All posts tagged: Chloe Dewe Mathews

Remembering the British deserters of World War One

Thirty-five days into the First World War, Private Thomas Highgate, a 17-year-old farmhand, became the first British soldier to be executed for desertion. During the Battle of Mons, Highgate fled the frontline. He hid in a barn in the nearby village of Tournan, a few miles south of the river, and was discovered wearing civilian clothes and asleep by a gamekeeper. He reportedly told the man: “I have had enough of it, I want to get out of it and this is how I am going to do it.’ He was court-martialled and found guilty the following day. Highgate did not speak and was not represented during his trial. He was told, at 6.22am, that he was to be put to death: “At once, as publicly as possible.” A firing squad was prepared and, by 7.07am, Highgate was dead. The burial place of his body was never released. He was the only son of a farm labourer from Oxbourne Farm in the Kent village of Shoreham. In 2000, Shoreham’s parish council voted not to include …


Sunday Service – Chloe Dewe Mathews

The churches, Chloe Dewe Mathews says, are “unlikely, reinvented spaces”. Spread across South London, former factories, office blocks, warehouses and bingo halls have become private, vibrant places for people to gather together, cry, shout, convulse, laugh and sing. Chloe Dewe Mathews’ photographs, now on exhibition in the Tate Modern’s McAuley Gallery, explore “a change in usage”. Like the Tate Modern, what was once an elephant’s graveyard of industry has been repurposed, organically, into monuments of “ecstatic, expressive worship”. There are over 240 black majority churches in the poorer stretch of Britain’s capital city – the greatest concentration of African Christianity anywhere beyond Africa. “Here, the Holy Spirit pervades, faith is intrinsic and God is personally experienced,” writes Synthia Griffin, a curator of regeneration and partnerships at Tate Modern. “These churches feature none of the monumental architecture or symbols of status and power of the historically dominant denominations. Frequently temporary, they are anonymous but very visible to the communities they serve.” Dewe Mathews, who won British Journal of Photography’s International Award in 2011, has spent each Sunday for …


BJP Staff