In 1974 my aunt, uncle and two cousins sold their home and bought into a community housed in two terraces of mostly derelict railwaymen’s cottages at Townhead, on the edge of a South Yorkshire moor. As kids, my sister and I spent a few weeks over a couple of occasions staying with them. My memory of those times are of cold, the wind howling in the chimneys, woodsmoke, tobacco smoke, dope smoke, someone making cheese in their room, no meat, lots of beans, rice, vegetable stews and soups and weetabix (and beans). But this project isn’t about me and my short experience of the place, it’s about the lifetime of those buildings and the communities that have lived in them over the years.
What’s interesting to me is investigating and documenting the life of a community, of the people who have lived there as well as how and why change arose. Through writing and a series of interviews in a variety of media, I intend to tell the stories of the people who have lived at Townhead working back through time, starting with the present day and what they know of the place and the people who were there before. For residents present and past, what drew them to this place, what have they learned there and what if anything they think is special about those two rows of terraced houses.