Linking the Tyne & the Thames

Fitzrovia Noir’s Cargoes project examines cultural and industrial links between the Tyne and the Thames, in the context of current levelling-up initiatives between North and South. Cargoes seeks to explore historical innovations, and contemporary practices, whilst reflecting on past links between the two geographical areas. Both locations, once-thriving commercial hubs built on maritime trade, connected by their respective rivers, are now entirely changed spaces in which very little remains of their industrial past.

Artistic director Garry Hunter commissioned Lens Lab to produce portraits of members of the community in both locations, using the historical wet collodion process, on both glass (Ambrotype) and tin (Tintype) plates. This is not just the making of an image, but also a chance for the public to engage with the physicality of the object and process. The handling of these materials creates a direct link between the industrial, material-driven heritage of the areas, and with those who historically worked in the industries which once occupied these spaces. In our digital world the physical object seems all the more impactful, and allows us to draw causal links between our past and present.

This project was funded by Fitzrovia Noir & Heritage Lottery Fund.