(Image not for reproduction)
This work is inspired by a Todmorden place legend referenced in Ghost of Scraper’s Lane by John Travis, 1896, which references a local boggart called Old Scraper.
Ghost of Scraper's Lane – A Legend
Some time gone by, on yonder slope,
A photograph was ta'en
To keep a ghostly memory of
Old haunted Scraper's Lane
Old Scraper was a man of fame,
At least within a mile;
He went to churtch and held the plate,
As far as poles from guile.
But, mortal frail – his foot let slip;
The gods in pity see.
Or crack of doom had been his fate,
Nor 'evil hour' no plea.
Old ugly lane – the road select,
'Dark entry' by the way,
Where sponkies squat and midnight hags
Hold revel nightly, they!
This road is kept inviolate,
Or it would break a spell;
To raise a stone, or tool, or spade,
Would wake a silent knell.
The purging of this heinous sin
Was not to be of fire,
So clogs of iron – of ponderous weight,
Bedraggling in the mire.
A money bag, like Scotchman's pack,
Upon his back he bore,
With straps and buckles tightly fixed,
They galled him mighty sore.
Tall, gaunt and sad – old Scraper toiled
'Mid brake and thorny briars,
Save little star, no light was shed
From heaven's nocturnal fires.
Through rain and mud and splash and dash,
Through bog, through fog, quite soaking,
From quag and rag and jolt and jog –
A witch would swear's provoking.
Past weird and stunted trees,
And sharp and prickly hedge,
O'er ruts and broken turn-bys,
By brambles mixed with sedge.
For years and years – how many more?
Old Scraper has paraded,
At dead of night his sins to purge –
A goblin ghost – how jaded!
John Travis, Notes (Historical and Biographical) mainly of Todmorden & District. Priv., Rochdale 1896, pp244-24
I live just off Meadow Bottom Road, Todmorden; sharing the same territory as Old Scraper. Over this past pandemic year I have strolled this shared terrain many times. Mapping these paths with my mind and feet. So I felt it apt to create these works in celebration of my local boggart and share them here with you.
If you use the map below, you can use it to find a small exhibition I have created in an occasional window gallery space and an installation in a derelict building near to my house.
Both works will be ready to find between March 6 - October 31 2021
However please note, the window gallery space may sometimes be taken down. I will update the dates when it is not in existence on my website and on instagram. See the links for these at the bottom of this page.
These works are part of a wider project:
CALDER FOLK is an illustration installation project inspired by the folklore and place legends of the Upper Calder Valley, which will be happening across the Summer of 2021 in some form or other, dependent on funding.