Barton's Britain was a short series that ran on the Guardian newspaper website, in conjuction with a written online column, and in print form in the paper's G2 section, for 6 months during 2009. All of these short films were concieved and shot in a single day by myself. The column, reporting and voiceover is by Laura Barton.

 

Opened on 17th July 1761, the Bridgewater Canal was constructed to transport the Duke of Bridgewater's coal from his mine at Worsley to the industrial areas of Manchester. The forerunner of canal networks, it was the first canal in Britain to be built without following an existing watercourse. Also known as the “Dukes Cut” the Bridgewater Canal revolutionised transport throughout England and marked the beginning of the golden canal era that followed from 1760 to 1830. In its heyday the canal carried more than 3 million tonnes of traffic, today it forms part of the popular boat cruising route known as the Cheshire Ring.

This film won first prize in the digital film category of the Press Photographer's Year awards 2010.

 

King's Cross Snooker Hall is part of a dying breed. A British game, snooker was invented in the 19th Century by army officers stationed in India to help pass the time during the monsoon rains. Popular throughout the 20th century, it's predominance has been strongly challenged by the American export of Pool. As a result, many of Britains snooker halls are struggling to survive and many face closure.

 

The poem, Lark Ascending, written by George Meredith in 1900, inspired the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams to write a piece of music in 1914 for the violin and orchestra. Also entitled Lark Ascending, it is Britain's favourite piece of classical music.
Both Meredith and Williams lived near the North Downs in Surrey, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and where the Skylark can be seen, rising up into the Surrey sky.

 

The M1, and first offical motorway in the country, celebrated it's 50th birthday in 2009. The initial section of the M1 ran for 62 miles from junction 5 near Watford to junction 18, near Crick. Taking only 18 months to build, it was fast and straight and brought the promise of a future high-speed conection between London and Manchester.  

 

October 2009 marked the 25th anniversary of the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, a direct attack on the Conserative government of the time. Killing 5 people and injuring many more, the memory of the night still lingers.

 

Published in 1964, The Whitsun Weddings written by Philip Larkin documented a Whitsun train journey from his home town of Hull to Kings Cross station in London.

 

Stonehenge is one of the oldest monuments in the world. Dating back as early as 2200 - 2400 BC the prehistoric site has been used as a place of worship, celebration and burial throught the time of it's existence. The Summer Solstice attracts several 10,000's of thousands of people who gather amongst the stones to watch the sunrise each year.

 

Westonbirt is the National Arboretum, set in Gloucestershire it's Victorian orgins have benn transformed into an internationally important tree and shrub collection with over 16,000 trees. It is renowned worldwide for it's spectacular spring and autumn colour displays.

 

Heartwood Forest near Sandridge, St Albans, is England’s largest new native forest. It is one of the Woodland Trust's ongoing projects, with plans to create an 858 acre woodland with a total of 600,000 newly planted trees in just 12 years. The Bluebell, particularly associated with ancient woodland where it can dominate the understorey to produce carpets of violet–blue flowers are a stunning display each year in the depths of Heartwood Forests each Spring.