Last Night In Downtown Oakengates, Looking For Roofs, Real Ale, And Having A Slight Fit Of The Edward Hoppers

Just in case you think Shropshire is all ‘blue remembered hills’, we do have our urban quarters. Oakengates in Telford (New Town) to the east of the county has ancient roots. The Romans came marching through these parts in their bid to quell the Welsh, leaving us the remains of a military fort – that’s to say an on-the-hoof marcher camp (nicely squared earthen ramparts reduced to a field crop mark). Then there was a lot of monkish settlement (physical evidence obliterated), but it was during the C19th that the town truly came to prominence and prosperity, its coal and clay deposits making it one of the key settlements of Shropshire’s Industrial Revolution.

Since then, though, the once traditional street scene has somehow had its heart ripped out. Well, mostly. There are still some good old pubs. In particular the  Crown InnTHE watering hole for real ale lovers, and the place where we were heading last night to meet good chum Andy. And just by chance I had taken my camera, and I was struck by the evening light, and the strangely compelling surrealism of the streets that someone had kindly tried to prettify with bunting, and there were a few rooftops too and I had that feeling that I get when I look at Edward Hopper’s paintings: a spinal twinge of fascinated  displacement and disquiet (for his work is nothing if not about light and shadow in all connotations) – hence this set of photos, taken before and after a glass of good Mild Ale…

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Roof Squares

28 thoughts on “Last Night In Downtown Oakengates, Looking For Roofs, Real Ale, And Having A Slight Fit Of The Edward Hoppers

  1. I love “a spinal twinge of fascinated  displacement and disquiet”…..so that’s a good descriptor for certain moments I have experienced!!

  2. Not sure I could ever bring myself to love Telford (too many bad memories of the PGCE I studied there) and I’m sure that Mild Ale might not have been as mild as you thought, but I do like the second image, mostly because the chap on the right is looking at you as though you are a crazy woman. Photographer? In Telford? Whatever next.

  3. This is so interesting and you are right very Edward Hopper. What I feel and see when I look at a Hopper painting is a sense of isolation…..which you have captured here, especially that first image. Have a lovely evening – Janet 🙂

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