Documentary Photography: Abandonment, assignment (Five) OCA, Photography Two: Documentary barry511915 Personal Project.


Oakwood mill Stavely lane Millbrook Stalybridge

Oakwood, mill partly collapsed, the mill had been neglected as it was a listed building and the cost of repairs was very high. The mill had been robbed of some stone, and the roof was also partly gone the rain got in and filled the floors with water. February 2018 the freezing weather caused a build-up of ice and causing the floors to collapse.

” Built as a specialised spinning mill, it is no longer is use and is derelict. It is in millstone grit, and had Welsh slate roofs. There are two ranges at right angles, forming a U-shaped plan. The south range, a warehouse, had three storeys, and sides of 19 and four bays, and the north range, the mill, had four storeys and sides of 28 and six bays. There is an embattled clock tower and a chimney.[53][54] ”  (( )accessed 01/05/19

Oakwood mill

Inside Oakwood mill

Further inside the darker, it gets


The Buts is part of a rifle range last used in 1945 by the Cheshire Regiment. The Regiment had a Barracks in the Town of Ashton Under Line. the staff were mainly clerical staff sorting out the soldiers’ wages and things of that nature. As we were at war at the time every able-bodied man had to learn how to shoot.

(Information obtained from Trevor Thornycroft age 85, Range House Stalybridge)

The old Power Station buildings below, the power station at Stalybridge was opened in 1926 by the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Transport and Electricity board. The station was closed on the 29 of October 1979. Most of the power station was demolished in the 1980s, but some building still remains. (

Old power station buildings below



This is an old warehouse that is positioned near the old railway that used to supply the power station the warehouse was built approximately 1800 and is a listed building and as a consequence has fallen to a state of dilapidation (


The sidings

In these buildings, old steam engines were stored and maintained the engines supplied the power station with cole. When I was very young my mother told me that after the war people used to walk along the railway and collect the cole that had fallen from the wagons



Entering Abandoned buildings is likely to be illegal because in the UK there are trespass laws that prevent you from entering land or property. Still, if you take the view the law is not going to be followed up just for someone having a look and maybe taking a few pictures, then that is up to you to assess and decide if you should take the risk. What I would say is if the building is not secured and is open to the elements reasonably easy to excess is of some interest to the local area and would benefit from some pictures being taken. I personally would take the risk. Finding the owner to obtain permission would be the legal way to go, And the only way you should gain entry if the property is all locked otherwise you would be committing the crime of breaking an entry. Much more serious offence than simple trespass.

Exploring abandoned building is exciting and has a certain appeal, most people will know that its probably not legal, but that is part of the appeal even more so if the building has some sort of intriguing history. Most people that go urban exploring are in it for the excitement and the striking Images they make. The interest generated by the Images, some would say out weights the risk of a fine for trespassing or injury, they don’t consider death as a possibility, but it is a real concern as people have died.    On the other hand, why do people climb mountains?


Feedback for the original assignment 5, see below 5.Barry-Senior

I found my first choice for this assignment People of Stalybridge that lived in the area called Castle Hall, challenging to get to grips with it was challenging to get enough information from the people in the street. Although very lovely they found it difficult talking to a stranger about there past relatives.  I also found it difficult to find the right approach to ask questions. I needed to collect some personal information for the assignment, I had to first convince them to let me take their picture, ask questions and at the same time try and write down there answers, by this time they just wanted to leave and get on with there one agenda.

My next choice of assignment Abandonment of Property as seen above.

I decided a change of subject was necessary not just for the convenience of not having to approach people, but my work was also calling more on my time. I went for a complete change and although I failed to discuss it with my tutor I hope he will understand. The subject was the abandonment of property touching on urban photography and some of the aspects and dangers surrounding the Urban explore. This was more up my street as I like getting up to mischief even though I am now getting on a bit I still feel I can and want to if needed. My first pictures were Bukton castle and the quarry, this is a feat in its self as it is a steep climb, a very large steep hill but a good feeling when you reach the top it takes about an hour to climb. I was hoping to find an awesome view of the quarry, but it was smaller than I remembered, It’s still big though.

While working on the assignment and after having some feedback from my tutor, reluctantly I have decided to remove the section and images relating to Buckton Castle has mentioned above. I decided the images didn’t flow with the rest of the pictures, I say reluctantly because the took at least half a day to make the image counting all the hill walking involved, and as I reflect on my work as I edit and rethink the layout I do think it is the right decision, after all the images can still be seen below so not lost completely.

Getting into the mill was a little more challenging and a little bit dangerous, but the only thing I left was footprints. Getting into these buildings is fun, and I can see why some people do more of it. Going in the dark as some would be very dangerous and not recommended. The building I entered was reasonably accessible only an odd broken fence to get through. Getting out and about with the camera and entering the buildings was fun and in all, I found the assignment enjoyable.

What I learned from my first attempt at the assignment is, when taking on a project that seems relatively straight forward, that is not always the case. Subjects can grow into something big and get out of control if I had continued on my original path the assignment would have become a monster. I know I couldn’t control, to give it justice I would have needed a considerable amount of time.

The images of the power station I think have the strongest shots some of them remind me of the walking dead or images you would find in a shooting game. It is strange but the graffiti adds a lot to this type of image, it lets you know people come and go it changes an image and adds to its appeal with clour and grittiness in this context people just want to view them for reasons only known to them.

With my Images, I have tried to convey a sense of loss for the buildings and disappointment in a system that allows the buildings that are deemed to be of importance, listed as historical value, have been left to dilapidate into a state of no return. While chatting to my tutor in the feedback session, he pointed out that he thought the mixed format of the images i.e. landscape and portrait didn’t flow and suggested changing the portrait ones for landscape images. I have taken this on board and changed all but one to landscape format, and as I am reflecting on the assignment, I think it only fair to reflect on the feedback, while I agree with him as far as the flow is concerned, I don’t necessarily agree that it was necessary to change the pictures just for the sake of flow, as each Images is viewed individually on the screen. He probably was thinking about the assessment team when talking about flow, and ease of viewing. He pointed out that he thought I had some stronger images in my contact sheets than some of the ones I had used; I had a reshuffle and change the images for stronger ones. The only image that is in portrait format is the header image, I felt that it was a strong image and would stand the contradiction of being in portrait format Chris my tutor also pointed out the image as being useable.  I needed one or two landscape shots of the doors that were in portrait format but unfortunately, I had failed to take any, but the mill was not far away. Arriving at the mill I gained access to the grounds but the entrance fenced off. Luckily there was a small window with the board missing I got in retook some shots and made my escape. I will remember this in the future and make sure I take both format shots.

My abandonment assignment is small but informative something that could be of interest to some. I enjoyed doing it and would do some urban exploring in the future if an exciting place came to my attention that would have the prospect of getting some good images.


Images below changed for different ones, some after feedback, and others because as I started editing the images I realised that some were out of context and didn’t flow as I thought they should. I have reflected on the reasons why.   


Buckton quarry although not abandoned at the moment it has been in the past for several years and will be again as there is very little stone left to quarry due to limitations on how far back they can quarry. The quarry has been closed on several occasions, the villagers have campaigned to make the quarry companies put restrictions on times that the trucks can drive through the village. The time restrictions cause a financial burden on the quarry companies as they need to make their money in a shorter working day. At the moment the quarry is being used as a stone storage yard. This has led to increased traffic through the village. And now again the villagers are campaigning to get it stopped.


Buckton Castle

Buckton Castle is situated in the town of Stalybridge in an aria Called Carbrook. It was thought to be a small hill fort of little importance and Abandoned for almost 900 years. “Excavating the site, a team from the University of Manchester Field Archaeology Centre expected to find an earthwork of little importance.

But what they found left the archaeologists stunned: a ‘massive’ stone outer wall, 2.8 metres wide, indicating that Buckton was a castle on the scale of Beeston Castle near Chester.

“The discovery of a high ranking castle in England is a tremendously rare event – and was definitely not what we were expecting,” said Director Mike Nevell.” (( Accessed 23/04/19)

The castle is not visible to the untrained eye and is entirely covered by peat and grass the defences on the north side are still recognisable, see below.

The castle defences

I have removed this picture of the police station, as it isn’t really urban exploring. I decided it was out of context with the rest of the images it would have been different if I could have gained excess.

Below is Stalybridge police station built-in 1968. The station was closed in 2005, it is now falling into a state of disrepair. Planning has been put forward to turn the station into apartments, but the request was rejected as the application contained very little information on various matters. The information was needed as the building is in a conservation area, even information for refuge disposal and collection and any information on carbon emissions were missing from the report.

The police station from the rear looking up from the river Tame


Nature is slowly taking over an old waterboard cottage on the river tame





The old cole conveyor  below

The conveyor delivered cole to the power station from the railway siding, the sidings could hold130 12-ton wagons. The conveyor has been left partly un demolished since the 80s. Pieces of the conveyor do fall off occasionally on to or very near the footpath below.


Contact Sheet


The assignment below was scrapped because In the limited time I had and the difficulty in finding and obtaining information about the people and their relatives was very difficult so I have decided to move on to a different subject. See the new Assignment five above.  

OCA Photography Two: Documentary barry511915 Assignment Five Personal Project

For this assignment, I have decided to do a project of the people of Stalybridge, but only those that have relatives that worked in the cotton mills of the nineteenth and twentieth century a sort of a nod to the relatives of the people that still live in the town, I wanted to concentrate on people that lived up Castle Hall as this was one of the first areas that had mill workers homes

I have had to approach people in the street and ask the question about there past relatives and if they worked in the cotton mills and lived in the up  Castle Hall as we say around here.

Below, John Schofield. He and some of his family worked at Copley Mill a weaving mill in Stalybridge.

Mr Cooper, An engineer. His mother worked as a weaver.

Celestino Senior, His Grandmother was brought up in Castle hall, worked at Bottomly cotton mill, and his Grate Grandmother worked as a weaver and ran several looms at once.

Maria from the flower shop, she wasn’t sure where but she says several of her family worked in the cotton mills in Stalybridge.


The plaque below in on the wall of what used to be a pub famous for its name in the area of Castle Hall



I found my choice for this assignment difficult to get to grips with it was difficult to get enough information from the people in the street, and although very nice they found it difficult talking to a stranger about there past relatives.  I also found it difficult to find the right way to ask the questions I needed to get the information I wanted for this assignment, I had to first convince them to let me take their picture to ask questions and at the same time try and write down there answers, by this time they just wanted to leave and get on with there own things.

Contact sheet


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