When I was first invited to apply for a residency at Grafham Water Centre I remembered a strange image I thought I'd seen on film as a child - one of water pouring out of a tower. I was unsure if I had imagined this so I spent an evening projecting my Grandfather's standard 8 films. In amongst the usual home movie footage of weddings, holidays and children waving I found the image. I must have seen it only once or twice as a child but it was just as I remembered - a strange piece of footage that documented the water pouring out of a tower and into the fields that would become the reservoir.
Trying to replace this visual image or compete with the strange contemporary landscape of the reservoir seemed impossible. Instead, prompted by this image, my own family connections to the reservoir (my Grandfather over saw the building of the valley dam) and many stories about the lake I'd heard as a child, I decided to record other peopleÂ¹s impressions of the area - their anecdotal evidence. Fragments of this research have now been incorporated into an audio CD, produced in collaboration with Tim Olden. I hope that people will listen to the piece whilst walking or sailing at Grafham and that, in combination with the contemporary landscape, it succeeds in putting across something of the strangeness of the place.
The project launch for Anecdotal Evidence took place on Friday September 7th 2001 from 6 - 9pm at Grafham Water Centre. During the first part of the the launch guests were able to go out onto the lake and sail with staff from the Centre listening to the new Audio CD. The evening had an unexpected 'bonus' attraction as Chris Featherstone from Anglia Water managed to switch on the aeration tower for the first time in 30 years! Guests on the last boat trip were able to sail around the tower as the sunset and the water poured out - it was pretty spectacular. After the boat trips I showed my Grandfather's standard 8 film, with sound track by Tim Olden, followed by additional footage by Jim Herdman.
The Audio CD
The Audio CD Anecdotal Evidence by Nina Pope in collaboration with Tim Olden is now available. If you would like to order a CD (price Â£5.00 + post and packaging) go to the Somewhere shop.
Or if you live near to Grafham Water you can borrow one from Huntingdon Library. There is also a copy of the CD with my project documentation at the County Record Office in Huntingdon (tel. 01480 375 842)