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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Lost Cricket Pitches (South Essex)

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I have an interest in Photography (I'm a photography lecturer) and have recently been inspired by a fellow lecturer and mate of mine Matt Lyndsey because of his knowledge and passion for German contemporary photography. This area of photography has been influential in a several movements within of photography two of which I've grown to appreciate - Deadpan and Topography. The combination of the two has led me to start investigating the prospects of a long term project based on photographing the Topography of disused cricket pitches, whilst at the same time exploring the potential demise of cricket and the reasons for the disappearance of these cricket grounds. The project also looks into ideas of nostalgia and the evergreen idea that things used to be better for some reason back in the old days.

Off the back of yesterdays post I've now discovered that within just a mile of where I live there are now certainly 5 cricket pitches that have disappeared within the last 50 years, some very recently, one in the last 10-15 years and two new ones in the 1950's and 60's.

Unfortunately I haven't got access to photoshop at the minute otherwise I'd link a map to the blog, but the first new discovery is -

Dry Street Cricket Pitch, Langdon Hills, Essex

Have a look at this link here that describes a Prison of War camp in WWII http://www.laindonhistory.org.uk/page_id__161_path__0p49p25p11p.aspx following the description, the author Mr Ken Porter (Who is a passionate cricket player) goes on to describe the use of the field once the POW camp was de-commissioned....

The camp eventually closed in September 1948 when it was taken over by Shell to house its workers at Coryton. Shell moved out in 1951 and though the Local Council and the Basildon Corporation considered using the facilities it was eventually demolished. In the late 1950s and early 1960s it became the home of Westley Cricket Club before reverting to a picnic area for those visiting the country park.

On the same website, there's also a mention that the plinth (Foundations) of the pavillion is still there somewhere. Looking at ariel shots on Google earth you can see the field at the junction of the B1007 and Dry street, it's rectangualr in shape and south of Dry Street at the junction, adjacent to the marked 'Annexe Trevelyn'. So once the weather shapes up I'll go and have a look around. The field is very interesting from my own cricket perspective, as this is the very first filed that Joe, Ben and I played cricket in when Joe broke his arm prior to going surfing, so it's the very place my involvement in cricket started. It's a very pleasent field, surrounded by broard leaf wookdland including Oaks, but very rectangualr, so at the moment I still have a little doubt as to its authenticity and will need to get it varified.
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