Posts tagged with “history”

Mudlarking and Beachcombing?

I read a post about mudlarking. What to Know About Mudlarking. From Archaeology Now, London, England.

"Mudlarking is the romantic name for scavenging on the riverbank (also called the foreshore) when the tide is out."

Things I learned about mudlarking in England: you need a license (even just to poke around), there are places you are not allowed to go, and you must report your finds. The writer, Jill Brown, suggests a catch and release plan where you don't keep what you find, just put it back. Take photos, leave it where you found it. I can understand, those are the general rules for urban exploration too.

But, what if I want to keep it? I don't know if we have rules about beachcombing or mudlarking here in Canada, or Ontario. Maybe they do in Toronto, the city itself. I'm not sure if the same urban exploration rules apply for finding something washed up on a beach or forgotten under the dirt in a forest, etc.

I like the name mudlarking, but I would think of it as beachcombing. I wondered if they were two words meaning the same thing or is there a difference between the two. Reading the description from the post, they sound very similar. Unless you're some kind of elite purist and insist beachcombing can only be considered beachcombing if it takes place on an actual beach. I've never heard of forestcombing (as far as I can remember) and I know there is mud in a forest.

This is a history of mudlarking, quoted from the same post as above:

"Many 19th-century mudlarks were poor, desperate children. They made their miserable livings selling pieces of coal, bits of rope, and anything else they could find. Two hundred years on, the mud is still dirty, the water is still cold, and the extraordinary treasures are still few and unpredictable, but mudlarking has become amateur archaeology."

I don't think beachcombing started that way. It seems it has always been a hobby, finding little things to collect and ponder about.

Ontario Heritage and Forgotten Apple Trees

I'm interested in Ontario history, including our rural heritage. (I volunteer with Ontario Barn Preservation).

Today I found several links about heritage apples, forgotten apple varieties and trees in Ontario, and information about pruning and growing trees from the seeds of the old apples you might find on a road trip here and there.

My Mother and Grandparents talk about the apples they used to have for making pies and wonder where they could still find those now. They don't see them sold in farmer's markets and certainly not in stores any more.

I found a few good links and then this book, by Sher Leetooze, "Identifying Heritage Apples Across Ontario". I bought a copy of the book. I'm hoping it will include greening apples. A variety my Mother mentions every year. She remembers them being the first, early apples available each year. They grow (grew) here in Ontario but we haven't found any yet.

Orchard People

The Kitchen Orchard

The Ontario Heritage and Feral Apple Project

Pick some wild apples this year. You could even try planting some of the old trees seldom seen any more. Give them a chance to get a new start and have apples close at hand when you get into pie making mode.

Documenting Before Demolition

An editorial about exploring and documenting history. This comes from a forgotten (no posts since 2020) site of a Manitoba, Canada, explorer. I couldn't find a name or anything like social media to help find who they are.

Some of you are aware that Canada has never been considered one of the best countries in the world to explore abandoned sites, due to Canada's national policy for demolition projects of derelict buildings or converting derelict properties over to new owners, often into the hands of non-profit organizations. Oftentimes, a non-profit revitalizes a derelict property preserving it into a historical monument for decades to come. Alternatively, many a non-profit just doesn't have the funding to make a complete conversion and a vast number of the buildings remain derelict at the site for decades longer.

These properties are wonderful opportunities for photographers and historians to explore. Unfortunately, for many of us, we don't know they're out there to explore. No one is going to advertise these histories, locations and so on unless you travel the country roads a lot or keep up with the sporadic media reports about these landmarks. Your only other resource is spending unlimited hours in historical archives.

I'm all for preservation of historical sites, but the renovation process often renders the historical artifacts and architectural features obsolete. Once lost, these are never recovered unless someone documents them first. The preservation and renovation leans more to a symbolic historical monument then anything tangible. We need to remember that often times those derelict sites contain histories our culture doesn't want to remember. And that's why we not only call those marginalized and abandoned but also the forgotten one's.

The kinds of explorations some of us do do NOT end up in our Canadian school system's text books. History is continually erased where those would like it to be erased. However, I ask a vital question about this erasure. How does a culture, a nation, whatever this may be learn from their past mistakes in this manner? Perhaps we're all prone to wanting to hide our mistakes, shove them in a deep, dark closet or up into a musky, damp attic until the day we throw it all away or demolish it out of sight and memory.

Sometimes we can't even do that, as in the cases of nuclear tragedies such as Hiroshima, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Well, as some of us know, this is when we encounter the BS campaigns, orchestrated by governments, the international media and big corporations that have an invested interest in these outcomes. And they would just like us to know they would prefer we know as little as possible. Happy, ignorant sheep continue to be consumers, and every nation needs consumers. Some of us are still waking up' and enraged that democracy seems to have very little to do with 'protecting' the people and more to do with protecting big corporation, this includes the lies and coverups to cover up all the environmental disasters throughout history due to big corporation.

This also includes the cover ups of institutionalized 'mental asylums' where those not wanted in society were suddenly labeled with a 'mental disorder'. Imagine living in a generation where parents or your husband, just thoroughly sick of you for whatever reason, you've become an emotional or financial burden, maybe your husband didn't want to suffer the public embarrassment of divorcing you? So they could just drop you off at the nearest asylum? You have to wonder if those family members slept at night considering the 'cutting edge' therapeutic technologies that went on in asylums, like lobotomies, ice baths, electric shock therapy and brutal restraints to name a few.

This is why it's so essential for some of us to document what we can before it all fades. For me, sometimes it's a fine line between truth and deception, life and death and giving honor to those who have been forgotten, most often buried in unidentified graves. Just another number. No name. Their voices muted and then demolished out of memory. Out of history. This is my passion. Follow us this year as we travel and document Manitoba's abandoned places. Sometimes haunted places. The voices of the past still speak, of our ancestors, our history, right out of their unidentified graves, if we listen closely enough.

Photographing the Vanishing Quote

I noticed this quote on an abandoned Blogger site today.

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on Earth which can make them come back again." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

It applies to almost everything photographed. From a smiling child to the sun itself. Nothing stays exactly the same forever and the photographer won't be standing in the same spot, with that same angle, at that same time either. Something will be different, maybe just the weather. Maybe how the photographer feels or gets different perspective. Life is about change, but a photograph can capture what was there, while it was there.

This is what rephotography can showcase. The changes over time and other changes to our culture.