Thursday, 26 February 2015

On acquiring the status of an icon

Finally I arrive at the purpose of this long hike or not quite. I'd heard that demolition of the west wharf at Alexandra Dock was imminent so I thought I'd better go take a pic or two before it was too late. Looking at the map there's a public footpath right past this place however the powers that be, ABP, obviously worried that idiots (who you looking at?) might be tempted to go out and have a better view have fenced off access so this was as close as I could get. (However look you here for some views of the place)
The wharf was built in 1911 to export coal from the Yorkshire coal mines, conveyors took coal from trains to waiting ships so there was no mucking about waiting for the tide. It has been out of use for best part of sixty years or so. (Things move slowly in these parts) Though it's an interesting piece of the city's past it is perhaps, as someone once said of somewhere else, worth seeing but not worth going to see.
I suppose I must mention at this point a little local storm in a teacup that has arisen over the demolition. Many years ago, so the story goes, two  local men, somewhat the worse for wear after a night of boozing, took it upon themselves to paint some graffiti on the rusty ware house. The graffiti was no fine work of art merely a dead bird with the words "A Dead Bod" (sic) underneath. Anyhow leave something for fifty years and it'll turn into a 'well-known landmark', become 'cherished' and acquire the status of 'icon' and you try to remove it at your peril. So it has come to pass that a piece of rusting corrugated crap  is to be preserved for posterity. It's a cultural thing don'tcha know? (Read all about it here, yet more garbage here and buy the T-shirt here)

 Below is how it looked in working order in 1924( from Britain from above)

and finally the 'iconic' dead bod.

(Image Copyright Robert Mason. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, US)

1 comment:

  1. Who would think that graffiti would end up being of cultural significance?