When I was a child, I used to hang out out with my friends in a run down, derelict, Victorian Gothic Manor, at the bottom of our road, it was great, it was really easy to get into, the gates were long gone, the entrance was over a bridge and the driveway went all round the property and was covered with red gravel, great for skidding bicycles on. The building was magnificent, resplendent with gargoyles and lead paned mullioned windows, we easily found a way in and we spent many happy hours there, playing hide and seek, learning to smoke and playing kiss chase.
The building was owned by an absentee owner who was planning on doing the place up, it had originally been the home of a wealthy family and then was a junior school for a girls boarding school, in fact when we played amongst it's walls it still had dormitory's, with the original iron beds in it, a gym complete with climbing bars and ropes and a stagnant swimming pool, from which we collected frog spawn to take home and nurture tadpoles.
Sadly the absentee owner decided it was too costly to do up he sold it to a property developer, the original building was knocked down and was replaced by twenty smart houses, marketed to upwardly mobile folk, rebuilt from the freshly sandblasted Yorkshire stone, purloined from the original building and all with smart little gardens in a lovely setting with a gated entrance, over an imposing bridge.
In Space Locations
I am sure this story resonates with many, there is just something wonderful about old, derelict properties, especially for children, maybe it's fairy tales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' or books along the lines of 'The Secret Garden' that gives us an inbuilt sense of romance and nostalgia for old property. Whatever it is I still possess it. I have been into some horrors accompanied by friends, relatives and estate agents who think I am clearly mad but I love old, derelict properties and always long to breathe new life into them on a sympathetic level, unfortunately, dreams cannot always be realised and head overules heart, words like 'money pit' and 'bankruptcy' come to the surface, snapping you back to reality and away from the dream.
I am satisfied that I have had the opportunity to do a few up on a modest level and I take my hat off to individuals, organisations and charities who do things up on a major level, saving beautiful buildings from destruction or decay from the elements of nature and preserving them for future generations to enjoy.
Still there is so much beauty in a building in peril, it's like they are crying out to be brought back to life.
In Space Locations
All the following photographs were taken by the wonderful Michael Eastman, all shot in Cuba.
To see more of Michael Eastmans work go here.