A more stable role at work meant I had more time to focus on photography and an opportunity fell into my lap – a commission from a PR company working for O2 who wanted to use me for a job. I also revisited two sites from a few years back, visited a re-opened Mancunian cotton mill and explored the industrial landscape of East Lancashire.
Brierfield Mills – February 2016
The mills were just about to be refurbished after standing empty for a few years so I got to see them just in time – if I’d turned up a week later I wouldn’t have got on site. Photographing 400000 sq ft of nowt wasn’t easy but I got a few decent pictures. Much of the mills have been refurbished and are in use as offices and a leisure centre, but the main mill building is still being worked on as of now.
Rossendale Mills – February 2016
These pictures turned out better than I expected and different to how I intended as I wanted to capture the scene on a foggy day. The blanket of fog that covered Lancashire when I left work was just beginning to lift 20 minutes later when I arrived here, but the light made for much better photographs in the end. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed of this scene since the photographs were taken.
London Road Fire Station – March 2016
“Would you be interested in taking some pictures to promote the low light capabilities of the Samsung S& phone? We’ll pay you!” Let me think, about this yes I’d love to. And so started the story of my first commission. A wonderful opportunity that paid for my Nikon D810 and really opened my eyes as to how good mobile phone cameras had become. I could have spent all day here, but we had to catch a train to London to visit another site (which didn’t work out), however I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity. The site is now clad in scaffolding and is being refurbished although work has only really started recently. https://alliedlondon.com/development/london-road-fire-station/
Crossness Pumping Station – March 2016
Day two of my Samsung S7 commission, and another trip to London after the abortive first visit. We visited a few palces, but this was undeubtdly the pick of the bunch. I’d wanted to visit here for some time, but it’s along way to go for the day from Lancashire – but if someone else is paying for the train journey, then that’s fine. somewhere else I could easily have spent the day but 3 hours was enough, as getting across London and back up north on a Friday evening can take a while.
Chatterley Whitfield – September 2016
I’d first visited here on the 2007 Heritage Open Day, and really liked the place. Fast forward nine years and nothing had changed except it was all a little bit rustier and we could go in any of the buildings. That was a shame but I’m glad I had the opportunity first time round, and we did see more of the site than last time, I also took the opportunity to climb up the old slag heap adjacent to the mine to get a view across the site.
English Fine Cottons – October 2016
I’d heard about this cotton mill re-opening a while back and had kept my eyes on their social media as I’d heard they were allowing visits. Lo and behold something came up so I went along. It was really interesting and had a very modern – almost clinical – feel to the place and it felt more like a modern engineering works that I visit in my day job than a cotton mill. From what I can see, the company is going from strength to strength – more machinery was installed in 2018 and the company have moved into selling their own range of British made clothing and bedding. A truly impressive success story.
Grove Rake – December 2016
I’d heard rumours that the owners of the site head cleared the remaining buildings and were looking to demolish the head frame. So I took a day off and headed north to the bleak County Durham moorland. With only the headframe left there was less to explore so I spent more time photographing it in the landscape and got some very different photographs from last time. in the end, it wasn’t demolished – a local campaign to save it successfully raised enough money to buy it and it’s still there rusting away, albeit behind a herras fence.