My intentions were to head toward places with trees, to take in the splender of the Scottish Autumn, the reds, browns, muted greens. However on pulling over at the side of the road on Lefroy St, Blairhill, Coatbridge, the sky caught my eye, in fact everything round about me caught my eye, Blairhill in Coatbridge is lovely and Autumn really brought out it’s best today.
Coatbridge!!!, you may wonder why!, Why on Earth would anyone want to photograph Coatbridge, Lanarkshire? , a wee irrelevant town nestled in the west of Scotland, slaughtered in the media and by those who don’t quite get the magic of this wee town, it’s hardly Paris. This is true, but make no mistake this wee town has character and beauty like the best of them. I live here, and for those who know me, know I have an admiration for Coatbridge, it’s mighty past truly is a remarkable achievement, I photographed my home town before and if you haven’t already read about it, here is a link for you to have a wee look. Coatbridge, people commented that I spent to much time on the main street, so today I venture south of the main street, into the leafy suburbs of Blairhill, Sumerlee and the tip of Dundyvan.
I plan to do a lot more photo documenting of Coatbridge, so please don’t be disappointed if I never quite managed to snap an area you were looking forward to seeing, it will come. Sooner rather than later, mainly because daily a part of our heritage crumbles and burns, sadly Coatbridge has been the victim of some catastrophic decisions from the powers that be, the very essence of this town is being eradicated at a frightening rate, the “making way for progress” signs are spewing up all over the town and country . I really hate that saying, that catchphrase, when planning departments use it, there is no progress to be had in demolishing a historic town and replacing it with glorified portacabin office blocks and flats (by the way, it’s been brought to my attention that it sounds like I am having a dig at a huge local private employer, who use the making way for progress sign, please note my frustration at this saying is directed at the local authority planning team, and not the big company who employ locally and do a lot for the community of Coatbridge, the company in question are hired to do a job, and do it well, so my wee dig at the slogan making way for progress is my humour, and also the sinking feeling I get when I see these signs on historic buildings throughout the country and not exclusive to Coatbridge, this saying is also banded about at meetings when discussions take place over the future of diminishing historic buildings up and down the land, it is just coincidence that the company use it as a ethos motto as well)… don’t get me wrong some of them blend in nicely with the vintage architecture, however it’s like damaging a priceless piece of art and using a felt tip pen to colour it back in. Eventually they will be looked upon much the same way I show my disdain at the Asda side of Coatbridge main street, a truly criminal series of architectural failure. I doubt most of the “progress” buildings will last 30 years. At the current rate NLC sign off the demolition safety sheets its no wonder Coatbridge is not renamed Progressville.
However to get back on track, the buildings of the past that have not yet been touched by progress are stunning, join me on my Coatbridge in autumn photowalk, and be sure to post where you would like to see photographed next, who knows in my next Coatbridge walk around it may just turn up. Thanks for looking and feel free to share.
Mark Mutch O’Hare