Dark Lane: John puts vanished Telford village back in the frame

Soon after the creation of Telford 50 years ago, a tight-knit community was unceremoniously painted out of history as the bulldozers and earthmovers rolled in and the new town centre took shape.

But now artist John Meredith, of Queens Road, Donnington, has created a pictorial memory of the disappeared village of Dark Lane.

"I wanted to make sure that it isn't forgotten. It's all buried. I think there's a couple of old trees still knocking about in that area, and they're all that's left," he said.

This still from 1960s amateur film footage captures roughly the same view.

His oil-on-canvas painting is just the latest among dozens he has done over the years, many of which capture the past industry and industrial infrastructure of the area.

The framed canvasses adorn many of the walls of his home, while others are stored behind his sofa.

John, who is 77, says the Dark Lane painting – he has based it on a photo in a local history book – is more or less accurate, although he has had to make one or two changes for artistic effect. For instance, a railway line which runs through the centre of his picture would in truth have been hidden behind a row of houses.

"The train at the bottom is going to the brickworks at Randlay. On the left is Crawford's Farm, and on the right is Dark Lane Chapel."

In the centre distance is Hayward's Farm, with a little chapel behind it.

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Housing estate

"The chapel was taken down brick by brick and went to the town centre."

And on the far right is the Lilleshall Company works at Priorslee.

Today the site of Dark Lane is covered by the Hollinswood housing estate and by part of Telford shopping centre.

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John used to work at Priorslee steel mill, and for a time at Granville colliery, before going into general building work, fencing, and so on.

His Dark Lane painting has already had a public airing, going on display at a history day at Arleston.

What will he do with it now?

"I'll throw it with the rest of the pictures at the back of the settee."




Date: 20 October 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

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