Spatial and architectural memory in oral histories of working life
in Hot metal
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This chapter recovers the architectural and spatial qualities of so-called ‘ordinary’ factory buildings. Focusing on the modern building that housed the Gov, it explores spatial and architectural memory through an integration of archival research, oral testimony and photographs. This examination is informed by an awareness of how the oral history process contributes to a co-construction of spatial memory, developing between the interviewee and interviewer. Focusing on the built heritage of an industrial site can tell us only limited things about labour, technology and working life, and without oral history narratives, archives and photographs, the remnant built heritage can be historically misleading. Given this book’s broad argument that one can do both – that is, explore material and embodied histories and human stories of working life – it is necessary to consider closely the physical and spatial environment in which the print-workers laboured. This chapter is about those matters of place, space, architecture and embodied experience.

Hot metal

Material culture and tangible labour

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