Not finished when
I went through the
blue gates. Ship sails pinned to them.
Past the metal railings fashioned from
metal rope. The peninsular where Bute met
Grangetown and the Canal sluiced
to the sea. From the headland
the walled communities of Lower Grange
and Windsor Quay watch each other.
Merc facing thrashed Fiesta. Bin bag wrecked
bush shelter. Pushchair with buggered
wheels. Time and space for this seafaring life.
Someone with an air rifle shoots a heron gull. A
can of trash comes out of a fifth floor window.
Under the veneer the mudflats sink
At Briggs' exhibition
there are shots of ButeTown
as it used to be. B&w dust. Streets with hardly
a car between them. Grey faces downing dark
beer in the MountStuart and the White Hart. A docklands
community at the end of its life
In James Street
someone has torched a Ford. It is
doused and hustled from existence faster than a
body. Isn't allowed to smear the value of the
rising ash-floored apartments. The White Hart
still does bitter but also white wine in fluted glass.
The ghost of Tripp
rounds the corner, doing the
run between Big Windsor and Casablanca, shirt
outside his trousers, pint in his hand.
No good. Nostalgia
is for the aged. The New Sea Lock
is gone. And the Yardarm. You remember
me, I say to Frankie Johnston, big hat, lounging outside
the betting shop. You do. I used to come down here
in my youth. Everyone knew me. He looks at me slowly.
Up, then down. No, shakes his head, no I don't.
as of yet. John Briggs' exhibition (and book) is Before The Deluge.
The show was at St David's Hall during February, 2002. The book is
published by Seren. More on Hamadryad Hospital from John can be seen
in his follow up collection of photographs, Taken In Time,
also published by Seren Books
(c) John Briggs
The original Hamadryad Hospital Ship, Cardiff, at the west of the
entrance to the Glamorgan
Canal. The ship was used as a hospital for 50 patients between 1866
The Hamadryad was a 46 gun Man-of-war built at Pembroke Dock in 1823.
went to Devonport to be fitted out but never went into service
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