Andrew Mellor is a photographer based in Lancashire in the North West of England. His photography explores natural and man-made environments; and the interaction between the two with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it. His work explores change and human impact.
Land – Sea : Artist Statement
For centuries Blackpool was just a hamlet by the sea. But by the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure disease became very fashionable amongst the wealthier classes and people were making the journey to Blackpool solely for that purpose. Our current perceptions of the British seaside were formed during this Victorian period – childish innocence, the fun of the fair and the tranquillity of the sea itself; simple ‘old-fashioned’ fun – are all the stronger for having these Victorian roots.
Between the years 1856 and 1870, a Promenade was built along the sea front to prevent continual erosion and potential flooding and over many years the coastline witnessed significant geological and geographical changes.
It was built in several sections, which vary in height and profile, with the first completed stretch of sea defence being erected from Talbot Square to the site of where Blackpool tower was to be later built. All sections were subsequently designed by a succession of Borough Surveyors and landscape architects, which were also built in stages. This has resulted in different architectural compositions of varying construction and design. The visual stimulus created by the differing architecture is a fascinating feat of engineering and can be used to improve society, both socially and environmentally.
The marine frontage is approximately 12 miles long, from Blackpool to Fleetwood, and is in constant need of maintenance, as it is estimated that the average life span of a seawall is 50–100 years. Hard-erosion control methods provide a more permanent solution than soft-erosion control methods and because of their relative permanence, it is assumed that these structures can be a final solution to erosion.
There are many fabled stories, which provide a mythical backdrop to the seafront, with tales of bells tolling from lost villages and the revelry of the patrons from the penny o pint, which superstition says is supposed to signify a stormy night. Maps from before the late 1500’s indicate the North West coastline ventured out possibly a mile or two further than it does presently. Supposedly, several villages stood along this peninsula and were said to have been destroyed during a tidal flood, around 1554 or 1555; some archaeological evidence suggesting the existence of these villages has been found.
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Also: Read about On the Fringe by Andrew Mellor