The Peeps: Ancoats: the Presence of Absence by Dan Dubowitz
Ancoats, in Manchester, was once unimaginably different. One of the world's earliest industrial suburbs, it was dark and dense, noisy, frenetic, violent and unhealthy. It was also vibrant and creative. It had a striking vapour, sound and feel. The area today has undergone a striking regeneration. New streets, pavements and civic spaces have been laid down. A series of installations, known as The Peeps, have been created for the area. Built into the fabric of the buildings, the brass peep holes offer a fleeting glimpse of a walled-in space, a tunnel, a disused toilet, a bell tower, a gauge. Dan Dubowitz, given the title of 'cultural masterplanner', records through photographs, interviews, commentary and contemporaneous texts, the recent past and the current regeneration of the suburb. It is a fascinating, beautifully illustrated and designed volume that eloquently depicts the common narrative of industrialisation, slow decay and rebirth.