The Bravest Little Street in England
A memorial to the lost men of Chapel Street by local artist Carole Evans
The Bravest Little Street in England is a solo exhibition by Altrincham artist Carole Evans. It features two new bodies of work which memorialize the brave men from Chapel Street, who failed to return home after the First World War 100 years ago.
Chapel Street received the accolade of “the bravest little street in England” after the town was awarded a Roll of Honour by King George V in 1919. Out of the 161 men who enlisted from the street, 29 failed to return home, and a further 20 died of their wounds. Chapel Street was later razed to the ground in an attempt to clean up the town in the 1950’s. The story of the brave men of Chapel Street was largely forgotten until 2007, when a blue plaque was
unveiled on the wall of Phantong Thai, formerly the Grapes Inn, and the last remaining building of Chapel Street.
This exhibition attempts to evoke a memory, and a personal connection, with the brave men who lost their lives. It includes two new bodies of work by the local artist; A Street of Soldiers and At Rest.
A Street of Soldiers is made up of 29 ambrotypes of current male residents of Altrincham, aged between 16 – 47, in order to reflect the ages of the soldiers from Chapel Street who failed to return. Ambrotypes are photographs exposed directly onto glass using the wet plate collodion process, popular in Victorian times; these are taken on a Thornton Pickard camera,built in Altrincham in 1908.
At Rest uses original photographs (of which the artist could only find nine) of the soldiers to create photographic memory objects, a popular method of remembrance in the Victorian era. The artist places herself in the shoes of the women who are left behind, by combining the photographs with crafts such as embroidery and pressed flowers.
The exhibition will also include archival photographs, artefacts and more information on Chapel Street.
About the Artist
Carole Evans is a photographic artist and curator. Brought up in Altrincham, she now lives in London where she is Associate Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies at Ravensbourne University.
In 2013 she organised the Altrincham Arts Festival, in which empty shops became temporary art galleries. She is also co-founder of Portrait Salon, a salon des refuses of images which have been rejected from the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery.
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