11th Apr 2010
The lyrics and vocals to the song "Bricks Unlaid" (check out the "listen" page) are by Stafford-based singer songwriter Gillie Nicholls. Gillie, like Neil, was born in Stoke-on-Trent and they both moved away with their families before the age of ten: Gillie to Leicester, Neil to Stafford.
The inspiration behind the words came to Gillie, a part-time vocal teacher in schools around The Midlands, when she found herself teaching one day in a district of Stoke-on-Trent which looked familiar. A quick tour of the surrounding area revealed that this was in fact where she had grown up and played as a child, but the landscape was barely recognisable. There was no sign of the rows of Victorian terraced houses she remembered. Most of the streets had now been demolished, leaving only large, flat expanses of black bricks, a legacy of the ceramics industry which had once employed the Six Towns. The only surviving building was a derelict Wesleyan chapel.
Neil was curious to visualise the imagery behind the lyric, and made a special trip with Gillie to take photographs of the area in March 2010.
The chapel was demolished just weeks later.