I first came across Tim Beale when he was the Bath Preservation Trust manager at the Museum of Bath Architecture. I know taking pictures is his main interest and was pleased to hear he has just completed a photography master’s degree.
What is of more general interest to the rest of us is that the main outcome was a photo book exploring the reasons we see such housing inequality in Bath.
The Right to this City is a body of work that documents his photographic research into the inequalities in living in a city which just happens to be one of the most expensive places to live in the UK.
Tim sent me an email in which he told me the project argues that people should have a fundamental basic right to adequate and affordable housing, good schools, good public transport and a place to grow and thrive.
“These rights I feel are undervalued or simply set aside in favour of exploiting the city for capitalist gain. Political policymaking over the past one hundred years has left a physical mark upon the built landscape across the UK and is particularly evident in Bath. We can see from property size and density how regulatory standards have been systematically stripped away.
Archive materials from Bath Records Office, from the earliest social housing to the last built by the city council, comprising of contracts, tenders, landscape, and building plans, were used to anchor the research text to the photographs, building a social narrative. Newspaper cuttings have been selected to link back to the timeline, reinforcing and clarifying the impact of housing policies throughout the past and today.
As a project, The Right to This City is aimed at everyone, after all housing affects us all, and as such the resulting book is aimed at reaching out to a wide audience. Care has been taken to condense the substantial research into a body of text that is informative and in plain English, without being too long as to alienate or bore the audience.”
I met Tim near the steps into Green Park Station to find out more about his work. Forgive the traffic noise from a nearby busy crossroads.
I know Tim is hoping to find a publisher to make his work more generally available.
In the meantime here is an electronic link to the book https://issuu.com/timbealefoto/docs/the_right_to_this_city_master_book_layout