Ex. 3.5: Local history

Local history

Having the beginnings of an idea for the upcoming Assignment 3 already, I decided to use this exercise to begin looking at the history of my ‘place’. I’ve honed in on the nearby Halnaker windmill in Halnaker, West Sussex.

What on the surface may seem a simple, disused mill has an awful lot of history. The West Sussex County Council describe the site as a, “Grade 2 listed building, World War 2 Observation Post and Neolithic Earthworks” (westsussex, No Date). The small area at the top of Halnaker hill is also a, Scheduled Ancient Monument” (westsussex, No Date) due to the occupying buildings.

It’s a place I’ve visited a number of times in the past few years, and it’s been sad to see it’s decline into something of wreck. In more recent history, the mill was restored in 2004 and it became a local tourist attraction. Unfortunately in 2013, a man was injured when a wooden beam fell on him inside the windmill (Chichester, 2013), and it has been fenced off to the public ever since. In the past year, the local council has taken on the task of restoring the windmill once again, but this will take some time. Until that time, the area remains fenced off and even the sails have been taken down.

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(the mill, first in 2012 and then again in 2014)

It was built in 1740 but eventually fell into disrepair and then ruin when it was struck by lightning in 1905. In the 1930’s it was restored for the first time and has been in a cycle of death and rebirth ever since.

My particular leanings for photographing this site in Assignment 3 are to focus on the ‘loss’ of its identity, of a ‘depression’ in it’s existence to the current state it’s in. I’d like to explore how photographers have approached industrial decline and dereliction.

Bibliography

Anon. (No Date). Halnaker Windmill. Available: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/places-to-visit-and-explore/halnaker-windmill/. Last accessed 28th Aug 2016.

Anon. (2013). Beam falls on man in Halnaker Windmill. Available: http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/beam-falls-on-man-in-halnaker-windmill-1-5147697. Last accessed 28th Aug 2016.

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