Colin Wilson: Dreaming to Some Purpose

The Sock Factory

The Sock Factory images featured here were from a series of images that were related to a journey around the Leicester that Colin Wilson knew in the 1950s/60s.  For those unaware of the work of Colin Wilson he rose to fame after writing The Outsider whilst sleeping on Haywards Heath and going to the British Library every day to write the book.  However his earlier years were spent in Leicester and in his book Dreaming to Some Purpose.  As my family came from Leicester and Loughborough and I had come to Leicester to go to University I marked on the map all the places that Wilson had been and tried to find the exact locations with the intention of taking photographs along the way.  Wilson writes about the old factory buildings in Leicester and had worked in a wool processing factory.  The Sock Factory I was sitting outside taking pictures and the site manager let me in as it was dilapidated and it was about to be refurbished and designed (It is now The Makers Yard: Artist Studios).  I also took pictures of where I thought was nearby to Colin Wilson's attempted suicide.  This is the picture here: 

Site of Attempted Suicide (2010)

Site of Attempted Suicide (2010)

As it turned out four years later I would be working here as this site is now part of the De Montfort University campus and so I would be revisiting this site far more often than expected.  The attempted suicide helped Wilson to find meaning and to understand how to live, this led him to explore so many philosophers, writers, occultists and outsiders who all had found different ways to live and to find meaning.  I saw Colin Wilson in person at the Occultique festival in Brighton I think it was in 2003/4 and he really is a very charismatic man.  I did take a book with me in the how I might get him to sign this however the place was absolutely packed and I don't think I stood a chance with so many witches and pagans vying for his attention!  However absolutely amazing talk, I think my picture Positive Feedback tries to capture that optimism and moment of clarity that Wilson discusses when talking about Maslow and his healthy patients, I strive to be a healthier patient!