About Play Time

Play Time is a series of photographs showing Albert Elliott Primary School in South Shields, shortly before demolition. The children and staff have moved out and the wear and tear of almost half a century has been revealed.  

The photographs offer a fragmented glimpse of the building's life through the objects and traces left behind: torn paper corners, notices, unwanted furniture. The enduring bright colours echo its vibrant past and contrast with the emptiness of the recently deserted spaces, perhaps reflecting the mixed feelings that come with simultaneously losing something old and gaining something new.

Play Time looks at the transient nature of buildings, which are often seen as permanent and immobile. The photographs explore our desire to hold on to things: buildings, people, places, time. Many of Albert Elliot’s staff and pupils had grown very fond of the building and were upset to witness its destruction. Buildings often seem to house our memories, and like photographs, offer a temporary sense of permanence.


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