Oldham: Mills and moors
04/06/17Oldham and the surrounding areas have suffered a great deal over the last ten years, I work just outside the town centre towards Ashton Under Lyne and I see a great deal of poverty here, the town has somehow been left out of the regeneration game, and although there are some pockets of gentrification, there are an amazing number of dilapidated mills and factories still about. One in particular, Hartford Mill still stands, albeit derelict and sinister ( which are the qualities that attract me to these places in the first place ). I am no "urbexer" and have no interest in breaking into places (unless the gate is open or gone even! ), I will leave that to those who are far more adept at that kind of thing( and some are excellent it must be said ) - but Hartford is surprisingly easy to visit and photograph, once you negotiate your way across hundreds of tons of ripped-out interior fixtures and fittings which have been unceremoniously dumped out the front. The interior is on many floors and I climbed a few of these in search of an interesting view. The silence was deafening as I stood there alone with a camera, tripod and a quest.
The harsh early afternoon sun was blasting its way through the west windows against the crumbling iron supports and reminded me of a nightmare scene from a Thomas Ligotti story, like an iron forest bathed in the distance by an apocalyptic blast of white light - wonderful, I have always had a very vivid imagination and an eye for the strange and out-of-kilter, I have always believed this helps me with my final vision in print.. I love to use photography as a kind of exorcism, attempting to extricate the things in my head into the final photograph where they can reside without doing any harm... ( depends of the viewer of course! ).
Hartford still has it's toilet blocks, it's beautiful circular windows on the stairwells, and it's empty lift shafts which plummet into the bowels of hell.
If you want to visit, I would recommend you do before this magnificent edifice is demolished to make way for soul-less apartments for soul-less inhabitants....