Thanks to Peter Bruce for the above images.
Beneath the pavement, the beach! For here we have a line of houses called Streamside, And up there, beyond the Fountain pub, Lies Springfield Road and a plethora Of constant, subterranean springs, Springs! The genius loci of Stroud …
We walked down Lansdowne, To cross the Slad Brook, at Mill House, In search of the edgelands, Puddles, brooks and panel beaters, Car dealers, buddleia, car parks and cinemas, Past the Dickensian Omar L. Cottle, Monumental mason, The nominative determinism of a park, Named after a Park, Past strange continuities in the street: The chemist’s on the corner, Where in 1872, A chemist by the name of Joseph Banks Campaigned for a farm workers’ trade union, And no more payment in truck: ‘In sterling money, not fat bacon …or a couple of swedes’,
Then to Badbrook and weavers’ riots, ‘We had been working ever longer time for ever cankered pennies all the year. Something needed doing. So we laid our shuttles and looms to rest and joined the Stroud Valleys Weavers Union. This is my true and faithful account. I cannot dissemble. The Good Book tells us that we should get our bread by the sweat of our brow. We had the sweat but no bread. What could we do?’
On past the culverted brook, Mcdonald’s, (Who owns the brook?) Edgelands car park signage, Underneath the dirty old town railway viaduct, Along the canal, past old turnpike gates, Behind Lodgemore Mill, past sluice gates and leats, Listening to the voices of the dispossessed, ‘I was baptized Josephine, but I call myself Joe now: I never felt comfortable in a woman’s clothes … a professional legger, An inland navigator of sorts, a sort of hybrid, My sex hidden by fustian, and the subterranean Depths, down there where the fossils remind us Of Noah, the ark, the deluge, and the dove of peace.’ Past old mill buildings – there a self storage centre – Past fences with endless toppings of rolled barbed wire, Past Springfield Cottage, along the Cainscross Road, Skirting the site of the toll house riots, Along suburban footpaths that could be Saxon, Or even prehistoric in provenance, Linking lines of hills and valleys, An edgelands liminal palimpsest … Past more streams and springs at Puck’s Hole, To reach Bread Street and hear of the 1766 food riots, ‘Many that are under sentence of death thought they were doing a meritorious act at the very moment they were forfeiting their lives’,
And so down dale and uphill to sit for study (A silent group gathered on the pasture) Randwick’s 1832 experiment of dispensing with money; Gazing up to the village’s labyrinth of footpaths, Built in exchange for raiment, food, bibles and tokens, ‘Personal Decency promoted, AND IMMORALITY CHECKED, Exchanging Men’s idle time for the Blessings of Food and Raiment. Randwick 1832.’ And thence past Callowell, (so many watery names!), More springs, And the ghost of a turnpike bar at Salmon Springs, Through Stratford Park, past its museum, And narrow gauge railway, To exchange addresses and reflect on Rebecca Solnit – The meaning of our pilgrimage: ‘We think space is about place, in fact it is really about time.’
Thanks to Mark Hewlett for the below image: