Pole Vault : an 11 minute downloadable audio walk, to listen to whilst walking along a canal towpath [click to download].

The roots of the Olympic sport of the Pole Vault reach back many centuries when obstacles, or more commonly canals or other stretches of water, were traversed using a pole.

Canals have a complex and sometimes dark history as places where desperate people attempted to take their own lives. One such case was that of Elizabeth Barnwell, who was suffering from ‘puerperal mania’, a severe form of postnatal mental illness. This audio walk tells her story.

With:
Professor Hilary Marland from the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick (interviewed by Nick Walker)
Roland Mackie – Canal Ranger for Coventry Council (interviewed by Anne Forgan)
Jake Oldershaw singing the Boatman
Derek Nisbet – Violin

Song lyrics: Nick Walker
Music, Sound Design and editing by Derek Nisbet

[Pole Vault is one of Talking Birds’ Decathlon artworks, marking the company’s 20th year.]

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