Tag Archives: urban exploration

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Retired Cornish Miner
In Cornwall, this is an iconic image which never fails to move me. Unfortunately I don’t know who took it, but I found it on http://mysaffronbun.com/2011/11/17/a-bleak-day-at-south-crofty/

I suppose it’s grimly appropriate that, in the week of Margaret Thatcher’s death, I have been out photographing evidence of the decline of tin mining in Cornwall. But if I’m honest, I have no idea whether or not Thatcher had anything to do with the post-industrial landscape of my native county. I should really ask my dad, a former mining engineer, about it all before I go around having opinions on things I know nothing about. So, I’ll refrain from comment, apart from to observe that this area in which I live was once one of the richest places in the land due to the tin that shot through its substratum. You can see for yourself how it has changed in the following images; from thriving industry to dereliction to heritage theme park.

 

Urban Exploration and Redruth Brewery

A month ago it was announced that the chosen site for Cornwall’s new archive and record centre is going to be the now derelict Redruth Brewery premises in the fairly derelict former mining town of the same name. Cornwall Council’s announcement is here.

This could be great news for Redruth (so long as the archive isn’t just going to be a massive temperature controlled cupboard) because it could bring historians and academics and artists and tourists and students to the town. There may be opportunities for all sorts of activities and perhaps will give people a reason to open some new businesses in the potentially beautiful but currently shabby town centre.

A charming way to hide some of Redruth’s main street problems

Shortly before this positive announcement, I had made two visits to the brewery through a hole in a fence; once with spouse and son 2 and once with some excellent friends. I was completely overwhelmed by the place – it’s a fantastic site for photographs and I took many of them. Seeing as the place is going to be changed beyond recognition in the future, I decided to post my photos in here as a record of the state it’s currently in.

The first part of the building you encounter as you clamber through the barbed wire is this:

Presumably this once housed massive vats of Newquay Steam (the brewery’s most popular beer) which stuck up through the roof. The feeling of this space is extraordinary with the brambles and buddleia growing up the white walls towards the light. It feels like some sort of theatre  or religious space, or maybe a gallery.

As you make your way out of the other side  of the building you find a huge courtyard filled with rubble, more buddleia and lined with graffiti.

Following the perimeter fence around, we found a way to climb up inside another part of the building where we wound our way through some huge empty rooms until we found an area that was partially flooded, visually stunning and once again, decorated with graffiti. To give the perpetrators their due, there was some very interesting graffiti  around the site.

More wandering (and wading) led us to what must, due to the preponderance of filing cabinets, have once been offices. More photo fodder.

On the main road side of the site there’s a house that has been burnt out. Some lads we met on our second visit claimed that some Cornish Nationalists had been making bombs in there and had an accident. I am certain this is rubbish, but it makes for good gossip, and there is plenty of Nationalist graffiti on the boards that surround the outside of the site. For example…

And judging by some of the graffiti, the perpetrators are stupid enough to make faulty bombs in a house and burn it down.

The house was an excellent source of atmospheric shots. Here are a few of them.

By FAR my favourite part of the site, however, was the next room I’m going to show you. Clearly someone had been in here before and used it for a film or some sort of art project because we found some fantastic things. Have a look.

I have no idea who made the book within a book and left it there to be found by trespassers, but like so much in life it’s much more interesting not knowing.

Finally, on this first visit, we also found our way into what must once have been the old cinema and the more creative graffitiers had been at work in there too.

We found some more exciting photo opportunities on our second visit, but it’s late and I’m tired so I’ll show you those another day.

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