Powder

The landscape is the silent witness that fortifies histories, maintains boundaries and offers traces of evidence in its many layers.

Throughout 2014 I photographed The Royal Gunpowder Mills site, exploring the structures and archaeology that remain long after its days as a site of manufacture. Although the landscape is silent, it hints at a turbulent past and at untold narratives that are unveiled discreetly.

‘Powder’ explores the remnants of the manufacture of munitions at The Mills together with the concept of the land as witness.  By adopting a contemporary approach to conflict photography, I have been able to trace aspects of the unseen experience and of the hidden battle fought on the Home Front – the unfamiliar side of conflict.

Alder plantation: The remnants of onsite charcoal production

Alder plantation: The remnants of onsite charcoal production

Magazine: A former powder magazine for safe storage of gunpowder during manufacture

Magazine: A former powder magazine for safe storage of gunpowder during manufacture

Firing Chamber: Explosives testing facility

Firing Chamber: Explosives testing facility

The Burning Ground: At the gate where discarded explosives were burnt and destroyed

The Burning Ground: At the gate where discarded explosives were burnt and destroyed

Glass tell-tale: Inside a building used for testing explosives and propellants

Glass tell-tale: Inside a building used for testing explosives and propellants

Paraphernalia: Artefacts in storage in the Boiler Room of Group G Mills

Paraphernalia: Artefacts in storage in the Boiler Room of Group G Mills

June 1960: A laboratory worker was killed and two others injured in an explosion at the secret research establishment.

Classified: Abandoned laboratory at the research establishment

Reflections: Former underwater explosive testing site, Newton’s Pool

Reflections: Former underwater explosive testing site, Newton’s Pool