Video: Following the footprints of Mansfield’s past

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A Mansfield photographer has produced a haunting gallery of images showing the town’s past and present within the same frame.

Neil Pledger gathered a series of images from 1900 through to the 1980’s and superimposed modern versions of the same shot over them.

By Neil Pledger

By Neil Pledger

The collection, entitled Footprints of Mansfield Past, contains a shot of miners’ leader Arthur Scargill leading a group of striking mine workers in 1984 across Rosemary Street.

In others, Mansfield Market Place in the present day is re-visited by a merry-go-round which was photographed in 1965 and by the phantom of a tram.

Describing himself as a ‘heritage photographer’, Neil says his focus is on ‘archiving forgotten heritage as well as the art of decay when a building is mothballed and left bereft of function.’

He said: “I am in the process of cataloging examples locally of the lost heritage and historical moments that permeate through Mansfield.

“There’s a lot that we forget as we drive or walk by every day. I think a lot of things have been lost. I have always been interested in architecture and capturing the decline of buildings. I find it very interesting in terms of looking at the changes that have happened.”

Neil (45), of Mansfield Woodhouse, is a teacher with Nottinghamshire County Council.

He said: “My interest in these places can be traced back to my youth as I’m sure with most people, the exploration and adventure of abandoned, derelict or forgotten buildings was always a draw for me as a young child much to my mother’s dismay!

“Living in Mansfield, the shadow of former industrial glory of mining was never far away.

“This led me to visit and document the old pits, now forsaken and left open to the elements of weather and time. From this foundation I then visited and captured the decaying footprint of a variety of derelict buildings, prior to the viral onslaught of residential development, which has led to places of past industrial or historical significance being lost forever.”

Neil’s portfolio includes images from various old and forgotten establishments. He has had his work commissioned for use by a London based film and TV prop company and was more recently used in a new Nicole Kidman film ‘Before I Go To Sleep’. In addition his work has been featured in commercials for Vodafone International and Pizza Hut.

He has recently completed a ‘featured artist’ slot at the Beetroot Tree Gallery and will be having a exhibition piece in the Mansfield Museum space.

For more information in about commissions, architectural photography or heritage archiving, his work and details can be found at artdk.co.uk and www.facebook.com/artdk.neilpledger