Icebreaker Reflections, Leeds

Whilst coming out of Leeds on our northern trip I noticed near Armley a strange sign placed on a wall on the offside close to a bridge. It appeared to be written in Cyrillic (Russian script). I picked up the camera, photographed it and in the process of framing the shot I realised it was mirror writing!

Sign as seen

To read the message in the reflection you need still water. Unfortunately, Albert had disturbed the water as we passed and I couldn't read it properly. I just got the gist, so I cheated by digitally reflecting the image.

Sign reflected to reveal the message


So why is the message there?

The answer lies on the web site of its creator, the artist Roger Palmer, which states:

"Botany Bay, 22 June - 12 August 2007, Leeds Art Gallery

A derelict landing stage on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal marks the site of Botany Bay in the Armley district of Leeds. Botany Bay received its name in 1808 as the landing place of the first shipment of Australian raw wool bound for Yorkshire mills.

Submerged in Botany Bay are the remains of a wooden icebreaker. These heavy vessels were pulled onto the ice by teams of horses and rocked from side to side, causing the ice to fracture. Wooden icebreakers were sunk in the summer months in order to preserve their timbers."

In a linked piece of art, which was displayed at the Leeds Gallery and is shown on his web site, Roger created  The Remains (2007), a neon text illuminated in four phases:

The Remains
The Remains of a Wooden Icebreaker
The Remains of a Wooden Icebreaker Lie Submerged
The Remains of a Wooden Icebreaker Lie Submerged in Botany Bay

So there is the answer. Thought provoking and informative. On Roger's site you can also see a better photograph of the sign and its reflection. You will also find a video of the reflection.

The sign has also been noted by one or two passing photographers.