Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Burning of the Albion Mills


The Burning of the Albion Mills
www.past-tense.org.uk
Quarter sized.

The cover of this book is totally rad. I’m assuming the (wrap around) image is of the Alibion Mills burning, but even if it isn’t, it's still a good cover and I like the contrast with the title printed in red.

Alibion Mills was a massive flour mill started in the late 18th century that was equipped with the latest in steam engine grinding technology. Awesome! Except it didn’t go over so well with the people that worked in the mills. As in past tense, no longer had a job worked. Bread riots over prices, rumours of wheat flour being mixed with other things, general poverty. Not the most fun time to live.

The mills caught on fire somehow, and people rushed out to watch the fire burn. A common enough occurrence nowadays when we know the fire department will show up*, but when people lived in cramped houses and one fire could burn down a whole neighbourhood they generally tried to put fires out. Not so this time.

I enjoyed the many sources that were used to put this zine together. As well as historical information, there is information on songs and poems about the mills and the fire, and a variety of images showing the event. Unfortunately it could have used another read through/edit and a few layout nudges. Also it lacked some background information that would have made it more useful to people with less knowledge of 18th century (ie. what is a Luddite?).

Still, I’ll keep my eye out for other publications created by Past Tense.

*This is not as fun when you get home to discover the building everyone is crowded around is your own and fire fighters are kicking doors in.

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