The Last Day of the Railway Lands

Giles Bailey

A novel-in-progress set 25 years after excavations for a vast international train terminal have collapsed, taking the stations and housing communities with it. Giles has imagined this place rather like the Cally in an alternate 2013, in response to a Cally Calls pairing with a retired solicitor who has lived and practiced in the Cally for more than fifty years. Their conversations explored London as a socially stratified city where over-development and ill-conceived legislation threatens to compromise communities and livelihoods.

Giles was commissioned as part of Cally Calls a partnership project with Team Cally in 2013 supported by CreativeWorks.

‘The difficulty of this journey, which was little more than a couple of miles as the crow flew, was the result of the great cavernous hollow left in the earth into which, one morning, seventeen or eighteen years earlier when Mark had just started school, the Bemerton estate had groaned, quaked and inexorably slithered. The weight of soil and rubble had been of such magnitude that the flames which leaped from the crumpling gas mains were extinguished before they could consume any of the estate’s inhabitants. Instead they, like these fires, were smothered and eaten alive by the gaping void that opened beneath them. Mark remembered witnessing the great cloud of dust that had been flung into the air as the Bemerton tumbled back into the earth, cloaking the Barnesbury and Priory Green Estates in darkness.’ Giles Bailey, 2013