We are looking for contacts, local community groups, interested individuals, routes into funding, places to exhibit, support, volunteers, publicity and people to network with in order to develop our projects.
Please contact us by emailing milesanddacombe@virginmedia.com.

Friday, 20 August 2010


Thinking about Jo’s image of the child on the station platform made me remember some journeys from my own childhood. My family emigrated to Western Australia on the £10 ticket, we lived in a place called Kelmscott and for the first few years my brother and I travelled to school in Gosnells by train. There was a walk from our house to the station, then a brief train ride and a short walk to school. I can’t remember much about the journey, or what the train was like, I have no image of either station in my head. What I do remember was that every day, whilst waiting for the train our Mum would read to us. I loved getting lost in stories and I expect that’s why I can remember so little about the built environment, I was wandering around in my imagination and not paying too much attention to the outside world. If I strain my memory I can just feel the dry morning heat on my cheeks, catch a whiff of railway carriage and recall the ache of being torn away from the book of the moment.

These memories prompted a spot of Googling to see what the station had been like. The old Kelmscott Station, which opened in 1889, had been replaced, in 2008, by a modern, state of the art station. You can see both the old and the new by following this link

I did get a slight tingle on seeing the new Kelmscott station building, as its’ outer structure is very like the new building that houses the swimming pool in Corby.

Photo by Andrew Rushton

Corby Swimming Pool under construction 2009.

Kelmscott Station under construction

The second shiver of coincidence came when doing research into some tangential family histories, looking through public records, at patterns of work and the moves made from countryside to cities. I discovered that in 1911, a distant relative, 17 year old William Miles was living with aunt Hannah Sophia Staples & uncle Charles Staples at 12 Becher St, Derby (the original house no longer exists). Peartree Station (Peartree and Normanton as it was known) opened in 1839, the Victorian / Edwardian housing stock in the area was built to cater for the growing industrialworkforce, employed by the chemical industries, Rolls Royce and the railways in Derby.

William was employed as Railway Clerk Hotel, I assume this means he was employed in a railway hotel. His uncle Charles and cousin Albert were railway clerks working either at Derby Station, 22 minutes walk away or Peartree Station, 12 walk minutes away. As our project is still in the planning stage I can’t do too much digging around about Peartree Station, which is one of the names on the line from Corby that appealed to me, but I quite like this invisible line radiating out from the past into the present.

In the meantime here is an image connected with both Kelmscott and the research mentioned above – a piece called “Three Sails, Many Voyages”, digital images printed on silk, currently on display as part of Out Yer Tree’s exhibition of outdoor contemporary art in the grounds of Coombe Abbey Country Park (Brinklow Road, Binley, Nr Coventry CV3 2AB) from 28th August – 17th September 2010. There is a free walk and talk event on Saturday the 28th of August where the artists involved will discuss their work and answer any questions the public may have. The walk and talk will leave from the visitor’s centre at 2pm.

Monday, 16 August 2010


One travels to escape from it all, but that is the great illusion: It cannot be done, since one travels with one's mind.
 Ella Maillart (travel writer, 1903-1997)

The romanticism of travel still persists.  Yesterday I saw a 7 year old boy at the station platform waiting for the train with his family.  Mum looks tired, carrying all the bags - they are on a trip to Skegness, they had to get up early to get things ready.  The boy, however, is full of beans, he's beside himself with excitement and announces to the platform crowd "We're going on a train! choo choo!"  followed by the dance:  he strides up and down the platform, rotating arms bent at the elbow, "chuff chuff, woo woo!"

Where, I wonder, has he got this image from?  Has this young boy ever actually seen a steam engine that goes "chuff chuff woo woo"?  Certainly no trains at this platform will be making that sound.  Somehow the excitement of the romantic image of the train lives on in this child - he does not talk about the excitement of the seaside, it is the journey itself that has him enthused.

Alas, not so for the rest of us this morning, commuting to our various places of work.  How different the weekend train passengers are from the Monday morning.  The train is equally noisy, but nobody here expects the journey to be exciting, or even fun - most people have brought some form of distraction for themselves:  headphones, books, mobiles for texting, spreadsheets to pore over, dark sunglasses to sleep under.  No child's voice trilling over the conversations of colleagues, no sense of anticipation, just a sleepy, weary monotony of the same old journey...

I once made a piece called "Interruptions"which mused on travel... how travel is a series of interruptions, a story to tell and the "interruptions are what make a journey worth relating."  The daily commute has no sense of story, there will be no interruptions... it is the efficiency of the train that takes away the anticipation, the unexpected, the romanticism...

It is the unknown that excites us, the sense of exploration, the romanticism of the train only lasts for those for whom it is a novelty, who don't know what to expect, who knows what could happen... like a 7 year old boy.