Friday, 31 October 2014

Urbex - Norfolk

Another style of photography I love to follow is 'Urbex' (urban exploration). Some photographers go to great lengths to locate and gain access to abandoned buildings, the world over, in order to photograph them. If ever I'm presented with an opportunity, I love to shoot derelict buildings (as long as I'm not breaking any laws).
While working in Norfolk last winter, I drove past this property, and couldn't resist turning the car around to explore. It's known as 'Thursford Castle' although in reality, it was never a castle - it has a far more sinister history. It was a former work-house, and later, a hospital where patients with infectious diseases were quarantined. Not the most cheerful past.
Recently, the property has been granted planning permission to turn it into a residential property, and most of the grounds have been cleared in preparation for renovations to begin, once the site is sold. If I understand correctly, the planning permission retains the derelict chapel, incorporating it into the design.
I explored this site on Halloween, but despite the creepy time of year, much of the atmosphere of this ruin has been lost, as the area has been sanitized. It did feel more like a building plot, than a venue with a troubling past. Having said that, the grounds are surrounded by a wall, which has four small rooms built into each corner. (I think I read that these rooms were once occupied by armed guards, who protected the establishment from potential thieves, who may have attempted to raid the work-house for food, during times of famine). Those four tiny rooms have retained an ominous atmosphere (the small windows to one of these rooms are photographed below), while the rest of the plot is really quite tranquil.
I've no doubt that whoever buys these grounds will end up with a lovely property. Part of me is delighted that the site will be renovated, without deteriorating further, and disappearing into nothing. Although there is also something fascinating about these old, historical buildings, as they gradually crumble. Once it becomes private property, I find it slightly sad that the public (people like me) will no longer be able to gain access to explore its history.

Also nearby is Binham Priory, which has a lovely little modern church built into the ruins of the former priory. Both locations provided a nice photographic opportunity, Norfolk is a very beautiful part of the world.

These photographs are slightly more post-processed than my usual style. I find this particular effect works well for architectural photography (and particularly lends itself to abandoned buildings).

Friday, 24 October 2014


Little Ro spent several months of last year dressed as Spiderman. For many weeks, he refused to wear any other outfit, by day or night. We ended up buying extra identical outfits to allow for laundry.
It was very kind of a local council in Norfolk to foresee his Spiderman obsession when we were visiting, and paint the playground to match his outfit. (Or it may have been coincidence, but I enjoyed the matching colours!)