Learning from the Past

The Past…

Rosedale ruins

… simply passes by the unobservant.

Take this scene, for instance.

Some may walk by these ruins and simply say “I passed a bunch of ruins on the walk’. Others will show a bit more curiosity. Ask some questions…

What is this?

What was it used for?

What happened to it?

Is it of any national or international importance?

What’s the story behind these stones?

Why is the path so flat and gently curving?

And the funny thing is…

When you start to ask questions… you find answers.

The photograph was taken on a walk in the North York Moors in North East England. This area and the village in it are called Rosedale.

The ruins you see are part of the UK’s old mining industry. Not coal, mind you. No, this was mining for iron ore. Iron to feed the railways and increasing industrialisation of Britain.

Iron mining began in this area in the mid 1850s and carried on for decades throughout the Victorian era. It caused the village to grow (though many workers lived outside of it) and saw the development of a new rail line between Rosedale and the smelting works on the banks of the River Tees.

The iron ore went through a process called calcination in Rosedale. Specially built kilns were set up to remove water and impurities such as carbonic acid gas. The resulting ore was much lighter, which made transportation easier and cheaper.

The mining ended in 1928 after more than 70 years of activity.

The ruins of the kilns can still be seen today. The photo you see is part of the iron ore mining complex.

The path which runs alongside the remnants was laid over the old railway line.

If you wanted to dig deeper you would find out much more about the industry, this area, the life of the miners and railwaymen, and more.

The past still on display today…

It’s all around us yet some fail to notice, or take heed of its lessons for the modern world.

Take advertising, marketing and copywriting, for example.

Much of what we see today is simply not a patch on what was created in the ‘old days’.

There is nothing new today. It’s all borrowed, stolen or copied from history.

Smart people look back at the masters for knowledge, wisdom and inspiration.

Masters who lived in an age before radio, before television, before the internet.

They understood the principles and psychology of advertising and selling far better than any marketing degree student of today.

The old posters. The old adverts. The old sales letters.

Remnants of the past.

Pointers to the future.

Anyone involved in marketing or copywriting would be a fool to ignore these masters or their legacy.

If you’d like words written by a student of theirs, you don’t have to look too far from this page (hint, hint).

Does it really make any difference to the outcome?

Deep down, I think you and I both know the answer to that one.

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