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Alex Thomas-Bates

Remnants of a forgotten past

Alex’s photographic engagement is centred around the concept of abandonment within the Rotherwas area and exploring the idea of nature reclaiming what it originally owned. The stills being shown were taken in and around the storage buildings that were once part of the Rotherwas munitions factory during the First and Second World Wars. The factory itself no longer exists but the storage buildings do and are left as a reminder.

During WW1 over 1,600,000 women entered the workforce, 950,000 of whom were so-called “munitionettes”, who, between them made more than 80% of all the shells and weapons used by the British Army. At Rotherwas alone, they made between 70,000 and 95,000 shells a week, and women made up to 77% of the workforce. Records suggest that about 8000 munitionettes worked at Rotherwas in WW1, drawn from all over the UK.

Alex has a particular interest in history and historical locations. He’s interested in not just recording but also interpreting these places. He hopes his images provide a way for others to see the world through fresh eyes.