Arbroath January 1972

Arbroath January 1972

Arbroath January 1972
Arbroath January 1972. Sewer pipes on the site of the new road. You can see boats on the stocks at Gerrard’s Boatyard behind. Pic: Rod Fleming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbroath January 1972 . I was living in the house at 9 East Grimsby. My Dad had died the previous year and I was still struggling with it.  But I had a few things going for me: music, a camera and my books. It wasn’t a lot but it helped.

Russ Black, the art teacher at school encouraged me to use its darkroom. I had lost my own a couple of years before when we moved house. This is one of the earliest rolls I still have from then.

The camera was a Leica Model III fitted with a Ross Xtralux 50mm f2, an excellent lens. I used the name ‘Xtralux’ for a band some years later, in Exeter. Film was Ilford FP3.

I don’t think I was as sad as the pictures seem to make out but it is true, everything seemed pretty trashy. Living in the middle of what felt like a war zone didn’t help, but it had the advantage that there was nobody nearby. That meant we could play music as loud as we liked.

Arbroath January 1972 — a strange place.

Arbroath in 1972 was a strange place. The middle of the town had basically been knocked flat to make way for an ‘Internal Relief Road’  which was really just a scheme to make a group of influential property owners rich by the compulsory purchase of houses and semi-derelict industrial spaces.

Even today people say ‘Arbroath? Is that the town they cut in half?’

It wrecked Dad’s business and probably killed him, that I do know.

The bright side was that there were plenty of jobs in Arbroath and everybody had money. Not a lot, but enough. There was a thriving fishing industry and the towns engineering sector was vibrant.

Within ten years that had changed. Ted Heath sold off the Scottish fishing industry to buy the UK membership in the EEC and Thatcher pulled the plug on engineering nationally. The oil industry boom did help, but Arbroath seemed to miss the big money.

 


Also published on Medium.

2 thoughts on “Arbroath January 1972”

  1. Hi Rod
    I randomly googled your name and ‘Arbroath’, and hey presto. The wonders of the internet.
    These photos of Arbroath in 1972 – why do I not remember the building of that bloody road? Really trashed the town. They need to build over it… maybe some day.
    I still have that Epiphone I bought off you, still playing almost the same stuff; you can see “Cap’n RAF, his chest” on the case, though I painted over it some time ago.
    Like millions of others I have taken up digital photography, aiming to get better than just snapshots, so I’ll read your posts!
    Good to find your website.
    Best wishes
    Bob

    1. Hi Bob

      Great to hear from you, it’s been a while. I have some photies of you haha I’ll send em. That is a nice Epi, glad to know it’s had a good life. Keep in touch! I’ll add you in gmail and ping you a message tomorrow. I’m actually just selling the last of my film kit…Deardorff 10×8, medium format, 5×4…all my lab gear…jeeps so much. But I am lightening my load. I live in France right now but I am selling up here too…I want to spend 8-9 months a year in the Phils and the rest back in Scotland. The kids never come to France any more so hey. I’ve been 5 months a year in the Phils for years now so this is just really flipping the coin (pun). And I have a lovely GF there who definitely keeps me happy.

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