“We must never go back to that kind of squalor here”

Allan McGregor's "Breathing Space" exhibition featured numerous images from the late 1980s and 1990s (pic: Peter Murray)

Allan McGregor is a fine example of a media creator who could be contributing to the Chronicle Online.

Except he was twenty years ahead of his time.

The photographer – who now works as a college lecturer in Livingston – took scores of images of Craigmillar while he was working for the Craigmillar Festival News in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“My job was primarily to take photographs to illustrate relevant social topics within that community newspaper.

“In addition to taking photographs, I ended up getting into reporting for the local area.

“Whilst I was in the process of doing that job, I would sometimes come across situtations within the urban landscape, so to speak, where I thought it was really necessary to document them.

“The area at that time was falling to pieces, delapidated.

“The industrial infrastructure had all but gone and so people were leaving the area but the council at the time wasn’t really putting anything into it.

“And I felt that by documenting that, it would act perhaps as an educational tool whereby people could look at that work – at the time – and say: this shouldn’t really be happening.”

Allan McGregor's "Breathing Space" exhibition ran at The White House in August & September. (pic by Peter Murray)
Allan McGregor’s “Breathing Space” exhibition ran at The White House from June to August (pic by Peter Murray)

Allan McGregor believes much of Craigmillar is now almost unrecognisable compared to two decades ago and he welcomes the regeneration which has taken place more recently.

“One of my reasons for putting the exhibition together is to warn people that we must never allow this kind of thing to happen here again.”

You can watch the full interview with Allan McGregor, talking about his “Breathing Space” exhibition, here:

Allan McGregor’s “Breathing Space” exhibition is currently on display at West Lothian College, until December.

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