© Frances McCourt
Frances McCourt's 'Carbeth' was produced ten years ago and originally exhibited at Street Level Photoworks in 2010. This exhibition is one of a series which revisits selected projects marking Street Level’s 30th Anniversary.
Sitting beyond the outskirts north of Glasgow and west of Strathblane, Carbeth is a place of contrasts, hanging in the balance between old and new, public and private, escape and reality, isolation and community.
Originally a unique social experiment and holiday site in the 1920s, Carbeth land-owners allowed working class city residents to build small huts at their own expense in return for a nominal fee to enjoy nature, an outdoor swimming pool and access to walking and mountaineering routes. Carbeth also became a refuge for Glasgow and Clydebank wartime evacuees and a welcome retreat for industrial city-dwellers to escape the grime and stress of the city and spend summers with their families and children in an idyllic - if basic - environment. Modern day huts are mostly used for weekend and recreational use, with building work and new huts a common site, although many of the original huts exist and stringent restrictions on building heights, colours and materials, going back almost a century, mean many seem utterly timeless. The individual character of the huts themselves implies both a request for distinctiveness and a respect for tradition, as each 'hutter' strives to create their own identity through the building of these huts and gardens, each hut steeped in it's own unique history and personal family story.
After years of resilience to attempted rent hikes by the landlord to force the hutters out, the community bought the land in 2013. It is now owned collectively by all members of Carbeth Hutters’ Community Company.
Ayrshire born Frances McCourt explores themes around the built environment, the natural landscape and home. Having studied at GSA until 2002, graduating from the Fine Art Photography department Frances has since been involved in photography, community art, voluntary arts work, gallery and museum education and outreach and now in art and design teaching in both secondary and primary sectors across Scotland. https://francesmcct.wixsite.com/fotofolio-fmc