rather be termed boatbuilding. 

The skill of our shipbuilders and carpenters has long been generally acknowledged, and has brought much business to town, and produced a great influx of property; especially during the first American War, and the last French war. 

No ships are better adapted for transports, or more serviceable for general purpose, than those built at Whitby.

In strength, beauty and symmetry, our vessels are equalled by few, and, I may venture to say, excelled by none.

Text taken from ‘A History Of Whitby And Streoneshalh Abbey’ - By Rev George Young (1817)    

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Gibbet

The body was encased in flat bars of iron of two and a half inches in breadth, the feet were placed in stirrups, from which a bar of iron went up each side of the head, and ended in a ring by which he was suspended; a bar from the collar went down the breast, and another down the back, there were also bars in the inside of the legs which communicated with the above; and crossbars at the ankles, the knees, the thighs, the bowels the breast and the shoulders; the hands were hung by the side and covered with pitch, the face was pitched and covered with a piece of white cloth.

A gibbet is any instrument of public execution (including guillotine, executioner's block,impalement stake, hanging gallows, or related scaffold), but gibbeting refer to the use of a gallows-type structure from which the dead or dying bodies of executed criminals were hung on public display to deter other existing or potential criminals. In earlier times, up to the late 17th century, live gibbeting also took place, in which the condemned was placed alive in a metal cage and left to die of thirst. As well as referring to the gibbet as a device, the term gibbet may also be used to refer to the practice of placing a criminal on display within one. This practice is also called "hanging in chains".

Gibbeting was common law punishment, which a judge could impose in addition to execution. This practice was regularised in England by the Murder Act 1751, which empowered judges to impose this for murder. It was most often used for traitors, murders, highwaymen, pirates, and sheep stealers and was intended to discourage others from committing similar offences. The structures were therefore often placed next to public highways (frequently at crossroads) and waterways.

These over head power lines are situated at Four Lane Ends - a crossroads on the edge of town.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


A Phantom Landscape

My grandfather was a local artist who painted numerous scenes of Whitby throughout the 1960's and 70's. He would use photographs as an aid to help him when composing his pictures.

These three images show the cliffs to the east and west of Whitby harbour as they appeared in May 1970.

Geological studies conducted in the area have shown that an estimated minimum of 0.2 metres of local coastline are lost each year through erosion, which means that since these photographs were taken at least 8.2 metres of cliff have disappeared.

Islandology - Jo Moore

In our thoughts, a coastline is just that - a solid, unbroken, fixed and immovable line. As islanders, this is how our territory is delineated, how our world is mapped out; we know of a beginning and we know of an end; all is bounded & familiar in scope. But it is not like this at all; the coastline is not a fixed and permanent thing, but a shifting, fluxing, transient space, permeable and inconstant, ever eroding, ever morphing, changing shape. A dotted line, porous and flexible. A liminal space; neither land nor sea. A place of tension, characterised by an uneasy harmony of opposites.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

An Imagined Town

Secluded within a remote cove at the foot of a precipitous cliff this imagined town is located somewhere to the north of Whitby. Built upon the remains of an old iron mine the town appears to have been assembled using the flotsam and jetsam found along the coast’s shoreline.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Edgelands - Spital Bridge

These images are taken in the area where a medieval hospital run by the order of the Knights Hospitaller once stood, dedicated to St John the Baptist it was built in 1109 and used to house a leprous monk from the near by Abbey. It is believed by some that the afflicted man was called Orm - the first recorded name of a leper in England.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

554 Square Miles

The North Yorkshire Moors are one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It 
covers an area of 1,436 square kilometers (554 sq mi), and it has a population of about 25,000.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Ballardian Landscape

Shaking his head at himself, Maitland knocked out the last of the windshield with his hand. In front of him was the rusting chassis of the overturned taxi into which the Jaguar had slammed. Half hidden by the nettles, several other wrecks lay nearby, stripped of their tyres and chromium trim, rusty doors leaning open.
Concrete Island  - JG Ballard

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Space In Between

“Liminality is derived from ‘limen’, meaning threshold. The concept of the ‘liminal space’ as introduced 
by anthropologist Victor Turner, suggests the idea of ambiguity and ambivalence. This in-between space 
should allow active exchanges of ideologies, concepts and methods of working. There is an indication of 
a transition from one state or space to another, an on-going search for answers, yet the end point might 
not or need not be defined. Therefore, the ‘liminal space’ might be read as a metaphorical realm where 
ideas and concepts: artistic, political, cultural, social or otherwise, are in constant states of contestation and 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Signs Of Life

Crusoe is astonished one day to discover the single print of a man’s naked foot in the sand. Crusoe is terrified and retreats to his “castle,” where he entertains thoughts that the devil has visited the island. His conclusion that it is not the devil’s but a real man’s footprint is equally terrifying, and Crusoe meditates on the irony of being starved for human contact and then frightened of a man. Driven wild by fear, Crusoe fortifies his home and raises guns around it, keeping watch whenever possible. Concerned about his goats, he contrives to dig an underground cave in which to herd them every night and creates another smaller pasture far away to keep a second flock. Crusoe spends two years living in fear.