Sunday, October 24, 2021

If Walls Could Talk; An Urban Safari

I had quite a major falling out with my pc earlier after spending a good chunk of my morning downloading and editing photos (there are many more still to do), uploading them and writing this week's blog - being careful to save throughout - only to knock a key on the keyboard and lose the whole blog in a nano second.  I have no explanation for this, other than a gremlin in the computer.  It's a sign Halloween is closing in.

So, here's my second attempt.  Forgive me if it's lighter in written content - I'm hoping the photos will speak for themselves.  

Last week I received an invitation to go on an urban exploration, which I seized with both hands.  Whilst I love nature and landscape photography, I have another side.  I adore urban decay.  I often bemoan the fact that our local council seems content to allow nature to reclaim many of our handsome buildings or even worse, sanction their demolition, whilst giving developers the green light to throw up featureless, soulless boxes, but that's another matter.  The reason I don't do this is simple.  I'm easily spooked.  There's safety in numbers, so I wasn't going to turn down the chance to join Ian and Jay on an urban safari.

The outing was both thrilling and terrifying.  There were photo opportunities at every turn, but on one occasion, I briefly lost sight and sound of the others and spotted a figure moving swiftly through the undergrowth outside.  Suddenly I was featuring in my very own horror movie...and would soon become the first victim of the piece - and that's why I don't go solo.

So let's kick off with some photos of Black Country abandonment.  Inside the cavernous building with multiple corridors and rooms, access to the open plan top floor was by stairs or lift.  Needless to say I took the stairs.

As we moved silently along dimly lit passageways, almost every available surface had been decorated by local graffiti artists.

Had the sun been shining, the shafts of light would have been incredible, beaming in through broken windows and roof joists.

The combined textures of floor rubble, brickwork, peeling plaster and rusty steel stairwell hand rail were a gift and Jay's silhouette in the doorway elevated the photo to the optimum level of creepiness.


My favourite walls were those daubed with poetic verse in Black Country dialect and accordingly, I will leave the last words to this unknown Black Country poet.  

We'm ghosts haunted by place ay we?
Doomed to roam these these hollowed out halls.
Dispossessed by spirits and burnt offerings,
We scatter ruin (sic) stones before deep-rooted idols...
Craft their names on the skin of owd factory walls.

If that doesn't get you in the mood for All Hallows' Eve, then I don't know what will.


  1. I once lost a whole blog post draft in a similar way, so I'm definitely hearing you! Glad your second attempt worked out. Phew!
    Urban exploration is something that has always appealed to me, and I would have jumped at that invitation too. I got the shivers reading about that spooky episode though!
    Your photos are fabulously atmospheric as always, and I love the poem. xxx

  2. Thanks Ann. I could almost hear my heart thumping at me point. It was utterly fascinating though and quite surreal. I think some of the photos would have benefitted from the use of a flash however. xxx

  3. Hello Claire, I work in IT for all my sins, and 'Witchcraftery' is a valid known fault / cause when officially signing off jobs.

    Your bravery paid off and your urban decay pictures are incredible. Have you seen the film Session 9? I have always to be too terrified to venture near any old mental asylums, though I did go through a phase of exploring old docklands and warehouses. That Black Country poem is just brilliant isn't it!

    Thank you, your photography and expedition have got me in a spooky, horror mood ready for the Hallow's Eve. Lulu xXx

    1. Hi Lulu, I haven’t seen Session 9 but have just Googled it and I must remedy that! I would attribute everything to witchcraftery if I was allowed anywhere near IT - I think I find that more intimidating than derelict buildings! xxx



It's been a curious week of unexpected connections, conversations, sights and sounds, underpinned in some shape or form by panic. I was ...