#261 – Cheadle Bleachworks


For reasons that are, at best unclear, and at worse, downright weird, I have this thing about industrial ruins. Not so ruined that you can’t tell what it was, but ruined enough to be beyond repair. Proper mongy old crap – roofs caved in, doors hanging off and such like. They’re usually quick to explore as there’s not much to see, and quite often mostly inaccessible, but from an aesthetic perspective, they can throw up some interesting photographs.

Cheadle Bleachworks was one of the most ruinous places I’ve stumbled through. The history of it is pretty vague as quite understandably, no-one has been bothered to spend that much time researching it, and it’s a pretty insignificant place anyway.


Not being burdened with much in the way of roofing, the strong directional sunlight shining through the remains of the decrepit structures made for some interesting shadows. I experimented for the first time with selective colour (see the first image), which at the time in 2007 was quite a popular technique. It’s fallen out of favour since somewhat, primarily in my opinion, because like HDR, people either overdid it or used blatantly unsuitable images. I’ve done very few other selective colour images, but I like to think that this one has stood the test of time and still works. It’s certainly done well in competitions.




The site was a fairly unremarkable explore that doesn’t stand out in my memory, other than the crunching of broken glass and roofing material underfoot (which is why I always wear boots or safety shoes on explores), and the drums of unidentified chemicals that had been left / dumped in one of the rooms.


Company records still on site, although slightly singed after someone indulged in a spot of arson.


More records.




Factory floor with one of the surviving roofs.


Light and shadow



Not much left here.


Boilers again.


Despite the apocalyptic devastation, it’s somewhat ironic that this site was bought by a developer who intended to convert some of the buildings to housing.  Mystifying to me as none of the buildings, in my opinion had any architectural merit whatsoever, but kudos to the developer for tackling this site and making a silk purse out of a real sow’s ear.



Hard to imagine, but this is now a rather nice property, complete with a 100 foot tall red brick chimenea in the back yard, a talking point if nothing else.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue Berry says:

    Hi, Is this place still there or has the developer flattened it? Sue


    1. andy says:

      As far as I know, parts of it were demolished, but I don’t know what the current state of it is.


  2. If this is a place by the old hospital (which can be found on my blog) then it’s pretty much been done up.


    1. Sue Berry says:

      Darn it, why do they have to spoil everything! :o)


  3. teigl says:

    Great photos.I love the ones of the boilers with rivets and stencilled lettering. Looks like a fascinating explore. I am of the same opinion about ruins…I even prefer my steam locos rusty!


    1. andy says:

      Thanks Iain! Most explorers hated this place as there wasn’t much to see, but I like apocalyptically ruinous stuff as in decent light they can be very photogenic. And there’s something spectacular about places on the verge of imminent collapse!


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