Lost and Found – Tiviot Dale

Ὁ βίος βραχύς,ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή,ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς,ἡ δὲ πεῖρα σφαλερή,ἡ δὲ κρίσις χαλεπή.

30cc0c813d69ba409723f2b3d9bc5dd0

I have no wish to take issue, with the finer thoughts and feelings of Deborah A. Ten Brink.

However.

There is a sense that our earthly endeavours, may serve to assist us in avoiding the void, the cold dark inevitability of eternity, that everyday here today, gone tomorrow feeling.

However.

Nothing lasts forever, except forever and nothing.

The cherished memories, condensed in a fraction of a second, rendered corporeal in photographic emulsion, carefully stored in family albums.

Are but a trick of light, a slight of hand, heart and mind.

Blink and they’re gone.

Blink again and you’re gone.

P1050559 copy

Here they were.

P1050558 copy

Here they are.

P1050525 copy

P1050526 copy

P1050527 copy

P1050528 copy

P1050530 copy

P1050531 copy

P1050532 copy

P1050533 copy

P1050534 copy

P1050535 copy

P1050536 copy

P1050537 copy

P1050538 copy

P1050539 copy

P1050541 copy

P1050542 copy

P1050543 copy

P1050544 copy

P1050545 copy

P1050546 copy

P1050547 copy

P1050548 copy

P1050549 copy

P1050550 copy

P1050551 copy

P1050552 copy

P1050553 copy

P1050554 copy

P1050555 copy

P1050556 copy

P1050557 copy

 

Collyhurst

It’s the end of the road, for the middle of the street.

Needwood Close Collyhurst is closed.

An area that has suffered the slings, swings and arrows of failed PFI bids, absent partners and putative city fathers.

2012

After missing out on £252m of state investment when the Government cut the Homes and Communities Agency budget, Manchester is now trying another approach to deliver the much needed regeneration of Collyhurst.

As reported by Manchester Confidential

2014

The masterplan is part of Manchester Place, a joint initiative between Manchester City Council and the Homes & Communities Agency that looks to create a pipeline of development-ready sites to help the city meet its ambitious target of creating 55,000 new homes by 2027 as set out in the Manchester Residential Growth Prospectus.

Manchester Place will work with investors, such as Manchester Life, a £1bn, partnership between Manchester City Football Club and Abu Dhabi United Group, the privately owned investment company which also owns Manchester City Football Club, to bring 6,000 new homes to east Manchester over the next 10 years.

As outlined in Place North West

2016

Hartfield Close – Manchester

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.23.35

It’s not unusual.

To discover something, whilst looking for something else.

For me, it’s almost a way of life.

I was in the area to look around the nearby Brunswick Parish Church.

Just around the corner was Hatfield Close a low, white two-storey terrace of six homes, each with a small fenced garden to the rear, facing onto a large open grassed area,  backed by further housing.

It was difficult to discern whether they were empty or inhabited – two seemed to have residents. Curious in a city with a growing population and a demand for vacant property. Are they in limbo, between redevelopment, refurbishment or CPO?

They have ben offered to the market within the last year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 12.10.46

At a value way below comparable properties, currently they seem to be adrift in an uncaring world, a tiny lost island of Municipal Modernism.

P1030819 copy

They deserve a little care an attention.

We all do.

Yorkshire Building Society – Bradford

I don’t know much about the Yorkshire Building Society, I must say I have less than a passing interest in Building Societies generally.

I more of a building societies man myself.

But I do know this

In 1993 the former Hammonds Sauce Works Band was renamed as the Yorkshire Building Society Band. The building society supported the main band and also the YBS Hawley Band and YBS Juniors. The building society ceased its sponsorship in December 2004 although the YBS initials were retained in the band’s name until 2008. From January 2009 the band was renamed the Hammonds Saltaire Band.

Which seems a particularly cruel way, to treat a sauce works band.

Their former HQ has been standing on the corner, watching all the world go by.

For some time now.

Empty.

For sale, to let, facing an uncertain future.

Alone.

Eastford Square – Collyhurst

Once there were homes, postwar social housing.

Once there were jobs, a measure of prosperity.

A settled community.

webmedia-1.php
webmedia-4.php
webmedia-2.php
webmedia-3.php

Time has not been kind to North Manchester, successive slumps, double-dip depressions, economic downturns, and centrally imposed recession hurts.

The local authority steps in, from 2009 the fate of Eastford Square is sealed.

Regeneration.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 16.39.43

Spells demolition.

One wing is already gone, the maisonettes are tinned up.

P1040328 copy
P1040330 copy
P1040310 copy
P1040340 copy
P1040333 copy
P1040327 copy
P1040329 copy

The Flower Pot Café, still fully functional, fed me well for £2, Lee the proprietor is living on borrowed time though, hoping for relocation within the new development.

P1040316 copy

Other businesses have not survived the transition, awaiting CPO and who knows what.

P1040308 copy
P1040307 copy
P1040306 copy
P1040305 copy
P1040314 copy

The square is blessed with a concrete sculpture, whose fate I hope is secured, somehow.

P1040294 copy
P1040293 copy
P1040296 copy
P1040295 copy

Possibly by William Mitchell – possibly not.

P1040297 copy
P1040304 copy
P1040303 copy
P1040321 copy
P1040292 copy
P1040313 copy
P1040298 copy
P1040301 copy
P1040300 copy

This as ever, is a time of change, I hope that the area and its current inhabitants live to tell the tale, rather than fall victim to the tide of gentrification, forcing them further afield.

O Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

P1040335 copy

Pleasureland

“But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”

Umberto Eco

Somewhere between Las Vegas Nevada and Casablanca Morocco lies Southport.

Somewhere in Southport lies Pleasureland.

Separated by oceans and oceans of artifice.

A puzzle wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a wind blown fish and chip paper, tipped lazily onto the edge of Lancashire.

The seaside itself an invention of the railways, and an expanding leisured class.

To begin in the middle, the Hollywood cinema creates an Orientalist mythology around Morocco. A confection of exotic confinement, conspiratorial glances and romance.

Who are you really, and what were you before?

What did you do and what did you think, huh? 

We said no questions. 

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Casablanca,_title

Which in turn becomes parody of itself, constructing an airport that apes its own constructed image, a brash reflection in an eternally wonky mirage of a mirror.

casablanca-mosque-hassan-ii

The same mirror that reflects across the Atlantic, to that cap it all capital of Kitsch.

img13228702

A veritable smorgasbord of visual treats and retreats in Mesquite Nevada.

CasaBlanca_Resort_Casino_1

Or the Casablanca Ballroom Westin Lake Hotel – Las Vegas.

wes3786br.144830_xx

Flying home to the Warner Brothers Stage 16 Restaurant

casablanca-backing-for-stage-16-resturant-las-vegas

Or indeed Southport.

DSC_0068 copy

2011 – I had my first close up and personal encounter with the wood frame, chicken wire and faux adobe render rendering of North Africa, on the coast of North West England. It was in a state of semi-advanced neglect, an extraordinary experience. Pleasureland had already faked it’s own demise, a pre-boarded up, boarded up frontier town.

DSC_0065 copy

Where the edges of meaning are blurred beyond belief, take care.

We are dealing with uneven surfaces.

DSC_0070 copy

 

 

Who could resist a Moroccan themed crazy golf course?

You are now entering a Scoobidoo-esque scenario, where the mask is never finally removed, nothing is revealed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.58.53

2016 – I returned, the world had turned a revival was in part taking place, some of the pleasure returned to Pleasureland, whilst the seafront facing bars remained empty.

One man holds the key the glue, that bonds these distant lands.

The myth to end all myths.

DSC_0087 copy

For he is forever in his own orbit, omniscient.

DSC_0090 copy

Make the world go away
And get it off my shoulders
Say the things you used to say
And make the world go away

Park Hill – Last Train To

This is the fourth time I’ve visited Park Hill.

Alone on a hill – sans the sound of music.

I think it may be the last time.

 

10934972796_6d4cc15562_b

Alone on a hill – two weathered stickers on a public bench for company.

P1030019 copy

Visitor.

On previous visits, there were a few remaining residents on the western wing.

https://modernmooch.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/park-hill-sheffield/

Now they are gone.

Their homes tinned up, the walkways and stairways too – once these streets in the sky could accommodate a milk float, they now echo emptily, with the sound of a restless wind.

And so, in early sunny Sunday morning light, heavy hearted I wandered the open areas, colonnades, service lifts and terrazzo walls.

A small gift to the families, folks, workers, planners and architects who brought this estate to life – a celebration of the modern aesthetic in clear, broad daylight.

P1030059 copy

P1030029 copy

P1030054 copy

P1030051 copy

P1020971 copy

P1030044 copy

P1030026 copy

P1030038 copy

P1030052 copy

P1030048 copy

P1030042 copy

P1030053 copy

P1020989 copy

P1030049 copy

P1030039 copy

P1030060 copy

P1020987 copy

P1030057 copy

P1020977 copy

P1030061 copy

 

 

 

 

Sheffield – Gallery Shops

Once part of a larger retail complex, embracing the Castle Market area – regrettably demolished in 2015, the Gallery Shops are themselves, but a wrecking ball away from nothingness.

Linked by walkways, once populated by a multitude of rosy-cheeked, cheery shoppers, independent units and stalls operated in what was the better end of the High Street.

Over time, like many modern city the axis of energy shifts elsewhere, to newer more shiny developments – leaving hollow shells, echoing only to the footsteps of long gone ghosts.

Oblivion.

Revolution.

Lift receiver and dial.

P1030098 copy

P1030077 copy

P1030112 copy

P1030086 copy

P1030097 copy

P1030109 copy

P1030088 copy

P1030090 copy

P1030106 copy

P1030089 copy

P1030078 copy

P1030094 copy

P1030083 copy

P1030111 copy

P1030093 copy

P1030101 copy

P1030092 copy

P1030082 copy

P1030096 copy

P1030087 copy

P1030108 copy

P1030081 copy

P1030084 copy

P1030113 copy

 

Screen Wall Water Feature – Manchester

the-bandwagon-breakin-down-the-walls-of-heartache-dancin-master--2_6729456

Breakin’ down the walls of heartache, 

I’m a carpenter of love and affection.

So sang Johnny Johnson of the Bandwagon.

They were a permanent fixture at the New Century Hall in the late sixties.

Attached to New Century House, the Hall was an integral part of the extensive Cooperative Society property development in Manchester.

Much of that development now faces an ever uncertain future.

None more so than the adjoining screen wall.

P1010590 copy

Set to the north-east side of the building’s entrance forecourt is a concrete sculptural screen wall by John McCarthy with an abstract relief to the south-west side facing into the forecourt. The wall is aligned at a right angle to the building’s main entrance and has a shallow rectangular pool (now drained) set in front. The wall includes numerous openings from which water originally flowed into the pool, but the system is no longer in working order. The pool also originally incorporated small fountains.

Information from Historic England

At a time when the whole of the centre of the city seems alive with construction, refurbishment, gentrification and more quarters than you could shake a stick at, this forlorn and seemingly unloved gem stands, shrouded in shrubs.

I’m a carpenter of love and affection, who would not care to see, this particular wall:

Broken down.

P1010593 copy

P1010595 copy

P1010596 copy

P1010579 copy

10942979_10153057260926600_244358983598520538_o

P1010592 copy

P1010588 copy

P1010589 copy

P1010584 copy

P1010587 copy

P1010586 copy

P1010591 copy

P1010594 copy

P1010585 copy

P1010582 copy

P1010580 copy

Beswick

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 15.17.13

Between Openshaw and Bradford sits Beswick.

Beswick is a small district located on the east side of Manchester bounded by Ashton Old Road, Ashton New Road and Grey Mare Lane and was incorporated into Manchester in 1838. Pronounced Bes-ick the “w” is silent. Before 1066, in Saxon times, the district was called Beaces Hlaw – Hlaw was an old word for a small hill, often used as a burial mound. By the 13th century it had changed to “Beaces Wic” indicating that the area was predominantly farm land. Who or what the Bes element of the placename signified is open to interpretation, though the simplest and most plausible is that it belonged to a person called Bes or Bess.

In the 60s it was, as I remember it, a typically vibrant mixed East Manchester community, industry, housing, retail, entertainment and goodness knows what bumping along together incautiously, down tight streets of Victorian terraced housing. I worked in the area as a Mother’s Pride van lad, hauling bread, cakes and galvanised trays in and out of a plethora of superabundant corner shops.

The year of 1970, approximately, dawns, ushering in a decade of great change, slum clearance and the building of brand new homes – the end, by and large, of the back to back corner shop world.

A process mirrored in my previous post

10 years later, and long gone the years of postwar full employment, and the made round to go round world of the weekly wage.

The early 1980s saw growing unemployment and world-wide recession. The large new estates suffered most. Inner city districts of Manchester saw street riots in 1981, as did many other major cities around Britain. Manchester had suffered badly as a result of the recession. In 1986, over 59% of adult males living in Hulme were unemployed; in Miles Platting the figure was 46%; Cheetham Hill and Moss Side both had an unemployment rate of 44%. The main group of unemployed were young people under the age of 21. Hulme’s youth employment was recorded at 68%, and Cheetham Hill suffered 59%. 

Manchester 2002

webmedia-7.php

It is true that the new developments have great advantages in many ways over the terraces they replaced. Tenants who live in houses without baths or indoor sanitation and with no hot water are delighted to move into bright new flats and maisonettes, with indoor plumbing, with baths, and accommodation which has more rooms and far better kitchen facilities and central heating, even though they sometimes grumble at the cost of that central heating.

Gerald Kaufman MP

But although we can build a new housing development, we cannot easily recreate the warm community spirit which has vanished with the terraces which have been demolished. There is the noise from neighbours on the deck above and the deck below. The wind-swept balconies along which tenants have to walk are not as cosy as the streets from which they have come. Those welcoming corner shops, with their bright lights on winter evenings, have gone, and sometimes a new development has no new shops for too long a period. Even when they come, there are not enough of them.

The scale of the buildings is often daunting. I have in mind Fort Beswick and Fort Ardwick in my own constituency. The design is frequently all too forbidding. That is why the two estates are called Forts

When the tenants of these development have lived in cosy old houses, however inadequate they were in terms of physical provision, they are bitterly disappointed by the shortcomings of new property which they have looked forward to occupying.

Handsard – Multi-Storey Developments 1974

 

The year of 1990, approximately, dawns, ushering in a decade of great change, multi-storey development clearance and the building of brand new homes – the end, by and large, of the one on top of another topsy-turvy world.

Fort Beswick was subsequently demolished.

The beat goes on as Len Grant records the most recent redevelopment of East Manchester.

And the M.E.N shouts loud and proud from the roof tops, heralding a brand new, privately funded public domain

Picture credits Manchester Image Archive

 

 

Coverdale Crescent Estate – Ardwick

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and as it would subsequently transpire, loosely attached Bison concrete wall-frame system panels.

Wythenshawe apart, the City of Manchester admitted that it had 68,000 houses described as “grossly unfit” by 1959. 

webmedia.php

Its solution was to demolish 90,000 dwellings between 1954 and 1976 and to erect 71,000 dwellings by way of high rise flats and to move residents out to newly prescribed “overspill” estates – at Heywood and Langley in the north, Hyde in the east and Worsley in the west.

Most of these displaced people, however, found themselves resettled in tall tower blocks, which, no matter how architecturally innovative, or how improved their facilities, proved disastrous in social terms. 

Manchester 2002

In Coverdale Crescent Ardwick such an architecturally innovative development was built.

The estate, which became known as Fort Ardwick, was a deck access block of 500 homes. Completed in 1972, it was built with the same Bison concrete wall-frame system that had been used in neighbouring Fort Beswick.

By the mid-1980s it was clearly suffering from structural faults. The council employed a private firm of consultants to survey the estate, which found that water was leaking through roofs, steel fixings were corroded and concrete was breaking away. The council had to spend £60,000 immediately to bolt 1,100 panels back on to the building’s internal skin. The city architect, David Johnson, claimed that the report highlighted the rapid deterioration of Fort Ardwick’s fabric.

They said it was shoddy, thrown up, not enough care taken. The concrete panels weren’t made properly – the holes didn’t quite line up. You know what it’s like – you’re putting a flatpack cupboard together and something’s not in the right place but you just bodge it instead of sending it back, starting again, because you want the cupboard up and you’ve got other shit to do.

They had to get these consultants in, after they’d finished, to rebolt all the panels or something , so the whole thing didn’t fall down. Cost a bloody fortune my nan said, and that’s our taxes. And even then the rain got in. They’d put straw between the concrete, which sounds a bit medieval to me, and no-one wants wet straw walls, right? Cockroaches and rats and mould and that.

My nan remembers when they knocked down the terraces. I remember when they knocked down the fort. And maybe they had a point about it being shoddy, because soon as the diggers got their claws in, the whole thing fell to pieces, like it was made out of cardboard and bits of sellotape, not concrete and glass. A fort one week, a pile of rubble the next. No-one wept for it, they say.

I didn’t cry, but I stood at the end of the street and watched the diggers pawing at the walls, ripping the place to bits, our old kitchen wall gone and the cooker and the cupboards and the crap plastic clock just there for everyone to see. Except there was no-one else looking.

Sarah Butler

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 18.25.52

Local MP Gerald Kaufman reported to Parliament in 1974 that, during a conversation with residents, one of them had proclaimed that

“If Labour wins the election, it ought to do two things: abolish the House of Lords, and demolish Fort Ardwick.”

The estate was demolished in the 1980s and the new Coverdale Estate was constructed on the site in 1994.

The House of Lords still stands unabashed by the Thames.

Photo credits H Milligan 1971 LIC and MMU Visual Resource

Park Hill – Sheffield

An estate with a chequered career.

Once a beacon of Modernist design, now a listed concrete grid, in arrested decline, an essay in status and stasis, high above the city of Sheffield.

A handful of former residents of the once acclaimed social housing, cling to the western edge.

Phase one of the Urbansplash redevelopment has carefully coloured in a portion of the eastern corner, then exited, their cladding tucked tightly under their arms.

Impasse.

All tinned up with nowhere to go, to walk the walkways, is to enter a ghost town, where no tumbleweeds tumble. Billy the corporation cleaner is happy to work alone, sweeping the empty spaces.

“Some don’t like working up here, I don’t mind my own company. Even if there was just one resident left, we’d still have to keep the place in order. You’d love my house, it’s an Army Barracks in the centre of town. Wife’s the caretaker, been in her family for three generations.”

billy

This is the second of three visits I have made from across the Pennines.

Mark – “Why are all these photographers coming here from Manchester?”

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 04.57.05

 

“Been here some time, this is the second flat I’ve had, just missed out on one of the new ones though. Had this one nine years. Bloke threw himself off last week, he had a wife kids, parked up and just jumped.”

Take a look around.

DSC_0168

DSC_0071

DSC_0017

DSC_0170

DSC_0175

DSC_0008

DSC_0020

DSC_0116

DSC_0074

DSC_0093

DSC_0029

DSC_0165DSC_0106

DSC_0164

DSC_0101

DSC_0159

DSC_0051

DSC_0091

DSC_0047

DSC_0112

DSC_0145

DSC_0099

DSC_0026

DSC_0140

 

Margate – Car Park

There’s a world going on underground.

At ground level.

Fenced off, rather poorly though.

Not much here to deter even the faint hearted urban explorer.

Find a gap and get in.

Join the taggers and lollygaggers,

Underground.

DSC_0440 copy

DSC_0442 copy

DSC_0450 copy

DSC_0453 copy

DSC_0434 copy

DSC_0430 copy

DSC_0436 copy

DSC_0432 copy

DSC_0451 copy

DSC_0433 copy

DSC_0452 copy

DSC_0439 copy

St Leonards Bulverhythe – Valley of the Lost Ice Cream Vans

Somewhere at the edge of the World ice cream vans go to die, I know I saw them from the train back from Brighton, I just had to go and have a look. I was received warmly by the busy proprietors going busily about their business, readying the working vans for their working day on the coast. It seems they break the invalids up for spares keeping the ageing vehicles on the road for another season – dispensing joy to jolly girls and boys in cornet, tub and lolly form. There is however something inevitably heartbreakingly poignant, seeing the signage fade, in the southern sun, as brambles weave in and out of open window, steering wheel, wheel arch and fridge. Ask not for whom the chimes chime. They chime for you. Nevermore.

DSC_0722 copy

DSC_0706 copy

DSC_0718 copy

DSC_0725 copy

DSC_0709 copy

DSC_0697 copy

DSC_0727 copy

DSC_0732 copy

DSC_0735 copy

DSC_0737 copy

DSC_0736 copy

DSC_0740 copy

DSC_0742 copy

DSC_0749 copy

DSC_0744

DSC_0739 copy

DSC_0728 copy

DSC_0746 copy

Stockport – Postal Sorting Office

What happens to functionalist architecture when it ceases to function?

It ceases to function.

Standing on the A6 in the centre of the town, once home to a warren of postal workers, sorting mail in preparation for the two delivery a day walks. This was a communications hub before they even thought of communications hubs.

The office stands empty, inside the paint slowly peels.

Following changes in working practices the posties now sort their own round, for a single daily delivery. The process has become mechanised, requiring new technologies and an appropriate anonymous architecture, on the edge of town.

The building however, continues to reflect a 70s optimism, monumental – fading, as optimism is apt to do.

An exciting composition of curved tiled volumes and boxy glass and steel modernism, in a delightfully battered brown and cream. Now in the ownership of the Greater Manchester Pension fund, its future would seem, to say the least, uncertain. This whole Grand Central site clustered around the railway station has been subject to a series of speculative leisure developments. As in other locations they seem to fade, just as quickly as the boarded hoardings, shrouded in designers’ digital piazza visualisations.

So we stand and stare at each other lovingly,  our heads in a cloud of municipal stasis.

Inside nothing moves.

DSC_0003 copy

DSC_0004 copy

DSC_0005 copy

DSC_0006 copy

DSC_0007 copy

DSC_0009 copy

DSC_0010 copy

DSC_0011 copy

DSC_0012 copy

DSC_0013 copy

DSC_0014 copy

DSC_0015 copy

DSC_0016 copy

DSC_0017 copy

DSC_0018 copy

Stockport – Post Box

I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to ever last

My heart should be well-schooled
‘Cause I’ve been fooled in the past
But still I fall in love so easily
I fall in love too fast

I fell for you the very first time I saw you – imbedded in the wall of the Postal Sorting Office.

Though now each time I pass by and try my best to look the other way, I’m helpless and hopelessly can’t resist.

But you’re closed – all I can do his stare at your stopped clock.

And wonder what might have been.

It’s twenty three minutes to seven – forever in my heart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zrSoHgAAWo

P1060149 copy

P1060150 copy

P1060151 copy

P1060153 copy

P1060154 copy

P1060155 copy

P1060156 copy

P1060157 copy

P1060158 copy

Huddersfield – Lonsbrough and Ibbotson Flats

The former Richmond flats in Huddersfield have been revamped and are now known as Harold Wilson Court.

The two other blocks sadly have neither been revamped nor renamed after famed local politicos.

Herbert Asquith or Luddite House – take your pick.

They stand by the road unloved and forlorn, tinned up awaiting demolition. Once home to hundreds, the former residents have now been paid out, moved out and hopefully rehoused.

Richmond flats were named after Sidney Richmond, the former Huddersfield Borough Council architect, and were the second of the three blocks currently on the site. The first block opposite was Lonsbrough Flats, named after Anita Lonsbrough, 1960 Olympic Gold medal swimmer and council employee, with the third being the middle block Ibbotson Flats, named after Derek Ibbotson, the Huddersfield athlete who held the world record for running a mile.

The site was obviously more valuable than viable town centre homes – Tesco is a coming

Hurrah.

Go see them, say hello and wave goodbye – they’ll soon be gone.

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/town-centre-tower-blocks-pulled-4927231

Wigan – Rylands Mill

I’m no Urbex man, when all’s said and done, I feel the fear and the weight of the past, I guess I’m just a little too sensitive. So I made cautious ingress into this giant mill complex, always aware of the feet that trod this way in former times and a constant threat of the falling fragile structure.

The surfaces have, since it’s last occupants left, been shaped by intruders, the weather, taggers, blaggers, bloggers and inquisitive teens, I left only hushed footfalls.

We are all now complicit in its history.

– In 1819, Rylands & Sons were established with their seat of operations being in Wigan.

In the course of a few years extensive properties at Wigan, along with dye works and bleach works, were purchased. Valuable seams of coal were afterwards discovered under these properties, and proved a great source of wealth to the purchasers.

The mill was built in 1867, designed by George Woodhouse for John Rylands, one of the area’s largest cotton spinners. The Grade II listed complex includes the former spinning mill, weaving sheds, engine house and chimney, noted for it ornate brickwork.

It has now been acquired by MCR Property Group who are in the process of planning to restore the mill building which will house a mixture of apartments with views over Mesnes Park. The development will also comprise of a number of modern townhouses and office space over four levels.

All current planning applications have been withdrawn, its future remains uncertain.

DSC_0490 copy

DSC_0494 copy

DSC_0491 copy

DSC_0489 copy

DSC_0479 copy

DSC_0477 copy

DSC_0473 copy

DSC_0471 copy

DSC_0467 copy

DSC_0461 copy

DSC_0459 copy

DSC_0456 copy

DSC_0455 copy

DSC_0450 copy

DSC_0443 copy