I have been invited to make a proposal for some work at Snibston Museum in Coalville, so today I went to the site to look at the possibilities and meet the other artists. What I found follows nicely on from Carole's last blog, Erosion.
The site includes the old colliery, the massive structures of the pit heads still there, looking both immense and fragile simultaneously as parts rust away. There is a continuous battle to keep these monuments from crumbling away.
Here I stumble across another railway line. The old rail tracks that used to bring coal to the site from other areas around Coalville. The track runs right into the town centre from here.
I love the sense of connectedness that these converging lines express. These particular lines are especially significant to me as they are not just relics but are a present and changing site. The railway tracks themselves are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means they cannot be touched, developed or changed by people. However, the very fact that they are left untrampled by man means that nature is now reclaiming the tracks for themselves. Apparently several important species of fauna are now found there. We spotted the most beautiful bright yellow evening primroses growing out of the lines.
Several other parts of the site show nature squeezing itself back into every nook and cranny of the preserved and untouched. Peering through dusty windows in old store houses, now locked up, you can see shrubs pushing their way through and grabbing any sunlight available. I love the persistence of nature. It grows despite us.
Rust and lichen reclaim our neglected iron structures and turn them into their own art works. Historical sites such as these are not frozen in time at all, but sites of the most beautiful acts of growth and weathering beyond our control or prediction.