rheanna lingham


 IMG_1035 IMG_1037 IMG_1038 IMG_1041  IMG_0511



45 Lennox Road, a fairly typical terraced house in Gravesend, boldly declaring its number in giant whitewashed digits on the wall. I have stood outside this address, looking at its paved over garden and pebbledashed walls, I don’t know it and it doesn’t know me, yet what I do know that almost 100 years ago, when its front lawn was green and its wooden front door bared its number, Frank & Kitty Taylor opened this house and their hearts to a small baby, Maisie.

As a result of barefaced pragmatism, I live in Gravesend, a decision reached as it was the place that ticked enough boxes. Eight years ago this town and I started our rather tumultuous relationship. There have been times that we have held each other in mutual regard, amicably co-existing and times when I have hated its very being. On these days I have dreaded pulling off the A2 to come home, shouting and cursing at its presence. Feeling guilty about my hurtful rage, I have sought to repair this, searching out small kernels of goodness from which bridges can be built, on occasions we have nurtured these and on other times Gravesend has smashed these peace offerings out of my hands and turned its back.

A still, warm summers evening and I am on Lennox Road, taking a photograph of No.45. A neighbour, stepping out of his car, eyes me suspiciously and I explain that this is the house my Grandma, Maisie, grew up in. He looks disinterested and turns away, leaving me to imagine my grandmother living here, playing outside, walking down the street on her way back from school and in that moment I am connected. This was her town, and now this is my town.

Gravesend sits on the Thames estuary, at a fairly narrow point of the river, across the water Essex is achingly close, as if you could only stretch out that tiny little bit further and you could just about touch it. Giant container ships pass by, bringing cargo to the docks or embarking on journeys, about to be released into the sea, looking absurd with their Gulliver proportions. With reassuring rhythm these ships pass up and down all day and night, guided by the pilots of the Thames Estuary, whose knowledge of these tidal waters ensures their safe passage.

I stalk the river. In the day I watch its movements and at night, I lay awake eavesdropping on its sounds, the foghorns offering up a signal of its vitality. I’m drawn to it, it settles me.

With the brine of the Thames coursing through my veins, I began photographing the river and Gravesend, a series of photographs that started on Instagram as #gravesendagram(s). These photographs aim to celebrate the town, to ignite another’s adoration of this place. I do not wish to lament on times gone past nor for them to be an act of derision, mocking a town that has lost a little of its fabled splendor and power. They are about today. A nod to a town that has so much to give if only we would let it.