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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.

The Wild Woods

Ancient forests once covered almost the entirety of the English landscape from coast to coast. Dense woodland forming a canopy over moss-ridden rock formations where wildlife dominated and small settlements scattered, disconnected from each other. Much of England had been cleared as early as 1000 BC, as the bronze age saw intensive farming on a scale that we are only just beginning to appreciate. Fast forward 3 millennia and almost every inch of the country has now been shaped to suit the needs of modern civilisation. These rare woodlands are one of only a handful left on the isles that remain untouched by man, and therefore serve as brilliant time capsule to our wild, forgotten past.

Greenhouse

When a greenhouse becomes abandoned, it creates an entire microculture of its own. Built in Edwardian times within the grounds of one of Northern England's wealthy estates. Many locals still have memories of it from their childhood; "It held three seperate rooms, each one getting progressively hotter as you passed through. Huge tropical plants and a large fish tank were fed by a constant stream of hot water from large cast iron pipes underneath the shelves. As an indication of wealth, it had exotic plants such as orchids, cacti, ferns and plants whose names most people couldn't even pronounce." After remaining in service to the public after the grounds of the manor became open parkland in the late 19th century, the greenhouse closed in the 1980’s and has remained derelict to this day. The perfect climate allowed for the relentless growth of vegetation that now gives it permanent camouflage.

Eccles Crown Theatre

Opened in 1899 as the Lyceum in Eccles, this iconic theatre was designed as a home for Shakespearian performances. With the advent of popular music it very quickly became home to variety shows changing ownership and names in 1907 when it became the Crown Theatre. In 1932 the 2,500 capacity theatre was converted into a cinema but in 1963 it went the way of many such buildings and became a bingo hall until finally in 1980 a section of the theatre was demolished before closing forever. The site has been closed ever since, having already begun to fall into ruin.

The theatre was listed in 2003 and added to the Theatre's trust at Risk list in 2012. The once stunning proscenium arch inside the theatre depicted Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man but stained glass windows of poets and playwrights installed by the original owner in his bid to educate the poor were removed during a refit several decades ago and sent to America. In 2013 fire crew were called to an arson attack on the building which effected the first and second floor balconies. The Crown is a landmark building in the town of Eccles in a vaguely Elizabethan Style with pilasters and mullioned windows.

The facade is constructed of moulded red brick of five storeys with terracotta dressings to three high arched windows at first floor. It is richly decorated, and has an asymmetrically placed short corner tower. This once had a pyramidal roof and the parapet was topped with square pinnacles. Becoming a cinema in 1932, it was later adapted for Cinemascope, ending stage use. Converted for bingo in 1963, by the late 1980s it was reported to be falling into disrepair internally. The exterior is largely intact, apart from the stage house which has been partly demolished. Planning permission was given in 2005 – and again in 2008 – for partial demolition (retaining the facade) and development of apartments behind. These works have not been started, and the building remains empty and increasingly derelict.

Lighting Up The River

Fireworks display over the central reservation of the Manchester ship canal and River Mersey infront of the Silver Jubilee bridge at the annual event held on Guy Fawkes Day 05/11/16

11/11/11

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - Armistice Day. In a year that has demonstrated the true potential of western democracy, it is more important than ever to remember those who gave their lives to protect it. A lone grave located found at the back of a forgotten church in the heart of Wales reads 'Private John Lewis, 6 Battalion. Welsh Regiment. Died 20/10/1915`. Husband of Mary Jane Lewis, of 8 Pant St, Danycraig, Swansea.

The Minffordd Path

The last light of the day falling behind the peak of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia national park. The natural bowl-shaped mountain was formed by a cirque glacier during the last ice age when snow and ice accumulated in the corries due to avalanches on higher slopes. Over thousands of years ice flowed out through the bowl's opening carving the chair of Cadair Idris. As the glacier eroded the lip down to the bedrock, there are several tear-drop shaped hills above the edge of Llyn Cau lake that boasts crystal clear waters as moisture forms at the peak and rolls down the mountain.

1920 - 2010

Yesterday afternoon was spent mooching around an old special needs school. Opened on behalf of the north Manchester jewish community towards the end of the industrial revolution in 1920, and is remembered as the school with probably the longest name in existence..."The Jewish Fresh Air Home and School for poor inner-city children suffering from malnutrition or asthma caused by smog."

It eventually closed in 2010 as the need for children to have a country retreat away from the gathering pollution of an industrial city was no longer an issue after the regions industrial era had all but come to an end. The community had built a new school within its area of city that meant there was no longer an hours journey to and from the school twice every day. The old school now serves no purpose and has been empty and unused now for over six years. From the outside it is deceptively well kept, but as is always teh case, the weather always find its way inside eventually.

The Water Tower

Opened in 1937 just outside the small yorkshire village of the same name, RAF Church Fenton saw the peak of its activity during the years of the Second World War, when it served within the defence network of fighter bases of the RAF providing protection for the Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Humberside industrial regions. During September 1940 it became home to the first RAF "Eagle squadron" of American volunteers, the No. 71 Squadron RAF flying the Hawker Hurricane I. The airfield was also home to both the first all-Canadian and all-Polish squadrons. As technologies evolved throughout the war, the base was expanded to accommodate large numbers of pilots and aviation personnel, and the first night fighter Operational Training Unit was formed at Church Fenton in 1940.

The expansion period of the RAF saw many building designs and layouts appear throughout the airfield, mostly designed in a Georgian art deco style. With so many personnel on site, one thing the site needed was a self sufficient water system, therefore a large water tower was built toward the west side of the airfield. Clean, treated water was pumped up into the tower, where it's stored in a large tank that might hold a thousand or so gallons—depending on demand. When the site needed water, water pumps situated at the base of the tower utilized the pull of gravity to provide high water pressure.

The other new advance for the period was central heating. These plants heated the contained water and distributed it around the permanent camp to supply a steady, reliable source of heat throughout the seasons. The Pelapone Engine and Pumps have been left behind after many years of disuse but remain in relatively good condition due to their protection from the weather.

If D-Day Were To Fail

The famous 'Mulberry harbours' were temporary portable harbours developed by the British during World War II to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha and Gold Beach. They are now praised as one of the greatest engineering feats of the entire second world war. 

One of the industrial companies involved in the production of the harbours were Carr Bros Ltd, and Talbot Bros Ltd of Rotherhithe, London. A strategically placed residential area of the capital used as an industrial harbour, it was linked to the canals across the country via the thames. During WW2 Rotherhithe was an overwhelmingly maritime district and its main industry was ship making, repairing and breaking. Their factories closed not long after the war, but throughout the UK evidence of their waterborne defences can still be found. The majority of which are most likely at the bottom of our river beds, but some have become quite literally part of the landscape in the 70 years since their function was ever conceived. 

At the opposite end of the country, the Manchester Ship canal, built during the 19th century, was and still is the most direct and reliable method of reaching the city of Manchester from the mouth of the Irish Sea at Liverpool. The brilliant ingenuity of the British navy engineers during the production of Mulberry Harbour lead to the same idea being applied on a smaller and defensive scale around Britain's many estuaries, rivers and canals in apprehension of a possible German invasion in the event of a defeat in Europe. 

The homeguard worked tirelessly during the peak times of the war to ensure that precautions were in place to defend mainland Britain if the Germans pushed back the allied troops during the liberation of France into occupied Europe. Industrial production was running at full capacity and Manchester was one of the main districts in the north of England that held indispensable defences against the Germans, and with Liverpool in battered ruin from the blitz, the factories and emplacements in Manchester would be the first to be targeted in the event of an invasion on the western coast of the country. 

With the Manchester Ship Canal the only direct way to reach the city by water, four concrete barges were transported from London to a key point on the canal half way between the two cities in Warrington, at a point where the water flows inland for a quarter of a mile hidden behind farmland making them hard to spot from the air. If D-Day failed and the Nazi invasion were to take place, the homeguard planned to move the barges directly into the ship canal and intentionally fill their cargo holds with water. Effectively turning them into concrete boulders, this would prevent any ships from reaching their destination.

Despite their precautions, a home defence operation was never required and D-Day led to the liberation of Central Europe. The barges were forgotten and eventually eroded causing them to fill with water and sink into the shallows at the side of the canal. Whilst the overgrowth has consumed them for over 7 decades they are still incredibly well preserved and would take an ambitious operation to move, so they remain part of the surrounding farmland. The town of Warrington and neighbouring district of Trafford now have very few remnants left from the war effort after having seen extensive regeneration into the 21st century, but the barges still serve as a brilliant hidden reminder of how close we once came to war on our doorstep, and they will likely be here for many years still to come.