The Abandoned Pottery

Abandoned pottery

It’s not often I get the chance to do a little urban exploration, so when a friend suggested visiting an abandoned pottery out in the countryside, I leapt at the opportunity. Urban exploration, or “urbex” for short, is the pursuit of exploring and documenting derelict and abandoned places before they succumb to vandalism and the ravages of time. As these places tend to get destroyed and robbed once they become well known, I’m not going to say where it is. Indeed the place has already been trashed in parts and has had quite a few items stollen. The first few bits of graffiti have also popped up in recent months, judging from older photos I’ve seen of the place.

Chaotic barn

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The pottery is made up of several buildings and sheds. All are in a state of chaos with things everywhere. What ever caused this place to shut down and become abandoned obviously happened fairly quickly as it seems no effort was made to sell off stock or machinery. What’s also strange is the abundance of personal property, given this was a business and not a residence. Photographs, birthday cards, decades old newspapers, magazines and all manner of things can be found strewn around. Much of it dating from the 1970s and 80s.

Rusting milk churns

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These old milk churns are rusting away outside the barn you can see above.

Pottery workshop open to the elements

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Several of the pottery’s workshops are missing their rooves and are being overrun by nature, to add to their already dilapidated state. Unfinished pots are everywhere, in some places in piles where shelves have rotted away and collapsed. Some still neatly lie between sheets of deteriorating cardboard where they’ve been patiently waiting to be glazed for decades. It all adds to the impression that after work ended one day, the business closed never to reopen.

Large machinery

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Among the masses of pottery, ferns and general bric-a-brac, are a number of large pieces of vintage looking machinery. One of the workshops even features a Victorian style line shaft system for the distribution of mechanical power to multiple pieces of equipment. The machine shown above is the largest at the pottery. I believe it was used to extract excess water from the clay that was processed at the site. Sitting in front of it is a badly deteriorated, but fascinating looking typewriter.

Ancient typewriter

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Curious piano

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Another interesting discovery was this piano tucked away in a room just off one of the workshops. Why you’d have a piano in a pottery that must have had a lot of very noisy equipment running most of the time, I don’t know. Curiously the fairly grand furniture is sitting against bare breeze block walls. It seems like this part of the building was a late addition to the site, so maybe they ran out of money before it could be plastered? Still it all adds the mystery and intrigue of the place. This room was very dark so it took a rather long exposure to make anything of it. What light it had did have a nice quality to it though. In case you’re wondering, the piano had stopped working.

Ladder in pool of sunshine

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At the front of the pottery was a shop and tearoom area. While this is the most intact part of the site structurally, sadly it’s been pillaged of anything valuable and some louts have pulled most of the furniture from its original positions and littered everything else on to the floor. With all the windows boarded up and the skylights very murky from decades of grime, it’s rather dark inside. A solitary shaft of sunlight nicely lit the ladder you see above. Presumably some intrepid person had used it to look up in the loft area as it didn’t seem like it belonged there. Despite the messy state of the place, lots of interesting personal artefacts were still littered about. Including these political campaign fliers urging you to vote wisely at the local election in May 1980.

Vote wisely for a better future!

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An old menu advises you that the cost of a cup tea and biscuit was a mere 35p, as was a buttered scone. Prices that seem ludicrously cheap in today’s Britain. Previous visitors had clearly made attempts to arrange items to create more visually pleasing photographs and make sense of the jumble. Generally that’s not something that I’d condone, but given the mess this place is in, I can see why people would want to try and bring a little order back. I had to light the shot below with my phone it was so dark!

Tea and biscuits just 35p

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Also inside the shop area I came across this photographic enlarger and a bottle of ‘fixer’. It seems the former occupant also did a bit of photography on the side and must have had a darkroom somewhere. You can see from this shot just what a mess it is inside, along with the mindless graffiti that’s been daubed in several places.

Photographic enlarger and bottle of fixer

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I’ll finish up with this shot of a chair in the clay processing room. There seemed to be a curiously large number of chairs all over the site. All wooden and many missing their bottoms. There’s something about a vacant chair that makes a place feel lonely don’t you think? Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed this photographic exploration of the old pottery. If you’ve enjoyed this post please consider supporting me and the site by buying a print from my store or on Etsy.

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2 thoughts on “The Abandoned Pottery

  1. Very nice, I love this type of urban (or rural) exploration/archaeology. Your site looked reasonably undisturbed,so you were lucky to find it before it had been ruined. In the United States, places like this have usually been looted or vandalized. Sometime, try old-fashioned Tri-X film for this type of subject. Good luck!

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    1. I think due to the location out in the countryside it’s avoided being completely trashed, but it was far from undisturbed unfortunately. All the furniture in the tearoom/shop area had been moved around, every drawer and cupboard had been emptied out and anything valuable taken leaving just bits of paper, ancient white goods and ‘worthless’ personal things around. The workshops had clearly been open to the elements for long enough before anyone found it there was nothing worth stealing, so that’s just in a mess from entropy being at work.

      I don’t shoot film but I do quite like to use film simulations in Lightroom for the toning and colour balance. I know it’s not the same, but for now it’s enough for me 🙂

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