Daresbury Hall: The Aftermath
Revisiting Daresbury Hall (original gallery: http://www.rikcotterill.com/albums/daresbury-hall/) In early 2015 I visited Daresbury Hall estate for the first time. Built in 1759 the manor was and still is lying derelict within the Cheshire countryside, and my first encounter with the buildings concentrated mostly on its degraded outbuildings and the state that it was left in following its use as an apocalyptic paint-balling exercise. At the time this was the most striking thing about the estate compared to my other explores.
However, recent events have shaped the site into something quite different altogether. Following my first visit I noticed on numerous occasions a glowing light in the groundskeepers bungalow as I drove past at night. Situated next to the manor, I often wondered why an abandoned estate would still have power and furthermore why anyone would be using it. In April the headlines confirmed my suspicions and a dozen police cars were found at the gates scouring the estate for what became the largest Cannabis seizing operation the town has ever seen. Over 600 plants were being maintained as part of a drug operation worth around £1 million.
Police activity was maintained on the site well into the autumn, and once the site had been reclosed I decided to document how the events had effected the site. The area that I decided to avoid on my list visit was ironically the annexed building that the drugs were being grown in. Hundreds of reflective, high power lighting units hooked up to the power lines. The main area had been locked up by the police but evidence of the dwellers could be found in almost every room. The publicity from the events had also caused more vandalism and changes were easy to notice across the estate. The lease car and garage that feature in my previous gallery had been burnt to the ground, and the swimming pool had been scoured for scrap metal. The manor itself is still intact and it is unlikely that it was compromised as it has been locked up for many years.
The future of Daresbury Hall is still up in the air; every year that passes brings its foundations closer to collapse but it would still be a wonderful sight to see the manor restored to its former glory. Especially given the unfortunate circumstances it has unwillingly endured.