September 16, 2020
Great Admiralty Works - The East Side
Today we start a new series of photos from Book II. This book consists of ten montage folios i – x (we will publish one folio per week). Each folio comprises a set of four or five captioned and dated photographs. The image groupings on each folio may appear to follow an ascending chronology, however they are effectively distributed according to subtle temporal discontinuities. Ten sequences, from one end to the other, showing distinct moments of the same processes of construction.
The aim of presenting these photographs using montage, is to deter the imagination from inventing histories (that later become references) by passively enfolding itself on a single image. Montage is the opposite of this, it puts the multiple in motion, leaving less to the imagination.
A set, collection, or archive of related images presented in unison, ie montage, increases the viewer’s intrinsic knowledge value compared to the knowledge value that may be gained by viewing a single solitary image.
Book II Folio I The East Side
Photo 1 – View, looking in a northeasterly direction, of a builder’s compound under construction in circa 1896 on the area known, until recently, as the Aerial Farm. Of significance is the view of the Devil’s Tower which used to exist in the area, seen centrally on the photograph. Also worthy of mention is the train of hopper wagons, visible to the right of the Tower, and which were used for the transportation of aggregates and excavated materials. In the background we can see Eastern Beach and the sea beyond.
Photo 2 – Close up view of the elevated timber platform on top of which we can see two cranes used for the loading/unloading of aggregates and materials being conveyed on the hopper wagons. By placing the cranes at this higher level, they are above the hopper wagons thus making it easier and quicker to load and unload the wagons with cranes of a shorter reach.
Photo 3 – View looking north, taken in circa1896, of part of the area of the builder’s compound, again still under construction. Several features in this photograph are worthy of mention. On the left side we can see several rail carriages which conveyed the hoppers used for the transportation of aggregates and a closer look shows one of the engines used to pull these wagons, parked alongside the shed. In the bottom central section of the photograph we can see workmen busily involved in the laying of a natural stone base presumably using materials quarried in the area.
Photo 4 – View looking south, again taken in circa 1896, from the southern end of Eastern Beach, near the location of the present cairn memorial to The Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment. Note the integrate timber gantry running along the full length, supporting two parallel lines of railway tracks, used for the transporting of excavated materials from the area. Also note the sparsely vegetated sand slopes in the background which at the time extended to the foreshore. Also visible in the background is the base of the vertical north face of the Rock.
(Photographs reproduced with permission.)