Philip Layley

Photo of Philip Layley

Phil worked at Ford for 27 years and after the plant closed down in 2013, pursued his interest in creative arts and gained a First Class Photography degree from Southampton Solent University. Initially joining the project as an oral history interviewee, he went on to become a key member of the volunteer curation team. Phil’s photographs of the Plant being demolished formed a major part of the exhibition.

I was driving past as the place was being pulled down [in 2015] and I started thinking about it being the last major factory in Southampton. It doesn’t seem so very long ago when there was a factory on every street corner. I realised that it’s a whole community that had a way of life that had gone.

I then started photographing it. I photographed it with half the Paint Shop all ripped out with all the ovens and cables hanging out, and the local houses with their washing out and old fridges slung out on the side. Just to show it as part of a bigger thing. A sense of place that was there – that everybody that worked there knew.

A way of life, how people lived, the camaraderie – now it’s no longer there. I just wanted to mark that. But I wanted to steer clear of any sort of romantic nostalgia and stick to the truth of what was there and that it was the last one and now it’s gone. So the work is based around this idea of the sense of place and different ways of looking at it.

Philip Layley