Here I am in this instance on Tyneside exploring the labyrinthine netherworlds.
The industry to the east has gone west – no more bees and alligators, instead there’s Tesco and Porsche.
Why make when you can buy?
Meadow Mill has long since ceased to spin and weave – currently undergoing adaptation into modern residential living.
I though, have always been fascinated by the rough ground that now seems so left behind.
Where once I found a weathered book of lost photographs.
This is a scarred and neglected landscape, even the developer’s sign has given up the ghost.
There are brambles, buddleia, rough grass and teasels amongst the rubble.
The remnants of roads, kerbed and tarred, strewn with hastily dumped detritus.
Puddled and forlorn.
Enter beneath the M60, where the Tame and Goyt conjoin to become the Mersey, a dimly lit passage home to the itinerant aerosol artistes.
All that remains of the long gone mills – the concrete base.
Detritus tipped and strewn, amongst the moss.
The remnants of roads going nowhere.
Surrounded by cars going nowhere.
Contemporary architecture creating cavernous canyons.
A landscape forever changing, caught between expectation and fulfilment, paradise forever postponed.
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light.
All that is solid melts into air as Marx and Marshall Berman told us.
Though remnants remain – this is a short journey through a hole in fence, down into the warren of power station offices past.
They have been stripped of their former use and meaning, transformed into a transitory art performance space, paint and plaster now peeling, appealing to the passing painter, partially reclaimed by nature.
Let’s tag along:
I’ve been here before in search of a bus shelter.
I’m back here to day in search of an abandoned control centre at the long gone Hartshead Power Station.
The station was opened in 1926 by the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Transport and Electricity Board.
The station was closed on 29 October 1979 with a generating capacity of 64 megawatts. It was demolished during the late 1980s, although part of the site is still used as an electrical substation.
First glimpsed on an urban exploration site, I had awaited an opportunity to slip through the fence and take a look around – here’s what I found.
Most of the valuable equipment stripped out leaving and empty shell, covered in layers of the taggers’ interventions.
He reached the foot of the embankment, and waved with one arm, shouting at the few cars moving along the westbound carriageway. None of the drivers could see him, let alone hear his dry-throated croak, and Maitland stopped, conserving his strength. He tried to climb the embankment, but within a few steps collapsed in a heap on the muddy slope.
Deliberately, he turned his back to the motorway and for the first time began to inspect the island.
Maitland, poor man, you’re marooned here like Crusoe – If you don’t look out you’ll be beached here for ever. He had spoken no more than the truth. This patch of abandoned ground left over at the junction of three motorway routes was literally a deserted island.
JG Ballard Concrete Island
I’m in a different place – the same but different, whilst out walking I went through an open gate, following a well worn path, for the very first time.
Leading who knows where.
The confluence of three rivers, the meeting of motorway and main road.
I ventured further – where if anywhere are we going?
This tight tree lined and paint daubed triangle offers no answers.
Tamed thirty years or so ago, with concrete and steel.
Further and further.
Into an underground world.
Through the railings and into a void – a void that had become home to the otherwise engaged, seeking solace somewhere, finding shelter from the storm. A storm of Twenty First Century austerity, man made – moving money around until those without are out, out in the open, nowhere else to go but here.
How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.
William C. Faulkner
I’m walking, yes indeed I’m walking – I’m walking the Mancunian Way.
Previously posted as historical journey – this, as they say, is the real deal, one foot after another, one sunny afternoon in September.
From east to west and back again – in or on, under and around our very own Highway in the Sky.
Part of the ever changing patchwork of demolition and development which defines the modern city. The carriageway prevails, whilst the pervasive rise and fall continues apace, its forlorn pedestrian underpasses may soon be superseded by wider walkways.
Manchester City Council is spending around £10million to make major changes to the junction where Princess Road meets the Mancunian Way and Medlock Street.
Much to the chagrin of local residents, who value the solace of their sole soulful green space and the frequent users, passing under the constant waves of sooty traffic.
What you see is what you get today, tomorrow is another kettle of concrete, trees, traffic and steel.
Early one morning – just as the sun was rising.
I took to the sunny Sunday October streets of Sheffield, bound I knew not where.
In search of something and nothing, which I possibly never ever found.
Following secret signs, symbols and words, doors and gates shut in my face.
Before I knew it I was back where I started.
This is a journey through time and space by bicycle, around the rugged, ragged streets of East Manchester.
Undertaken on Sunday September 2nd 2018.
This is type travel – the search for words and their meanings in an ever changing world.
Devonshire Street North
Former Ardwick Cemetery
Great Universal Stores former mail order giant
The River Inn abandoned pub
All Souls Church – listed yet unloved
Pollard Street East
The Bank Of England abandoned pub
Ancoats Works former engineering company
The Lunchbox Café Holt Town
Upper Helena Street
The last remnants of industrial activity
The little that remains of Raffles Mill
Old Mill Street
Ancoats Dispensary loved listed and still awaiting resuscitation
New life New Islington
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth passed by in 1942
Former School the stone plaque applied to a newer building
The last of the few Blossom Motors
Former fruit merchants – refurbished and home to the SLG creative agency
Marshall Street and Goulden Street area
The last remnants of the rag trade
All that’s left of Alexandra Place
Entrance to the former Goods Yard
Back St Georges Road
Where once the CWS loomed large
Soft wind blowing the smell of sweet roses to each and every one,
Happy to be on an island in the sun.
An island in Wakefield.
An Island in a sea of dual-carriageways.
Sixties built municipal modernism, hovering on slim stilts above the ground level carpark, complete with pierced brick screen.
The future was bright the future was red – for a short while.
Over the horizon came Sir Ian Kinloch MacGregor KBE.
Lady Thatcher said:
He brought a breath of fresh air to British industry.
The fifth horseman of the industrial apocalypse – bringing pit-closure, redundancy the deindustrialisation of a whole area.
Offices and citizens are tinned-up, brassed-off and abandoned.
This is now the architecture of civic optimism eagerly awaiting repurposing.
There is talk of conversion to housing, talk is cheap.
A planning application has been drawn up requesting permission to change the use of Chantry House from offices to one and two bedroom residential units. The application has been submitted by The Freshwater Group, the development arm of Watermark Retirement Communities.
Currently home to the determined, hardened daytime drinker, street-artist and curious passerby.
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,