11 investigates that on the 3rd September 1917 the inhabitants of Beachley point in this quiet country parish were given 11 days’ notice to vacate their homes in order to allow thousands of Royal Engineers and German Prisoners of War to begin construction. While under constant threat from German U-Boats, the government decided to boost shipbuilding capacity by building three new National Shipyards, the largest of sites, and number two was at Beachley. 

Through defence of realm regulations from the government evicted people were displaced and made homeless. No ships were ever made and the homeowners never retrieved their losses.

I have begun to photograph the otherworldly Beachley site near the border of Monmouthshire. It is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the rivers Wye and Severn, where the Severn Bridge ends and the smaller secondary bridge for the River Wye begins, both bridges carrying the M48 motorway between England and Wales.

Re-visiting the site over time I have found objects that form clues to the past and the present memories and stories. I have explored the history of the environment and the architectural remains that are embedded and lost in the ghosts of time in the landscape. A dual narrative runs through this landscape, one of environmental erosion and the other of ruined homes that have been displaced that form a layering; showing different moments of time lying like sedimentary strata on top of each other.

I aim to highlight aspects of displacement and belonging especially in relation to the inhabitant’s environment and lost homes.

The site is filled with a sense of loss and absence with the military presence a constant reminder with MOD signs warning visitors to keep out. The sense of militarisation reveals how war is embedded in this archetypal English landscape.

Using Format