From the open air car park adjacent to
the first floor of one of the largest
department stores in Western Europe –
whose customers are car owning folk
with some disposable cash to spare –
I can see the methane being burnt off
at the oil refineries, and, beyond,
a bundle of wind turbines turning
on the flood plain beside the estuary.
On the opposite side of the busy road
from the store is the second largest
retail park in England. At its centre
a gleaming big wheel turns attracting
and distracting families of shoppers,
who have commuted from across the region –
north east on the motorways from the old
Cotton Mill Towns, south east from the Potteries.
The car I am sitting in was made here
in this town built for the refineries,
motor vehicles, and canals – with narrow boats
carting bags of coal and fetching finished goods.
In the furnishing department of this store
there is a new range: William Morris Towels.
Morris – iconic textile designer,
socialist activist, artist, poet,
author of ‘The Glittering Plain’ and ‘News
From Nowhere’ urged: ‘Have nothing in your house
that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful’. Yesterday
it would not have been safe to ask about
the towels – and tomorrow it might be
unsettling again – but today
we may be comfortable in our knowledge
of where they were made, and how, and who made them.
Cheshire OaksEllesmere PortLancashire Cotton Mill TownsMarks & Spencerthe Potteries