Industry blossomed in the gardens of England 

In 2019 I was invited to collaborate with two fellow creatives to respond to the 'space and place' surrounding us, and in light of this, we decided to explore Birmingham's renowned Jewellery Quarter. Most well known for its independent businesses, this part of Birmingham is sold mainly as the place to go if you're interested in the heritage of this city and wish to know more about its industrious past. 

However, when we arrived in the quarter what we found instead was the digested remains of a city being brutalised by the rigour of gentrification. The money was being spent elsewhere and it showed, as trash blocked up the streets and countless buildings were left in skeletal remains, held up by rusted scaffolds worn thin by rain. The entire quarter was dying and we couldn't believe it as our research led us to discover that is thanks to the quarter that there is a Birmingham at all. The heart of an industrial boom, when this city took off the quarter was where you went to work. Silversmithing, jewellery making, rifle crafting in the quarter you could find everything and anything- it was a bazaar of steam and coal, the craftspeople the lifeblood which kept it running. Without them, the quarter had died. 

We recorded this decay going back into history during its golden time of work and profit to where it is now, a rotting, vandalised mess acting as a reminder that in our rush towards a brighter future we leave behind us a chaotic litter of buildings and stories that are left to become dust as we refuse to look behind.  

Formal Portraits by Tom Aucott 

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