Early on in my research I realised there is a kind of history to the area which speaks of the extraordinary strength and determination of local people. This could be found in the smallest of actions, often carried out against the odds or standing up to authority. Whether saving a pub or demanding rights, to ‘succeed’ or not is irrelevant. It is the passionate spirit of ordinary people who have dreams, nightmares and agency within their community which is represented here. In fact, I see all the wall-mounted drawings as alternative blue plaques, but as a whole less patriarchal, less hierarchical, more inclusive, more human.
One of the drawings on the trail, “Flying Boots” lends itself to the title of the project. It refers to an impromptu ‘community collaboration’ of comic proportions. On Half Moon Lane in 1932, local residents came to the defence of a jeweller’s shop, in serving smash and grab raiders a bombardment of boots and shoes from their windows all around. The raiders were forced to flee the scene.
It is this community of local shopkeepers around Half Moon Lane which was worst affected in the aftermath of the 2013 flood. It is they who have initiated this project and stuck with it to the end. As a symbol, the flying boot is in recognition of their efforts, their gift to the community. It also symbolises their reliance on the local community to keep them alive after disasters as well as on a day to day basis, and those super-chains at a healthy distance.
Caroline McCarthy, 2019