Make Your Way: The elephant in the close, Lanark

Daniele Sambo - artist residency

Filed under History & Archaeology

The medieval town of Lanark has a unique network of colourfully named closes which zig zag off the High Street and into back yards.

It was these closes and the stories surrounding them that Artist in Residence for Lanark, Glasgow-based photographer Daniele Sambo chose as his theme for the Make your Way project. These investigations subsequently inspired and informed the upcoming installation of viewfinders on the Make Your Way Lanark trails (see links below and under ‘Other Resources’).

Historic Hight Street, Lanark, and Wallace's Cave photo collage. Copyright Daniele Sambo
Historic Hight Street, Lanark, and Wallace's Cave photo collage. Copyright Daniele Sambo

Daniele spent a month unearthing photos and information about the closes by speaking to locals and from the Lanark and District Archaeological Society archive. ‘The elephant in the close,’ was a pop-up exhibition curated by Daniele of his finds in the Lanark Tolbooth Friday 17 and Saturday 18 March 2017, which presented the finds – many of which even lifelong locals, wouldn’t know about. 

Visitors were invited to come along to explore the finds and share their own stories, pictures and artefacts that they felt would add to this new ‘people’s history’ which would offer an alternative history of Lanark which hadn’t been heard before in books, leaflets or exhibitions.

Lanark Closes collage. Copyright Daniele Sambo
Lanark Closes collage. Copyright Daniele Sambo

The title of the exhibition, ‘The elephant in the close,’ refers to one of the most intriguing stories that Daniele came across. Until Daniele’s research, it was a near-forgotten incident from around 120 years ago, when a visiting fair and circus had to negotiate the huge exotic animal through what’s now known as the Wide Close, to and from its temporary stable next to the Market Bar.

He even heard a version of the story from former publican of the bar, Tom Foetheringham, that the elephant rampaged down the close after getting drunk on beer it had either been given or helped itself to at the pub!

The elephant in the close zine. Flick through it below. Copyright Daniele Sambo
The elephant in the close zine. Flick through it below. Copyright Daniele Sambo

Daniele discovered that almost every old street and close in Lanark had changed its name at some point in the Royal Burgh’s history. For example, Shirley’s Close off the High Street, was known to Lanarkians of 200 years ago as Clarkson’s Close.

Find out more by flicking through Daniele’s zine below, clicking on the digital Make Your Way Lanark trails, or downloading them under ‘Related links’. You can also find out more about Daniele's work here: http://www.dansambo.com/

 

 

Make Your Way is an arts, heritage and active travel campaign, focusing on the communities of Carluke, Glassford, Lanark, Larkhall and Stonehouse, in 2016 – 17. It was delivered by icecream architecture and SYSTRA, with support  from Smarter Choices, Smarter Places grant and is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership scheme.


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