Exercise 3.5: Local history

Brief: Conduct a short investigation into a historical aspect of the area in which you live. Write a brief account describing what you've researched and any ideas you have about how this subject might be photographed today in a project such as Assignment 3. 

Having grown up in the market town of Nuneaton, there are a few places that I'd like to explore further. The largest town in Warwickshire has many references to its past. The name 'Nuneaton' refers back to the Benedictine nunnery that was built there in the 12th Century. Prior to that, a settlement known as 'Etone', or water-town, had existed there. The water is now known as the River Anker. Today, there are many named references to Nuneaton's origins, such as Etone Secondary School.

One possibility for a project could be to photograph landmarks that have textual references to Nuneaton's past, including street signs and building names. Many places in the town honour the work of author George Eliot (1819-1880), such as the local hospital and Middlemarch Junior School. Furthermore, there are places known to George Eliot that were the inspiration for fictional settings for her novels, such as  Chilvers Coton (Shepperton), Stockingford (Paddiford Common), Arbury Hall (Cheverel Manor) and Griff Hollows (Red Deeps). Photographs of these places today could be used to illustrate relevant extracts from George Eliot's novels.

A distinctive feature of Nuneaton's landscape is Mount Judd. With its steep sides, a newcomer to the town would presume it could be a volcano! However, it is actually the spoil heap of Judkins granite quarry. Traditional industries, such as textiles and manufacturing have been the bedrock of the local economy for many years. However, the decline in those industries has meant that many of these no longer operate. Despite this, evidence of Nuneaton's industrious past still exists in attempts to reclaim and modernise the landscape, such as recreational areas where there were once coal mines. 

Despite the majority of Nuneaton being urbanised, Riversley Park is located by the town centre. It is a place that I've been to and through many times, but never really questioned why it's called Riversley Park. Therefore, I have decided to explore this space further for my third assignment, Parklife