The North Prospect housing estate in Plymouth is currently undergoing a £168 Million re-development that will see the demolition of 800 condemned dwellings replaced with 1200 new homes over a ten year period.
The estate - originally named Swilly - was conceived following the Addison Housing Act of 1919, establishing the first garden suburb in the city in which residents were encouraged to grown their own produce and keep livestock, referred to as “Paradise at 12/- a week”.
Initially considered a highly desirable place to live, the estate housed returning Officers from the First World War, but was primarily to accommodate families following slums clearances in Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse.
By the 1950s Swilly became known as the “Cinderella of housing estates in Plymouth” and, as its reputation deteriorated throughout the 1960s, Plymouth City Council pledged a major refurbishment of the housing stock that included the renaming of the estate to North Prospect.
Decline of the Devonport Dockyard in the 1980s and 90s brought acute unemployment to the estate, complicated by alcohol and drug problems leading to crime and anti-social behaviour.
However, master minded by the North Prospect Partnership and funded by the Neighbour Renewal Fund, the estate gradually began to regenerate, enabling the community to start shaping its own future.
By deploying a range of photographic arsenal, the archive Twelve Shilling Paradise seeks to explore how multiple means of image representation can create a wider narrative of place, as well as addressing ideas of ‘the outsider’ ‘the insider’ and ‘the other’ within photographic practice.
Twelve Shilling Paradise is based on an original commission in 2012 by Fotonow, the North Prospect History Project and the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.