Saxonvale

What Happened Here

What Happened Here is a a hybrid art/documentary project which focuses on a single brownfield, former industrial site (Saxonvale) in the centre of Frome, Somerset, but represents what happens when land in any place is ignored over many years while owners keep it tied up as investment. Much of the Saxonvale site has been vacant for almost 20 years.

Over the period of approximately a year from May 2016, I documented the site – the detritus left by fly-tippers, natural decay and vandalism and the interactions between these elements and nature (what I call petty coincidences) and the people who visited the site. What grew out of this was also the story of some of the people who visited or simply passed through the site and some who, for barely more than a couple of weeks, made it their home.

The entire project has been shot using expired photographic film, which itself would have been destined for landfill had I not acquired and used it for the purpose of this project. The random nature and condition of the film stock (some of which was fine, some seriously degraded) has resulted in the eclectic collection you see in this gallery.

What Happened Here is just that; the story of what happened in one place over a period of time. It’s probably happening on abandoned sites in towns and cities all over the UK, but while we’re all aware of the issue of abandoned land in the abstract sense, often the stories of these sites go un-documented.

The project includes touches of humour while highlighting some important issues.

The selection of images displayed here is a small sample from the total body of work which I am now working hard to turn into a book.

As of August 6th 2018 it has been announced that the district council has acquired the land in the hope it can be moved to the next stage of development.