The Lost Chapels

A tiny rural chapel hidden and forgotten in the Welsh countryside. At most this room would have accommodated 20 worshippers including a local priest and an organist. During the 18th century Wales was still an overwhelmingly rural country with a population of little more than 500,000. Before the industrial revolution the vast majority of people here lived and worked off the land in small, disconnected communities. Without the funds or the manpower that more populated areas recieved from their Christian parishes, they had to come together to build their own chapels in order to congregate together for worship. Unlike the 'tin chapels' in one of my previous projects that started appearing around a century later, these were built by hand using mostly granite and slate that has always been in abundance across their country. As religious culture has changed throughout the centuries, only 12% of people in Wales now routinely attend their local churches, and these buildings that once relied on their communities for maintenance have become overgrown and forgotten. The fact that many are still standing however is a testament to the way they were built, in some instances more than two centuries ago.

The Sister Towers

The straining tower at Lake Vyrnwy is an imposing castle-like structure standing 48 metres above sea level with a further 15 metres delving into the water. The lake itself sits in the heart of Wales and supplies Liverpool and its surrounding towns with water, after travelling along a 110km aqueduct which starts at the Straining Tower where any detritus is removed via a mesh filter. Built in 1881 in Gothic-revival architectural style as part of the heroic Vrynwy Dam project, the first of its kind in the world. This was the first of several long-distance water supply schemes in Britain which were vital to urban development in the late-Victorian period. Water was first supplied to Liverpool in 1892, where it eventually finds its way to Norton Water Tower, built in parallel at the same time as its sister tower 70 miles away to act as a balancing reservoir in the process of supplying water to the town of Runcorn and through to Liverpool through a tunnel under the River Mersey.

The system that feeds Norton Water Tower still works exactly as it did 125 years ago, and serves the same purpose despite such an increase in population, making it the largest UK tromboned pressure relief device currently in operation. Both towers were designed by George F. Deacon, the Chief Engineer of the Liverpool Corporation Waterworks Department, are now operated and protected by United Utilities. Standing above the surrounding landscape, Norton Tower has become iconic in the local area, and in 1983 it became recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building. The Straining tower, along with the dam it feeds from, earned its Grade I status exactly 10 years later for its national importance as an outstanding achievement of Victorian water engineering, its exceptional completeness in structure and equipment, and its picturesque qualities.

The Lantern

A grade II listed belvedere sitting to the east of Lyme Hall manor in Northern England. Dated from around the 14th century, the top storey and spire date from about 1580 and originally formed a bellcote on the north gatehouse. It is said that if Lord Legh, the head of the family who once lived through generations at the estate could not see the Lantern from his breakfast table in Lyme Hall then the weather was not suitable for hunting. The building was used for centuries as a vantage point sat high up on the ridge looking over the land. The structure was altered by several families who inherited the estate throughout the years, and although now disused, it has stood the test of time spectacularly and the clear gap in the woods leading to the manor remains.

Walk

Κάστρο

The entrance to the abandoned town high up in the desolate mountains of the North Aegean Islands. We drove gradually upwards for what seemed like hours in the blistering heat without spotting a single other car. Eventually we were welcomed by the silence, the dust and the wild sheep who had replaced people. This town was built as a refuge for natives to hide from pirates and raiders arriving from the surrounding oceans. In other words, it was never meant to be found.

Then & Now

West Riding Paper Lunatic Asylum. 1895 - 2016. The hospital was designed on the broad arrow plan by architect J. Vickers Edwards. The 300 acre estate on which the asylum was built was purchased by the West Riding Justices for £18,000 in 1885 and the large gothic complex of stone buildings was formally opened on 8 October 1888. Now surrounded by an extensive housing development, the asylum was infamous for many unsavoury reasons over the years. The last of which was the case of Jimmy Saville during a series of visits in 1988, the accounts of which have only now been fully realised. In its final years of operation, High Royds had become outdated and unsuited to modern psychiatric practice. This was acknowledged by the chief executive of Leeds Mental Health in 1999 after complaints from consultants about violence and cramped conditions on the wards. The hospital closed for good in 2003.

Prints

Printed using using a Polielectronica Laserlab printer with liquid HP ElectroInk on Fujifilm Pro Crystal Archive Type II Paper. Mounted and framed for display. Many sizes now available. Click the icon above any photo in the gallery to buy now. Delivery available worldwide.

The Great British Defamation

After learning that yet another of the places I've documented has fallen victim to demolition, I went back through some of the images that I haven't yet edited to find this brilliant quote on the wall of the building that no longer exists. We destroy everything which dares to stand still long enough to allow us to stop just for one second, and appreciate what was once there.

T-Minus 10 Seconds

Often resembling a stationary rocket on the horizon, the wind-battered Darwen tower in Lancashire, England was completed in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. For the locals, it also signified their victory for the right to access the moor after an 18 year feud against the Lord of the manor of Over Darwen who had blocked access to the land. The tower can be seen for miles around, exposing it to winds from all directions of the county. In 1947 the original wooden turret on top of the tower was blown off in a gale and was not replaced until 1971 after local fund-raising. Then after more damage in later years the tower was closed to the public for 19 months due to being deemed unsafe for use. A survey in spring 2001 found that the structure had severe decay in the stone decking. To add insult to injury, the tower dome was blown off yet again by strong winds during the winter of 2010. A replacement stainless steel dome made was then winched into place by helicopter in 2012. Whether or not it will last any longer than the previous two remains to be seen.

Spectator Sport

These Georgian baths in northern England have slowly decayed since its doors shut some 8 years ago. All hope was seemingly lost until English Heritage granted it listed status in 2014, putting into motion new plans to restore the building to its former glory. Stories like this are now few and far between; despite the urge to protect this particular buildings architectural quality, far less public baths are so fortunate. The number of swimming centers has dropped by a third in just over two decades, with a growing decline of 10 percent every year. To put it into context, more than half of the country's children under the age of 11 are now said to be unable to swim the length of a traditional 25m pool.

Gloucester Cathedral

The south porch of the spectacular interior corridors of Gloucester cathedral in perpendicular style with it's mesmerising fan-vaulted roof. The choir vaulting is traced over decorated gothic Norman work which dates back to the 11th century. The south transept shown here at the Abbey Church in Gloucester is considered the earliest example of this perpendicular style architecture, dating from 1337. English art and architecture was becoming increasingly insular from the mid 1300's as a result of war with France, thus encouraging new styles and experimentation in church design and decoration. The methods of the Severn Valley school of masons of the early 14th century can be seen in the details of the choir and transepts. This school of masons was particularly creative, and they experimented with a style of surface decoration that created layers upon layers of ground-breaking interior styles and methods right up to the late victorian era when the cathedral was extensively restored by George Gilbert Scott.

Dusk

Exploring the country and the relics it has hidden wouldn't be worth doing without the best assistant you could ever ask for ✌ Taken after a long afternoon wandering in and out of the corridors between hundreds of british rail carriages left unused somewhere in the dusty midlands.

Pembroke Place

The last remnants of the only remaining example of court housing left in Liverpool, and one of the few examples of this housing type that remains in the UK. Court Dwellings were used as a form of high density, low quality housing which became widespread in the city towards the end of the 19th century as the population in the city grew by over 25% in just one decade due to its prosperous maritime industry. The Council built 23 blocks - 445 dwellings in total for 2476 people - to rehouse the displaced population. The insanitary houses were of the back to back type, situated in narrow and ill-ventilated courts, each court containing from ten to twelve houses. The sanitary arrangements were very defective, in many cases one convenience being used by the occupants of five or six houses. Pembroke place is now protected as a vital part of the city's heritage.

The Welsh Presbyterian

The first explore of the year. Built in 1865, the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel was once the tallest building in Liverpool. In 1982, when it was no longer used as a church, it was sold to the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, a religious organisation with headquarters in Nigeria. They ceased to use the church in the 1990s, it became vacant, was vandalised, and became derelict from then on. Having become a crumbling wreck as the elements have set in, it merely holds clues to its former glory throughout the different seasons. As one of the listed buildings in the 'stop the rot' campaign it is waiting desperately for a granted heritage fund but the longer it takes, less and less of this building will be left to preserve.

The Cage

A tower stands on a hill to the east of the approach road to the manor house at Lyme Park in Cheshire. Built around 1580 as a hunting lodge, the ladies of the British nobility could admire the prowess of their menfolk as they hunted stag on the slopes below. If all went well then the tower would become a banqueting hall and feasting and drinking would carry on well into the night. As time went by, the tower was used by the game keeper as his residence and a room in the tower was strengthened and used for locking up poachers that had been caught trying to steal the hare and deer that were both common in the park and said to be of exceptional quality and flavour. Three of the four sides of The Cage have sundials – the north facing side is the exception as it would never receive enough light for it to be effective. All the sundials have inscriptions. The south face reads: “Remember now the creator in the days of thy youth”. The east and west faces are written in Latin and both read: “Live to-day. To-morrow will be less seasonable." During World War II it was used to house young evacuees from Manchester. By all accounts they were made welcome by Thomas Legh, 2nd Baron Newton, who at the ripe old age of 82 gave the estate and the surrounding land including the tower to his son Richard who was to be its final owner. The tower was used by the Home Guard as a vantage point during and shortly after the war, which was the last known civilian use of the tower that now stands proud but unused above the surrounding landscape.

Cueva de los verdes

Spanish for "The Green Caves" are not actually green, but a natural lava tube of the Haria municipality on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The cave lies within the Monumento Natural del Malpaís de La Corona, a protected area, and was created around 3,000 years ago by lava flows erupting from the nearby volcano Monte Corona, flowing across the Malpaís de la Corona toward the sea. The lava streams cooled on top, developing a solid crust, before the lava drained away leaving the top part as the roof of a cave. The caves extend for 3.7 miles above sea level and for another mile below the sea, meaning that the caves are constantly half flooded with many natural lakes holding extremely clear water which are regulated by the Atlantic Ocean. This micro climate is home to a species of blind albino crabs known as 'Jameitos' which can be found nowhere else on earth. These crabs have been adopted as the symbol of the Jameos del Agua.


The Plaza

Another win for British Heritage - The Plaza, Northwich UK. Designed as a cinema by William and Segar Owen, the former cinema was built in 1928, and closed in the late 1960s, becoming a bingo hall before finally closing its doors in 2011 despite earning listed status a decade prior. It lay derelict for several years before a community group, the Northwich Cinema Trust, began a two year project to reopen the Plaza as a community heritage cinema for the town which faced a three year wait for a new Odeon in the centre of the town to open for the public. The group managed to secure a number of seats from the much loved nearby Regal cinema before demolition began in 2013, and thanks to them the Plaza is now officially saved.