Robert Herringshaw

Showing in Open Houses
Robert Herringshaw, a member of the Royal Photographic Society is returning to the Saltaire Arts Trail in 2017 with a laser cut photobook and images of a famous Helter Skelter. Robert’s exhibit will be in The Art Rooms adjacent to Salts Mill.

There had once been a Helter Skelter at the first Shipley Glen Pleasure grounds but that was a long time ago.

The Pleasure Grounds at Shipley Glen had provided recreation for the people of Saltaire and workers at Salts Mill since before 1900. The public were able to ride up the bank to Prod Lane on the Shipley Glen Tramway, a wonderful example of Victorian funicular engineering. The Pleasure Grounds are long gone but the Tramway survives and is now run by a dedicated group of enthusiasts under the auspices of the The Shipley Glen Tramway Preservation Trust.

Robert’s home is in the Cotswolds but he is still a ‘northern boy’ at heart having spent all his school days in the north. The family would regularly visit his aunt in Baildon and they would often walk to Shipley Glen and the Tramway. The memories keep coming flooding back.

Robert, now an enthusiastic photographer is also a member of the Fairground Association of Great Britain and was reminded of all this as he wandered around Nottingham Goose Fair, stopping for a moment to chat to Arthur Price, gentleman Showman from Gloucester as he prepared his wonderful Helter Skelter. Arthur’s ‘lighthouse slide was all ‘built-up’ ready, ready that is for hundreds of pleasure-seekers of all ages that were soon to appear. Arthur did share a secret with Robert and that was that this was to be a valedictory appearance of his Helter Skelter. Arthur Price’s famous attraction had already been sold to a client in the far east and was soon to be shipped to Hong Kong. This iconic Helter Skelter had toured fairgrounds the length and breadth of Britain since the 1960s.

Whilst at the Goose Fair Robert had been shooting a set of images that would tell the story of the Helter Skelter over that weekend, the ‘build-up’, its use and the dismantling, possibly the last time it would ever happen on our shores. On his return from Nottingham, Robert set about creating a photobook, not a commercially printed edition but an individual ‘artist book’. The pages were designed, printed in his study and then individually laser cut to the shape of Arthur Price’s showpiece.

The results of this micro precision CNC process were then hand stitched to their boards by an award-winning Gloucestershire book binder, in the contemporary Japanese style. A bespoke case was commissioned from Nomad of Market Harborough to keep it secure. The case is representative of how fairground components are transported from one fairground to the next.

The photobook was subsequently entered for The Royal Photographic Society International Book Competition 2016 and it was exhibited at the Espacio Gallery in London’s East End, alongside selected prints from Robert’s book.

This will be the first time that the exhibit has been seen outside London. 

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