I have been researching the history of the local branch lines and the effect of the Beeching cuts. I had already identified that the branch line from Ash Junction to Farnham Junction, was closed following the Beeching report. This branch line encompasedtwo stations, Ash Green Halt and Tongham Halt.
Ash Green Halt
Looking at the old OS maps I had assumed that the North Hants railway known as the Watercress line was also closed as a result of Beeching, but acording to their history page it actually survived the cuts and was closed 10 years later by British Rail. the contrast between the two lines is stark, the Tongham – Ash Green line was stripped and in some parts removed completely. The Watercress line has been preserved and turned into something of a theme park.
From the point of view of this assignment of a journey I need to decide if I want to use one or both of the two lines, the Watercress line would allow a peek into the past as the infrastructure looks as it did in the past where the Tongham line provides the opertunity to explore the marks we leave on the landscape. There is also a chance to explore the contrast between the two and our obsession with turning the past into a weekend vist or theme park.
I have been doing some further research on the old OS maps and found that you could get copies of the original maps I have assembled a set of maps from the archive that cover the area I am looking at which I may get printed as part of the final submission, having been on the bookmaking class with the TV group and done some work on bookmaking I am thinking of making the final submission into a handmade book and putting the maps either in the book or as pull outs at the end.
The maps I have sourced are as follows:
Hampshire and Isle of Wight XXI_14 (Aldershot Ash and Normandy Farnham)
Sheet 285 – Aldershot (Outline) 1896
Surrey XXII 16 (Ash and Normandy Seale)
Surrey XXX_2 (Farnham)
Surrey XXX_3 (Aldershot Farnham Seale)
Hampshire and Isle of Wight XXI_14 (Aldershot Ash and Normandy Farnham)
In my quest for information on the Tongham branch line I discovered this website: https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=15&lat=51.2392&lon=-0.7175&layers=168&right=BingHybThis resource is invaluable in locating the original parts of the line that have now been demolished, it allows you to point at a location on one map and see a crosshair on the other, it is also possible to swap maps for different issues of OS map. In the screen grab above I have the OS 25inch, 1892 – 1914 Map selected on the left and the current Bing satellite map on the right.
An initial glance is showing that Tongham Station has been redeveloped:
And that there may still be traces of the Ash Green station, it looks from the new map as if the old station building is still there the track is still there though I know the rails have been removed and the bridge is still intact:
“There used to be a lot of trains and now there are nearly none”, I have actually had lots of hairbrained ideas for this assignment that I will probably not even try to put down on paper. My current Idea is to look at the old Tongham branch line that was closed in the Beeching reform. I have a lot of memories of part of it, which has now been removed by the construction of the A331. When I was a boy between 12 and 15 I used to go shooting with my Dad on a bit of land that was owned by a local farmer, Dad had permission to shoot on the farm to help keep the pidgeons etc off the crops. Along one edge was a bank which I learned was part of an old railway line removed in the Beeching cuts.
Today the stations are now gone but sections of the railway still exist, there are some lovely bridges and repurposed buildings along the way. I am considering using old OS Maps and documenting the traces that still exist of the old railway. The following is a segment of the 2018OS map I have highlighted the route of the old Tongham branch line in yellow.
Struggling to find an inspiration for Assignment 2, The Aldershot murders is a bust as I can’t get access to the information in time. I looked at the idea of following the path that the Bluestones at Stonehenge took, but it’s not really working for me. One of my biggest issues is the lack of funds at the moment stopping me from driving all over the place. There were three Ideas around stone henge one was the path of the bluestones as mentioned as the quarry is quite close. The second was the path of the other stones but that is a huge journey from Wales. The last was the funerary procession to the henge.
To be honest these ideas revolve around theories that no one knows the answer too. Oddly if the idea does not fire me up I find I don’t want to work with it. I feel that the path to a voice of my own lies on a path of doing things that inspire me, which sort of stands to reason.
I have abandoned the idea of Stonehenge now but that leaves me with no idea for a project now.
I find myself in one of those horrible places where I can’t visualise my next assignment, I can’t remember being quite so adrift and devoid of ideas that I find stimulating. In my current financial situation there is not much room for travelling about for the assignment and so I am stuck with what I can get to locally. I wanted to do something that was not just “my trip from A to B” which seems rather plain and obvious, I was looking at the idea of my journey from a boy to manhood based on the places I have worked, many of which no longer exist, but even this is not lighting the pilot light. I have looked hard for any books on Aldershot that take us on a journey I could recreate but that has so far drawn a blank. I would love to have done a Jack the Ripper style tour based on all the murders over the years in the area but the definitive book is not released until November by Keith Bean.
I really need to find a way to jump-start the creative juices as I am having a flat moment right now. One day I will be able to just rush off and do my own thing can’t wait for level 3 and my body of work.
Text is something that comes up in almost every module it seems to be something of an obsession with the course writers. I was fortunate enough to see the work of Michael David Murphy called “Unphotographable” at Brighton in 2012, my first visit to the Biennial. I remember being really taken by this work as it created the image in my mind rather than with my retina, which enabled me to create my own fantastic version of the story. As an avid reader of fantasy fiction since I was around 12 years old, I am really familiar with the joy of creating the image in your mind as you read and how this is often ruined when they make a film about your favourite book.
In this exercise I was tasked with taking a trip and writing notes, I took a walk along the Blackwater Valley Route and found it stirred lots of memories and some strong emotions, particularly at what has happened to the landscape since I was a boy.
A thought provokingexercise is now complete. I have always enjoyed the concept of typology but looking at it from the pespective of the landscape has given me a new insight into my own odd photographic predjudice and got me re evaluating my likes and dislikes.
I finally completed exercise 2.1 I took the images last week but it took a while to source a copy of Two-lane blacktop my chosen road movie to watch. I have now finished writing it up and the exercise can be found here: Exercise 2.2: A Road