leeds – burley to mabgate

( a collaboration with Dave Procter )

eve of the elections in May 2015

all the past ghosts revisited

I lived here/there, in Leeds, from the year 2000,  first Burley, then a squat in Meanwood, then to Harehills with the beautiful neglected Victorian cemetary which was an oasis in the middle of boarded up red brick and gangs after dark … I was tougher then

this was a time of belief in activism, weekends dedicated to demos or organising events at the 1in12 club – a shared sense of comradeship – that we really did have the power to change something … basking in the sentimental shadow of a red and black flag from 1930’s Catalonia .. unaware of our naivitet

I was struggling to grasp something

the knowledge that I was an outsider?

I just didn’t know how or why …

7 years until I moved on to Berlin where I thought my kindred were

Revisiting in May 2015, purposefully aware of the now, having reincarnated that rebel spirit into my magickal work, we walked down to Mabgate … the old working class weavers cottages and mill building, being one of the only signifiers of what used to be here … The Mabgate Pub  – which according to myth  was frequented by the other working women from that time – had underground tunnels to the church guarding the end of the street – for the vicar to pay a visit if necessary …

St Mary and the Whore naturally occupy the same territory, the other side of the street the cunically named HOPE foundry looms oppressively, blocking out the sunlight  ..

I later made an installation inside St. Margarets, a deconsecrated church in Burley, weaving symbols from sturdy garden twine into the lofty heights, weighted down by my handmade porcelain spindles – dedicated to these forgotten working  ‘Mab’ * women, who should by rights have been fairy queens, but instead  were forced by the male mill owners to comply to their needs.

The walk became overshadowed by my past haunts combined with a sense of vengeance for these women  … the photographs weren’t enough …  I distilled down to rough inkblots

these became the stain of a memory I have projected from this place, whilst still becoming the woman I was,


limited edition artists book with images distilled from original photos into inkblot prints, released Winter 2020.

  • Mab, also called Queen Mab, in English folklore, the queen of the fairies. Mab is a mischievous but basically benevolent figure. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, she is referred to as the fairies’ midwife, who delivers sleeping men of their innermost wishes in the form of dreams. In Michael Drayton’s mock-epic fairy poem Nymphidia (1627), she is the wife of the fairy king Oberon and is the queen of the diminutive fairies. Mab is similarly mentioned as a pixielike fairy in works by Ben Jonson, John Milton, and Robert Herrick. Her place as queen of the fairies in English folklore was eventually taken over by Titania.                                                        from Encyclopaedia Britannica

Published by geraldine hudson

interdisciplinary visual/performance artist, curator and experiential researcher