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14th April Tuesday – my last day of ALTERNATIVE VIEWS Tuesday 14 April

Kerry with actor and performer Andy Pollard (Northern Broadsides and Natural Theatre Company)

Perambulating with the portable studio, walking, talking, drawing, and climbing a ladder to experience an alternative view

Around the town’s streets and at the hiddenplaces sites

And my first time ever doing street theatre… Accompanied and guided by professional Mr Andy Pollard – who – being a professional – brought with him costume effects, namely lens-less spectacles and white hats. He had tried to purchase hard hats at the pound shop – but was unable to find any so settled for white sun hats on the assumption that – if it was a hot and sunny day our heads would be shaded, thus the white hats would be protective and possibly prove to be essential safety equipment for exterior ladder climbers. Today the objective was to experience views of Burnley from different height perspectives – elevated views – To achieve this we needed a ladder However Ladder climbing is not something to be taken lightly There are Health and Safety issues In fact – I found 46 Health & Safety guidelines that should be adhered to - which included… People should only use a ladder, or stepladder, if • • • • • •

They are competent users and instructed to use the equipment safely (both Andy and I are competent – not to mention versed in all 46 points) The weather is suitable (we believed it was fit for purpose, and we did have our sun hats just in case the weather took a turn for the better) They are wearing robust, sensible footwear free of mud, soil, or anything slippery (we put this on our check list) They know how to prevent members of the public or other workers from using them (I was confident that I could prevent others from using my ladders) They are fit (Andy assured me he was as he’s quite strict and only allows himself to eat 3 biscuits a day, and his partner is a marathon runner – so he understands fitness, and assured me that he – like the weather – was fit for purpose.) Pedestrians are prevented from walking under them or near them (we had lots of safety tape so were able to cordon of each site we assessed) 1

Versed in all 46 guidelines (compiled from various LEA websites) … and a checklist... we began our day – with our professional ladder You see, it is not admissible for Andy to climb my DIY ladder. A DIY ladder is for the use of the owner of the ladder only. A DIY ladder is in fact of a lesser standard, or class. – a professional ladder, a class 1 ladder, is what is obligatory if – for any reason – you want someone other than yourself to climb a ladder. What makes a professional ladder professional is it’s blue feet (or at least that was the only difference I could see). If you are now feeling a little concerned about ladder safety, as well you might be, please go to the following links – remember – there are many ways to climb a ladder – but only one way to fall – and that’s down! Alternatively – contact to obtain my Ladder Use Check List and 46 Health and Safety Points For Ladder Use


We began our ‘elevated views’ assessments at Site 12 – which I have come to describe as ‘Bin Bridge’ Using our checklist we went through the necessary Health and Safety procedures – beginning with identifying a surface upon which to erect the professional ladder that is: firm, level, clear, and not wet or slippery. Having identified such a spot we cordoned off the area with red and white safety tap – using the studio cart and near by railings to support the tape. Checklist completed and signed off by myself and by Mr. Pollard (as a novice of street theatre I quickly discovered that ‘getting into character’ was important. Mr. pollard seemed a far more appropriate term of addressing my work colleague) Mr Pollard ascended the ladder – always maintaining three points of contact to the ladder as he did so. From the third rung he began his elevated view assessment, firstly by dowsing, (a technique for searching for underground water, minerals, or anything invisible, by observing the motion of a pointer (traditionally a forked stick, now often paired bent wires) or the changes in direction of a pendulum, supposedly in response to unseen influences – (Mac-Book dictionary)


Confident that there was water in the immediate vicinity he called down to me exactly what he could see from his privileged elevated position summarizing with “… good views – I give it an 8/10” (please note that the view in the image below cannot be seen unless you have access to ladders, or are 260cm tall)

A gentleman came out of the door at the other side of the bridge and made his way towards us. He approached us and asked what we were doing Mr Pollard explained... “We are assessing hidden places in Burnley for their value of offering alternative views at elevated positions. If we were to build a viewing platform at this point we have assessed that it would need to be 80 cm high to obtain optimum views without becoming a Health and Safety hazard. Who are you? “My name’s Peter and I own the Isabar. This is the back entrance to the bar – so I wanted to know what you were up to” Mr Pollard looked at him through his black-rimmed, lens-less glasses - “Do you think a viewing platform here would be a good idea?” “Well… it could be, but you’d have to take a few things into consideration. There are a lot of idiots in Burnley – so don’t build one too high because you might get someone falling off and into the river. It’s low at the moment – but when it rains it gets up to the soil pipe over the [he points]. It’s fast flowing too. Also, there’s the bins, so you’d need to make sure that the bin men could still gain access. Otherwise it’s a good idea” We thanked him for his constructive input. Packed up and moved onto our second site – Site 13 - the Calder as viewed from near the job centre. 4

When at Site 13 we noticed that we weren’t the only ones keen to have a good look at the Calder‌


Selecting the surface upon which to stand the ladder - the Health and Safety check - in short - the same procedure as the last site Site 13 threw up several issues… namely – visual obstructions. As you can see in the picture below – a tree stands in the way of Mr. Pollard’s view. To overcome this visual obstruction it would be necessary to either build an extremely high platform – which could prove to be foolhardy – or a very low platform, making it possible to view the view between the tree’s trunk and the stonewall parapet bolsters

Mr. Pollard suggested a meagre 20 cm high platform – barely a ‘step”. Not convinced by his assessment I climbed the ladder (after completing the Health and Safety check list) to double check. Only to discover that at 20 centimetres high the view was more acceptable than at any other attainable height. As we were confronted with impaired views – we discussed for some moments impaired vision – and what a visually impaired person might gain from elevated viewing platforms in Burnley. We concluded that if someone were blind they would require a literary account of the view, possibly a mounted brail plaque at hand height, next to the platforms. 6

Conducting the Health and Safety check was proving to be time consuming… Mr. Pollard and I were alarmed to discover that we were working into our dinner break. Clearly this is a job that cannot be rushed And wishing to be overheard be onlookers and passers by – we felt it only polite to talk precisely and slowly But we were hungry And For Health and Safety reasons it was important that our blood sugar level didn’t fall – as this could lead to dizziness and a ladder accident in the waiting. Luckily, Mr Pollard had the foresight to bring with him a bar of Kendal Mint Cake – very good for immediate sustenance during outdoor activities, particularly activities at altitude My foresight was less insightful – on hindsight it became apparent that to do our job with the utmost integrity, a compass was required. Without a compass we could not pinpoint the direction of the most inspiring views. We packed up and headed to site number 1 – the Continental Barbeque House – via the shops in the pedestrian zone. Mr Pollard wanted to purchase a compass 7

Unfortunately for us the cheapest compass was ÂŁ7.99, so Mr. Pollard left the camping shop empty handed, having decided that he would much prefer to spend this sum of money on cakes and baklava. 8

Luncheon was had at The Continental – brought out to us by the affable young waitress (her father – half Italian half Indian, moved to Burnley for the love of a local lass – born in Burnley but of 100% Irish decent) Mr Pollard whole-heartedly agreed - The finest falafel for miles and the best baklava by far. Refreshed – we conducted the same procedures as before… Site selected - area cordoned off – ladder erected – check list checked and signed off Although elevated views to the left were spectacular - 4 splendid mill chimneys in 4 different architectural styles depicting the industrial heritage of the town - the river Brun “a force of nature that has made this town what it is and what it will become – nature will have it’s way” - we were able to conclude from our wind test - that this is an extremely windy site and should any type of platform be erected here, a wind break or canopy of some description would help one to enjoy the view in safety and in comfort 9

And likewise, a wind break and a canopy would greatly enhance the enjoyment of fresh air fine fare dining at the Continental making the whole outdoor dining experience more… continental. 9/10 for the view – 10/10 for the food

Whilst dutifully conducting our assessment – a man from the other side of the Brun shouted over to us “Are you selling cheese?” Mr Pollard and I looked at each other in disbelief – as if we would be selling cheese from up a ladder Mr Pollard shouted back “ No – we have no cheese”


Site 18 The Victorian privies and the canal aqueduct over Yorkshire Street. Mr Pollard found his way to this site by dowsing alone – a young man by the name of Reece kindly pointed out to us that it was likely to have been the sewers below the pavement that guided us to this spot… He went onto say that “Burnley is shit. If you really want good views go up Pendle Hill”


The same procedure as every site… but Mr Pollard was sad… Reece’s opinion of Burnley had upset him – “it’s not right for a young person to grow up thinking his home town is shit.” 12

Site 18 received a hasty assessment – 6/10. We were in the sights of a police officer who looked like she was on her way over – having neglected to obtain a “permit” for our work – Mr Pollard scampered down the ladder (keeping 3 points of contact as he did so) and we scarpered. Site 17 - Tesco superstore – where the river Calder emerges from under the Leeds Liverpool canal Tesco is one of the main funders of our work so I was very excited to finally arrive at this site. And - I had spied what looked like a perfect – ready built viewing platform

I beckoned Mr Pollard over the zebra crossing As we pondered the feasibility of mounting the platform we were approached by 2 men wearing High Visibility Jackets “Do you have permission to be here?” “Well – I’m investigating alternative views and assessing elevate views of Burnley – and someone representing Tesco interviewed me for the job.” “So do you have written permission?” “No – but Tesco know about the work – and have paid me” “Umm - We need to go and have a word with the security manager about this”… off they went We waited. After a few minutes a young man carrying a walkie-talky in his hand and wearing a semblance of a uniform approached us “Do you have permission to be here?” 13

“Well – I’m investigating alternative views and assessing elevate views of Burnley – and someone representing Tesco interviewed me for the job. “But do you have written permission?” “No – but Tesco know about the work – and have paid me” “You can’t be here without signing in. You need to sign in for Health and Safety reasons. [Just like all the users of Tesco I thought???] You’ll have to come to the store office, alternatively I can ask the manager to come down here.” “I’d prefer that” I replied Off he went – Mr Pollard and I waited Then we were approached by a man wearing a High visibility jacket... “Do you have permission to be here?” “Well – I’m investigating Burnley’s hidden places and alternative views and assessing elevate views of Burnley – and someone representing Tesco interviewed me for the job.” “What do you mean by hidden places?” “Places that are interesting – but places that people may not automatically consider interesting” “Oh – I remember this place from when I was a young boy. Where Tesco is now was all houses and I used to live in a terrace over there. As a boy I played in the river just down there. So what do you want to do here?” “We’d like to put our ladder on that platform and assess the elevated view of the river” “Oh – that should be fine so long as you accept responsibility. Should you fall or anything – we can’t be held liable” “No – That’s fine – thank you very much” I was so engrossed in my conversation that I hadn’t noticed the 3 men approaching – 2 of them rather burley, and the third the man from earlier with the walkie-talky. Actually - all 3 had walkie-talkies – and all 3 were wearing a semblance of a uniform “I’m sorry but we are going to have to accompany you off the site – you don’t have permission to be here” “But Tesco’s have paid me – and If I leave they will have paid for something the haven’t received” “That’s entirely up to you love” “No – it isn’t – You are asking me to leave and I will get paid whether I stay here and do my job or not” “That’s entirely up to you love” “No – you’re not listening – I will get paid but Tesco won’t get the work they’ve paid for ” “That’s entirely up to you love” “No – it isn’t up to me – it’s a fact – I’m still going to get paid… I need to make a note of this… who exactly has made the decision to eject us?” “The store manager” “OK - I’ve made a note of that – I’d like you to tell the store manager that Tesco will not get the work they’ve paid for, whereas I however, and Mr Pollard, will still get paid” “That’s entirely up to you – now can I ask you to leave the premises…” 14

We made our way off Tesco land – our view of the site marred…


As we slowly perambulated are way down Tesco’s footpath Mr Pollard looked across at the vista of Burnley. He could see a clock tower and remarked… “Look at this building… [pointing at the Tesco supermarket] They didn’t build this to last. Tesco didn’t design and build this with the town of Burnley in mind – it’s just a transient bit of prefab architecture designed to serve a purpose for the time being…

…unlike the grand old buildings in the town centre that were built - not just for the function of commerce – but for the benefit of the town and the people of the town”


This is the old Co–op department store. On Tuesday night – my first night in Burnley – Sharon and her husband Paul gave me a guided tour of the town – showing me parts they were particularly proud of – which included this building. 17

It was getting late in the day – but we wanted to assess at least 2 more sites although we realised that our Tesco experience was going to take some beating. I was suffering slightly from shock – never in all my days, have I been ejected off a premises by security men. For a professional like Mr Pollard it was an all too familiar risk that came with the job… Site 14 – the river Calder at the back of KoKo’s themed nightclub The same procedure as every site…

A busy little site – with a total of 6 people coming to enquire about our work, including the owner of the gym that backs onto the site – a traffic warden who promised he wouldn’t give us a ticket (he saw me yesterday along the canal – but was too shy there to come over and talk to me – and 4 women who had spotted us from afar and mad a bee line for us. They were quite scary and I thought that I might have problems if they decided they wanted to climb my ladder. I was confident that I knew how to dissuade one individual from climbing my ladder – but 3 feisty 18

young women dressed in black and adorned with tattoos and body piercing (the 4th lady was more my age and not as distinctive in appearance as the others) was a daunting prospect. However – we managed to diffuse the potentially threatening situation by mentioning our run-in with the Tesco security men. Instant street cred! Of all the people we encountered today – these women were the first to ask about our lens-less spectacles “Why’s there no glass in your glasses?” To which Mr. Pollard replied “I have 20 /20 so I don’t need lenses” They didn’t really want to be seen hanging around with us – they thought we looked “gay” so off they went This site rated a paltry 3/10 – a disappointingly poor site for a viewing platform of any description. The last site of the day – Site 11 Cow Lane Bridge My boss – Mr Noah Rose - appeared out of nowhere – to check on us – were we doing our job properly? Were we being thorough? And were we conducting our Health and Safety checks? We assured him that we had had a productive day and that we had adhered to all Health and Safety procedures at all sites. And that unfortunately we were unable to do our job at Site 17 – Tesco superstore. He nodded empathetically… “I’ll make a note of that” He interrogated us for a while – asking all kinds of questions - and then he took some photographs to evidence that he had done his job by coming to inspect our job. These photographs can be seen on It was whilst assessing this site that we realised that Health and Safety legislation can in fact impede decision making in the siting of public sculpture – Because we could not cause a highway obstruction, nor a footpath/pedestrian obstruction (both being bookable offences) – And because we had to have a surface that was: firm, level, clear, and not wet or slippery for the positioning of the ladder – we were restricted in our viewing position options. We had only one option – the open ground opposite the bridge parapet. This meant that we were unable to asses a viewing area of our choice – and thus, were we to build a viewing platform – we could only recommend views from this one elevated position – even though it would – theoretically – be possible to construct a platform on un-even or sloping ground – we simply could not position our ladders on such terra firma To add insult to injury, I knew that there were brown trout in this stretch of the river – and how wonderful it would be to enable public viewing of this fishy habitat. But alas, from our position – across from the parapet and on the other side of the road – the fish were not at all visible


However There was something to be gained form an elevated position at this site – as you can see in the pictures below – One picture taken at (my 160 cm eye level) And the other from my elevated eye level: 160 cm + 120 cm (platform) = an overall elevated view of 280 cm

This site was rated at 7/10 by Mr. Pollard Our final site And into overtime thanks to Mr. Rose’s extensive questioning… Our day’s work was done And if I might be so bold “… job’s a good ‘un” 20


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