Skip to content

The two presenters this month were Ingrid Newton and Mike Seaborne.

© Ingrid Newton

© Ingrid Newton

Ingrid began her presentation with a brief glance at the history of St Ives, Cornwall. A traditional fishing port, it gained a rail connection in 1877, a good guide book by 1898 and from then to mid twentieth century was well presented by post cards. In the present day it suffers from overcrowding in summer and tourist buy-outs of its housing – a council house has recently gone for £1.4m. The fishing, now suffering from Brexit, has moved up the coast to Newquay. Much of the past was present in the historic photos that Ingrid showed.

Her own contribution has been a collection of composite images in which the past and the present (post cards and Holga originals) are roughly blended, each with an extract from the message written on the postcard. They make it very clear that no matter how the society of St Ives has changed, the physical presence of the town centre has not. One may be a very large part of the reason for the other. There remains perhaps a question whether the Leporello is the best way of presenting the project. It is a beautiful object but fitted to personal browsing, inevitably expensive, and so of limited circulation.

© Mike Seaborne

Mike’s project is to make a case for the New Town of Harlow, now in a state of decline or, perhaps large-scale change which may lead to a different, improved future. His methods are those of the documentary and landscape photographer working solely in the present day. The project is still under way with areas of the town still to be photographed. These include the industrial areas which are now the subject of vigorous local efforts at revival.

So far the deterioration of the centre is well shown as is the absorption of older housing and local centres into the New Town development, and the well-maintained old routes strangely underused as cycle-ways. A selection of the town’s many public art works was shown before ending with plans for an expansion across the county boundary, over existing farm land. These were the only plans shown and their presence is well justified by the controversy caused by the loss of productive land. Maybe more plans would help explain the linkages between areas, giving the viewer a greater sense of the actuality of Harlow.

The next Crossing Lines meeting will be via Zoom on Wednesday 6th July at 6.00pm. Presenters will be Michael Scott on the Jubilee Line and Peter Marshall showing documentary from 1970s Hull. More details to come.