Captivating new photo book reveals the hypnotic ‘beauty’ of Britain’s abandoned places


From a rusting Lancashire theme park to mysterious disused farmhouses: Captivating new photo book reveals the hypnotic ‘beauty’ of Britain’s abandoned places

  • In new book Abandoned Britain photographer Simon Sugden gives derelict places ‘a new life’
  • ‘The buildings appear dismal, but are transformed under [his] lens to be evocative,’ says the foreword
  • We learn he sometimes worked in buildings so dusty and vermin-infested he had to wear breathing apparatus

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The mesmerising qualities of decay and neglect are brought to light in these haunting photos.  

They are by Yorkshire-based photographer Simon Sugden, who delved into derelict buildings across the UK and documented his finds in a new tome titled Abandoned Britain, published by Amberley Books. While the buildings he captured have been left empty, ‘often to gently decay and rot’, the publisher notes that ‘a ghostly presence of their previous life remains’.

The fascinating coffee table book offers an ‘evocative’ glimpse into a spread of forgotten places, from a waterless swimming pool in Merseyside to a rusting theme park in Lancashire and from a disused but still fully furnished farmhouse in Yorkshire to an ‘aircraft graveyard’ filled with planes collected by a former Spitfire pilot.

Tim Sanders, from the Royal Photographic Society, penned a foreword for the book in which he outlines some of the obstacles Simon faced when photographing such off-grid spots, pointing out that he sometimes worked in ‘vermin-infested, dusty, guano-soiled environments’ that required him to wear breathing apparatus.

But the toil bore fruit. Sanders adds: ‘I am sure many of the buildings appear dismal and disintegrating at first sight, but they are transformed under Simon’s lens to be evocative and atmospheric. Simon has given these buildings a new life in this book, preserving a tangible visual record for present and future generations.’ 

Scroll down for a sneak peek of 15 images from Simon’s photographic adventures

Simon, who captures the ‘unique beauty’ of deserted buildings and structures in Britain, discovered this waterless pool in an empty spa in Merseyside

In the foreword, Sanders says of Simon's work: 'In short, Simon has given these buildings a new life in this book, preserving a tangible visual record for present and future generations.' Above is a disused university lecture theatre the photographer explored

In the foreword, Sanders says of Simon’s work: ‘In short, Simon has given these buildings a new life in this book, preserving a tangible visual record for present and future generations.’ Above is a disused university lecture theatre the photographer explored

A poignant shot of a bedroom in an empty farmhouse in East Yorkshire - mysteriously left in a state that suggests the owners departed suddenly

A poignant shot of a bedroom in an empty farmhouse in East Yorkshire – mysteriously left in a state that suggests the owners departed suddenly

Simon reveals of this eerie shot only that it was taken in a deserted East Yorkshire farmhouse

Simon reveals of this eerie shot only that it was taken in a deserted East Yorkshire farmhouse

The 'Knightmare' roller coaster in the closed-down Camelot theme park in Chorley, Lancashire

The ‘Knightmare’ roller coaster in the closed-down Camelot theme park in Chorley, Lancashire

Two wrecks of old boats in Fleetwood, a coastal town in Lancashire

Two wrecks of old boats in Fleetwood, a coastal town in Lancashire

In this 'redundant' church in Lancashire, Simon found windows with pieces of glass missing and a bible that had been left behind with 'curled-up pages'

In this ‘redundant’ church in Lancashire, Simon found windows with pieces of glass missing and a bible that had been left behind with ‘curled-up pages’

This shot was captured in an 'aircraft graveyard' filled with planes that were 'once collected by an old Spitfire pilot'

This shot was captured in an ‘aircraft graveyard’ filled with planes that were ‘once collected by an old Spitfire pilot’

An abandoned laboratory that Simon found in Liverpool. He said he 'loved the view of the city beyond in the sunlight'

An abandoned laboratory that Simon found in Liverpool. He said he ‘loved the view of the city beyond in the sunlight’

A black-and-white shot of a 'redundant' church in West Yorkshire

A black-and-white shot of a ‘redundant’ church in West Yorkshire

This picture shows the 'Gothic exterior of an abandoned hospital', reveals Simon, whose work is described in the foreword as part-historical documentation, a record of 'buildings that are facing if not total destruction, then irrevocable changes'

This picture shows the ‘Gothic exterior of an abandoned hospital’, reveals Simon, whose work is described in the foreword as part-historical documentation, a record of ‘buildings that are facing if not total destruction, then irrevocable changes’

An empty pool complete with a slide in a disused sports centre in Bradford, West Yorkshire

An empty pool complete with a slide in a disused sports centre in Bradford, West Yorkshire 

A view over the roof of an abandoned wool mill in West Yorkshire

A view over the roof of an abandoned wool mill in West Yorkshire

Another shot of the abandoned wool mill in West Yorkshire. Simon says this photo is a favourite of his - it shows 'encrusted looms among spots of colour of the discarded bobbins'

Another shot of the abandoned wool mill in West Yorkshire. Simon says this photo is a favourite of his – it shows ‘encrusted looms among spots of colour of the discarded bobbins’

An old mangle, used for squeezing water out of wet laundry, sits rusting in an abandoned North Yorkshire cottage

An old mangle, used for squeezing water out of wet laundry, sits rusting in an abandoned North Yorkshire cottage

Abandoned Britain by Simon Sugden is available to purchase from September 15 for £16.19 via amberley-books.com

Abandoned Britain by Simon Sugden is available to purchase from September 15 for £16.19 via amberley-books.com



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