Making Pictures

Nicola White – Land of Iron Film Maker Intern

I’ve spent the past 12 weeks clambering over the North York Moors with my camera, capturing the elements that form the Land of Iron Landscape Partnership Scheme. This adventure has been challenging, hilarious and hot (given the summer we’ve had).

I began with the Combs Wood excavation, bugging the volunteers each morning by crouching on the ground to get the best shot as they dodged their wheelbarrows around me. It was incredible to see them constantly uncovering something new and seeing just how much had been hidden by the nature that surrounded us. See Combs Wood Part 1 – Volunteering, Combs Wood Part 2, and Combs Wood Part 3.

I also got involved with the Warren Moor Mine conservation work this summer. The details of the huge chimney still on site really are incredible. My video focuses on the lime mortar work that the team have completed on the engine beds, as well as all the previous clearing that has taken place during the project in order to preserve the features. It’s impressive to view the impact that Land of Iron has had on this area, and for that reason it’s recorded in my video. See Warren Moor – The Movie

I didn’t just concentrate on the impressive industrial building sights; I’ve also created a video showing the environmental conservation work undergone. From fences and walk ways at Fen Bog to forest work and tree planting across Rosedale, my video illustrates how this work is restoring habitats and encouraging rare species. See what I saw

The final video of my creation sets out to capture the entire essence of the Land of Iron. Focusing on the three main aspects – history, people, environment – this video uses interviews with the core team and footage that I’ve recorded throughout my summer with them, to explain what the programme is all about. See the whole picture …

This summer has been an incredible opportunity to learn and create. The people surrounding and supporting the Land of Iron scheme should receive a medal for all the work they do; constantly typing away on their keyboards in the office or covered in mud down a one-meter deep hole. It’s been a pleasure to dig in the mud with them for such a short time, and I hope I spend all my future summers in a similar way.

Something else … The Land of Iron Landscape Partnership Scheme is approaching its halfway point with building conservation works starting on site and teams of volunteers across the North York Moors helping us care for our fascinating industrial heritage. We’re currently undertaking an EVALUATION SURVEY – this is a really important way to check the scheme is heading in the right direction and achieving what it wants to. Please give us a few minutes of your time to tell us what you think. Your feedback will help shape the next stage of the programme. 

Some thoughts on communities and heritage

Louise Cooke – This Exploited Land Heritage Officer

Heritage is not just about breath-taking landscapes, bricks and mortar or rare species – it’s also about the communities who make, remake, use and visit places. The Oxford English Dictionary defines community as “all the people living in a specific locality”: they tell stories, talk about the weather, share knowledge and are always (as the academic Arjun Appadurai argues) ‘producing’ locality.

RosedaleEast_panorama cottages

The 200km2 of the This Exploited Land (TEL) Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership area is incredibly diverse – from Battersby and Rosedale in the west, to Goathland and Grosmont in the east, taking in the Esk and Murk Esk river valleys and all the communities that live and work here.

Here are some of my thoughts about TEL communities I have encountered so far.

Lost communities

As an archaeologist, one of the most exciting aspects of the TEL project is the evidence of ‘lost’ communities. As industry developed in the 19th century it attracted workers, and those workers and their families lived near to the industrial sites. The historical maps from the mid to the end of the 19th century show rows of terraced housing in Rosedale, Beckhole and at Warren Moor near Kildale. Whilst a number of those houses continued into contemporary occupation, a number were ‘lost’ with the reclamation of building materials meaning that the walls remain only as low ‘ruins’, or just as earthworks. This is one of the unique aspects of the TEL project area – after the period of rapid industrial expansion and population growth, decline set in just as quickly. People came and people went. Homes were no longer used and either fell into disrepair, or the building materials sold on and re-used. This pattern of expansion and decline (rather than re-use) is one of the factors that adds to the significance of the industrial archaeology within the TEL area.

Grand designs for industrial homes (Rosedale)Rosedale EastRosedale East

This time last year I was working on an archaeological site developing conservation approaches for structures from c. 12,000 BC, but here in the TEL area these archaeological sites are, at the most, only 150 years old. As TEL develops I hope the rich historical and social records from the Victorian period will help bring these sites, and the communities who lived and worked in them, to life in a way that is impossible on other much ‘older’ archaeological sites.

Living communities (part 1)

The industrial developments within the North York Moors laid the foundation for the later industrial developments in the neighbouring Cleveland Hills. On Sunday 6 July, Stephen (TEL Project Manager) and I attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the Cleveland Ironstone Industry, held at St Helen’s Parish Church at Carlin How, in conjunction with the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum. The service marked the 50th anniversary of the ‘conclusion’ of Cleveland Ironstone Mining.

A candle for each community: Boosbeck, Brotton, Skelton-in-Cleveland, Loftus, Carlin How and Skinningrove, Lingdale, Kilton, North Skelton.Candles for communities 1

The service really made me think (albeit whilst holding back the tears as the North Skelton Brass Band played Abide with Me and Jerusalem) about the close affiliation between people and place. About the distinctiveness of different communities linked with the different mines, and how those communities fundamentally changed when industry shifted. This is just as it would have been within the TEL area where the industry developed earlier and faded sooner (at the latest by the 1920s).

Skelton Band

What does heritage mean to you?

One of the tricky things about developing a heritage project is that ‘heritage’ means different things to different people. Each person may value something quite differently to the next person. So whilst communities are distinctive, within each there will be a diversity of opinions about what is important and therefore how it should be looked after.

The Heritage Lottery Fund defines community participation as; “involving people in the development of the services, sites and spaces that they use or are affected by”. The TEL Executive Group which is steering the development of the project, and the broader TEL Partnership Group, come from the communities within the TEL area and each person values different elements of the TEL project in different ways. They are keeping Stephen and myself busy and on our toes as the development work continues.

Much more about communities in future TEL blog posts.

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