Tag Archives: ruin

Restoration project

Friday 17th July 2020, 10.35am (day 3,249)

Park House farm, 17/7/20

Bagged my second County Top in a week, a trip that took me through the urban delights of Wigan, which are more extensive than you might imagine. On the outskirts of town resides this ruin, still proudly marked as ‘Park House Farm’ on the map but now mouldering into decay. Urban explorers — catch it now before it is razed/incorporated into a new housing estate/featured on Grand Designs as a restoration project engaged in by those with too much money. It is presently a spooky, melancholy spot.

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Not Wuthering Heights

Saturday 25th April 2020, 12.15pm (day 3,166)

Not Wuthering Heights, 25/4/20

Amongst the points of interest within walking distance of my house (honest, officer), there is this place, Top Withens, which sits way up on the moors overlooking Haworth, former home of the Brontë sisters. The plaque you can see on the wall here reads:

This farmhouse has been associated with ‘Wuthering Heights’, the Earnshaw home in Emily Brontë’s novel. The buildings, even when complete, bore no resemblance to the house she describes, but the setting may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting of the Heights. (This plaque has been placed here in response to many inquiries.)

In other words then, here we have a building that vaguely resembles a place in a novel. And that’s all.

But because popular opinion has it that Top Withens is Wuthering Heights, the structure, though abandoned for more than a hundred years, has been preserved as a ruin.  Left alone it would surely have collapsed by now but the walls are carefully cut and mortared together, as gone or complete, it would not be worth what it is to the Haworth tourist trade as it is in this half-life state.

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The Abbaye de Villers

Tuesday 6th August 2019, 12.40pm (day 2,903)

Villers Abbey, 6/8/19

This abbey was built by the Cistercians in the 12th century and finally abandoned after being sacked by French revolutionaries at the end of the 18th. Much of it is still basically standing, and makes a truly magnificent ruin. Second picture in a row stood somewhere in Belgium and basically pointing the camera upwards; this roof has a kind of space alien look to it, like we are looking up into the mothership at the end of Close Encounters or Independence Day.

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Carmo convent ruins

Wednesday 27th July 2016, 3.00pm (day 1,798)

Carmo convent, 27/7/16

At around 9.30am on 1st November 1755, when most of the population were at Mass, Lisbon was hit by a massive earthquake. The more I hear about this the more it is clear this was one of the most devastating single events in human history. Within a very short time a combination of collapsing buildings, fires, and a tsunami had killed 60,000 people. This building, the former Carmo convent, is one of the few remaining from that date; an attempt was made to rebuild it but not that long afterwards Portugal abolished the monasteries anyway, so it was never finished (or refinished). It now stands as a memorial to 1/11/1755, and the fragility of our existence, or something like that.

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Monument to Corporate Failure, revisited

Wednesday 11th May 2016, 12.45pm (day 1,721)

Monument to Corporate Failure, 11/5/16

A day spent entirely working on campus here in Moscow, so let’s take this opportunity to check in on the slow decay of the Monument to Corporate Failure; a building which fascinates me and has been depicted on here several times before (example). At least fifteen years this has sat here empty, since the Italian company that 90% built it went bust with it uncompleted and no one has subsequently worked out whether they can safely demolish it or not — or perhaps, no one is bothered. Never used, bits of it periodically seem to fall off, but it does have a certain grandeur, in its own pathetic way.

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Old St. Paul’s church, King Cross, Halifax

Saturday 19th July 2014, 10.25am (day 1,059)

Old St. Paul's church, 19/7/14

Two otherwise rock-solid photo opportunities were snatched away from me today by poor weather. My first plan was to do a walk in the Lakes, and even after that was cancelled due to forecast thunderstorms, a 5K run in Halifax which Clare and Joe had planned was also postponed for ‘safety reasons’ (e.g. it would have been a bit wet). Wet it was, so I fell back on this random architectural curiosity, a church that seems to have misplaced most of itself. I assumed as the result of WW2 bombing but apparently it has been like this even longer, since a fire destroyed most of it in 1930. Hardly the best photo I’ve taken — I manage to make it look even wonkier than it already is — but it’ll do.

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Starlings over the West Pier, Brighton

Saturday 5th November 2011, 4.35pm (day 72)

West Pier, 5/11/11

I grew up in the South of England but left 20 years ago and don’t tend to come back if I can help it. This place, however, is the one exception. Sometimes I wish they would swap it with Blackpool – the one carbuncle on the face of the North – then all the really good places would be up there and all the naff places down South, But it’s probably better this way round. However, a warning  – there are plans to build some huge ‘observation tower’ in front of the ruined West Pier. Remember, if there is anything cool and beautiful, someone, somewhere, is planning to fuck it up.

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