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Visions of Xanadu


The river is just down the road from my house and an area where in normal times I walk nearly everyday for exercise.

The A14 road bridge is one of a number of bridges across the river. On one side the bridge underpass dissects two areas of land that are used by travellers and migrant workers living on a Traveller site relegated to the margins of Cambridge. There is a well-established traveller community that has been there for very many years. Living on one side of the bridge, they use fields on the other side to keep their horses, using the underpass as a transit between the two. Before Brexit they were joined by migrant workers - particularly men - from Eastern Europe. It is unclear how much of the graffiti, litter and broken glass is created by either of these communities, and how much by other walkers passing under the bridge. Graffiti is certainly not confined to this bridge, but is evident in a range of styles also under the other bridges along the river.

The other side of the bridge is mostly farmland with a footpath linking the somewhat affluent villages of Horningsea to Fen Ditton.

The river itself is part of the University rowing Bumps course, and used by town rowers and also leisure boats.     

It is a haunting, almost spiritual place.  Large majestic concrete pillars with enigmatic graffiti create dramatic shafts of light in the early morning and sunset or dark shapes in the winter fog. Between shuddering bursts of traffic overhead, the water reflects and echoes the drips from the roof. The ever-changing artworks, puddle-life, scatterings of litter and sparkling broken glass tell stories, real and imagined.     

Bridge : Visions from the Underworld - Photobook

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