Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Leeds scheduled monuments project and Mardship Bow

I happened upon a page on the Leeds government website, which is quite hard to navigate to from the front page. It details the ancient scheduled monuments in the area with helpful maps on how to reach them, although some of them are out of date and the maps slightly unhelpful. I have been trying in the past six months to gradually work my way through the whole list, in a quest to deeper understand the landscape in which I have placed myself, and to try and shift my focus from the mundane distractions that are propelled to the forefront of our world view.

One of my dearest friends, Simon Bradley, shares my love of deviation from the set paths of modern living and has written a novel about the domination of the Yorkshire Omnibus Company over time in future, waterlogged Leeds. Simon and me have wandered the non-streets of Leeds and its surrounds and have had many an occasion to feel the narrowing of permitted thoroughways bearing down on us. It is my worry that life no longer revolves around the passing of folklore and mythology as a totem of belonging in whereever you are, but instead a clinical familiarity replaces it all, cold to the idiosyncracies of the land.

The ginnels and snickerways are overgrown now, deemed too dangerous although the tall grass suggests even the dark-hearted steer clear. Entire postcodes of Leeds are ghost-towns of neglect, unfashionable and undeveloped they lack the shopping malls and bus routes which renders them unpalatable to the masses.

I love leeds for its strangeness, the dark corners and impossibly confused architecture. Mary Bateman dragging her flayed skin cloak through the meanwood beck under Timble Bridge. I hope, through the story-telling of my friends and I, that these myths are living on and stay within the collective psyche of the city.

I will try and post up all of my explorations of the scheduled monuments (the grey stone and carving of cocidius are already up!) to this blog in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Amazed to find such a useful page on the LCC website. Well done, Smithers! Every square inch of this city has several cubic metres to say. Let's 'at 'em!