Slippery Lane

I’ve been obsessed with slippery lane for 20 years. It’s a very narrow mediaeval street right in the heart of Georgian Bath. It used to provide access to the river just outside the Roman wall but it’s been blocked off at the lower end for hundreds of years and more recently at the street entrance. Within minutes of walking down its steep incline the modem world starts to feel like a distant memory and you’re plunged into the dirty, poorly lit atmosphere of a medieval town. The tarmac surface turns to a dirt path and the sounds of the city disappear.

The little lane has had a dark past and you can sense it in the stale air. It was the last street many accused of witchcraft saw on their way down to the dunking stool and its cellars were used to hide firearms for a revolution that never came to be. The lane used to house many butchers and it gets its name from the streams of blood that tricled down its muddy floor to the river. Being on the edge of what used to be city borders it attracted those on the margins of society and was the site of one of Bath’s first prisons.

Many years ago I read a few lines in what may have been a legal document about a resident of the infamous lane who went on the run after murdering a priest, though the details are hazy in my mind. I thought it might be interesting to mix the real history of the place with the half remembered, half imagined story of this criminal; Joe, the butcher of Slippery Lane.

The shots are inspired by the place rather than taken there. The photos were printed out and buried at the bottom of Slippery Lane for two weeks so the place would infuse its dark magic into the images.