Memoriacide

My last post about backing up stuff on the PC got me to looking at the film posted above and thinking about Dave’s take on the history:

The title refers to the killing of history; which is what Medway Council are guilty of by refusing to save the forts and islands from the river, and also what I am doing by showing this film and introducing the locations, which will in time encourage others to go there and no doubt ruin them, as we generally do. A very human failing, this lust for passing on information to please; to get close in some way. As the old traveller writer’s saying goes, we each kill the thing we love.”

For a different take on things I think there is some integrity in the projected demise of these forts. They are simply being left alone. Anyone willing to make the effort to get out there can do and enjoy them as they are. At present the islands are unfettered by the tight embrace of health and safety and the insidious cancer of  guaranteed revenue returns.

I’ve no doubt they could be saved. They could be transformed into an attractive visitor centers that bristle with information boards, that have a host of interactive displays, a soft play area for the kids and a cafe serving ecologically friendly cakes, teas and burgers.  There would be a rolling fund raising program to build a new roof, to treat damp, to sort out subsidence etc etc etc. Admission fees would be a must without the ready revenue a car park would normally bring. In the summer the islands would be alive with the background hum of activity, chatter and children playing. Or something like that.

For sure such a thing would mean that more people could and would visit. But what would they experience that’s much different from any other heritage / ecological center? Not a lot I reckon other than the views.  I guess you could say that history is being preserved; I’m not so sure.

I’d rather things be left as they are and for nature to take it’s course. A 100 years and maybe they’ll be gone but when they go they will do so with  grace of someone that is ready to die. Better this than the indignity of a template makeover characteristic of contemporary preservation projects.  A case of environmental Alzheimers; the shell remains, the spirit is broken; memories out of reach without cue cards and prompts. Memoriacide perhaps?

3 Comments

  1. I liked what Dave wrote originally and I like your perspective on it too. Occurs to me it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing… so I was trying to work out the synthesis of the two points of view.

    Maybe it’s that history should be “respected”, rather than “preserved”? I.e. the nature of that respect is dependent on what’s actually at the core of the “historical importance” of any particular site?

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