Bury Grammar Schools

When The World Stood Still

In March 2020, normal day-to-day life as we knew it at Bury Grammar School, suddenly stopped as the pandemic took hold. We are currently living through history, and in the future when we look back, we will be incredibly proud of ourselves for working together and staying strong. Look how much we have achieved as a nation, and of course, as a school.

I've often wondered, in the future when we look back at reports and photographs of this time when it is commonplace to see staggered queues at supermarkets, one way systems in shops and hand sanitisers strategically placed for all to use - that we are living through history. When we see photographs of children and adults wearing gasmasks in boxes slung around their shoulders, of them sitting in air raid shelters waiting out an attack – we know these are from WWII. They’re recognisable. Captured imagery is powerful. In ten, fifteen or even twenty years’ time will we look back at the photographs in the media of people in face masks and instantly know that they were taken during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How would you capture lockdown? How would you depict the world we are currently living in? Can you portray this in a still image? So much has happened over the last 10 months and 21 days… Queen Elizabeth II addressed the entire nation at 8:00 PM on Sunday the 5th of April, shortly after this the Prime Minister was admitted to hospital himself with COVID-19 and then moved to ICU. Limited numbers of people were allowed inside supermarkets, therefore queuing outside at two metres apart. Once inside there was tape on the floor signalling a one way system and other factors to help distance shoppers from each other. Petrol prices dropped to £1.03 per litre because no one was travelling, entire sports seasons were cancelled. No Wimbledon, no end of the football Premiership, no boat race, no London Marathon and a virtual Grand National was held on the 4th of April 2020. The Olympics were postponed, concerts and festivals all cancelled. People became creative and singers played live music on their driveways and on their balconies for all to hear. Communities came together and supported one another.

We launched our own photography exhibition and competition, titled When The World Stood Still. This was open to the entire community of BGS; pupils, families and staff, to capture moments of lockdown.