‘A mighty oak has fallen’ – depicting absence at Bole Hill

“You can’t photograph something if there’s nothing there, but you can if there are feint traces to suggest the something greater that is missing.”

That’s the thought I had running around in  my head as I walked a dog and a child around a local hilltop municipal park, Bole Hill.

The hilltop gives panoramic views of the valleys and other lesser hills of northern Sheffield. Up there you look down on everything from rough terraces perched on this exposed hilltop. The sun rises and falls, people come and go and the wind blows. Up at that place, time passes.

This place was a quarry once, the terraces now laid with municipal tarmac and sturdy grasses on what were once the benches from which the stone was worked for the growing city. The park consolidates into a single public place various geologies, phases and ownerships. From maps it appears that everyone was at it here in the late 1800s. But now only the occasional outcrop remains to signal what this place once was. There are traces, but you have to know what to look for. Ask most about this place and its a park, bowling green, view point, playground and (in parts) nature reserve. Only old maps and municipal deeds explain the original purpose for these irregular terraces and their connecting pathways.

Standing on one terrace, the sun was hanging low. The seat took my eye.  A memorial dedication seared into the wood-effect plastic:

Keith ‘Parky’ Hudson – ‘A mighty oak has fallen’

That’s it. No dates, just a name, an evocative phrase and a bench staring out from the terrace.


About lukebennett13
Reader & Course Leader, BSc Hons Real Estate, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. I TEACH: built environment law to construction, surveying, real estate and environmental management students. I RESEARCH: metal theft; urban exploration & recreational trespass; occupiers' perceptions of liability for their premises. I THINK: about the links between ideas, materialities and practices in the built environment. I WAS: an environmental lawyer working in commercial practice for 17 years before I joined academia in 2007. I EXPLAIN: the aims of my blogsite site here: https://lukebennett13.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/prosaic/ LINKS: Twitter: @lukebennett13; Archive: http://shu.academia.edu/lukebennett. EPITAPH: “He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances.” James Joyce, Dubliners

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