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dudler’s latest blog : we shall not see their like again

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

We shall not see their like again

6 May 2021 7:52AM  
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It’s a phrase we sometimes hear when somebody wants us to share a nostalgia they feel, and which they realise that we may not be particularly interested in. When I talked to my wife about the subject in my lead picture (and my gallery post today), she was deeply unimpressed.

I grew up with fences like this one. I don’t know who made them, but I suspect one firm in the north Midlands produced them all – if anyone knows for certain, please post a comment. They certainly aren’t specially beautiful, but there were quite a lot around in North Staffordshire and Derbyshire in the Sixties: a particular response to the need for quick and durable fencing where – for instance – a dry stone wall had crumbled, or a hedge had died, perhaps.

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We won’t see them again because the modern response is concrete and barbed wire, or perhaps showy new wooden fencing – or, even, a freshly-planted and laid hedge… We may well see more traditional boundaries appear as people become more willing to use labour-intensive solutions which share employment and prosperity, and encourage wildlife. I certainly hope so!

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Maybe a factory in China will start making a similar product: but I think that won’t happen. It’s not, now, an elegant technical solution, or a beautiful one, so it will meet the same fate as all the workaday chairs and tables that local carpenters made when Chippendale and Sheraton furniture was emerging from cabinet makers’ workshops. Nobody’s going to make special efforts to preserve it, until we’re down to the last fifty-foot stretch on a farm near Stoke-upon-Trent, when it’ll get whipped into a heritage museum, or slung on the back of the last rag-and-bone Transit passing by.

So, when you go out for a walk today, keep your eyes open and your lenscap off, and see if you can find something that has been around for fifty, or a hundred, or two hundred years, and won’t be replaced when it is damaged…

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