Category: Worcester


The Willis Cinderella Shoes business started 1n 1848,  and appears to have occupied this site since 1876.  In the 1960’s the business was taken over by Great Universal Stores (Gus), but the factory was closed in 1976 when Gus pulled out of shoe manufacture.

In a 1948 commercial brochure on Worcester, the business is noted as

“The Company is jealous of its reputation for the quality of its productions, being concerned only in the making of high class footwear, covering a compehensive range of Ladies’ Walking, Sports, and Hand Turned Shoes. Recreational facilities in the form of football, cricket, tennis and bowls are enjoyed in ideal surroudings. ……. The Sports Ground, which adjoins the Factory, being one of the finest in the country.”

Most of the factory has been pulled down, however the frontage and what I guess may have been offices remain,2 stories tall.

The most ineresting rooms was near the locked front door;  remains of a tiled wooden floor differentiates the room from the other, bare tiled remains, and the grand fireplace, now in pieces and tidily piled in a corner suggest this was a room of importance, maybe a room for meeting customers or senior management.

Leaving the factory, I walked across a wasteland 200m to the sports ground.  I remember winning my fist cup final here about 17 years ago, and watching a game of cricket on the same field.

A few miutesonline research highlights why the old Pavilion still stands;  I think that thegroud will need a good mow before a player like WG Grace or the Australian team will consider revisiting.  It is not possible to get inside the Pavilion, but outside there is the groundsman’s hut, full of paint and equipment needed to maintain the pitches; left like he walked out, forgetting to come back.

By the cricket pitch, almost lost in brambles, you can still see a scorers hut; it is tempting to go back with some chalk….

If you have any comments on the photos, or if you have any memories from the factory or sportground, please feel free to add them below.

Thanks for reading.

A flickr contact posted  a fantastic HDR picture of an abandoned garage last week, so after a quick mid-week scout of the site, I went for an explore Saturday morning.

Here is the full set on flickr.  (Shows a full screen slideshow, on black).

All the breaking had been done previously, so it was left for us to slip in through a side entrance, using some chairs conveniently left by previous visitors.

At the back of the garage we find a small office, perhaps a supervisor would have sat here, or mayb it was a tea room…One chair remains with a few pieces of left equipment.

Supervisor?

Supervisor's Chair

In the main work area there is a workbench, complete with some tools, perhaps put down on the last day of business.  The tool boxes are empty, perhaps the small tools were taken by the former owner, or maybe they have been stolen.

Workbench

Workbench

I was really looking for the personal touches left behind; those little signs that tell a story about the individuals wh used to be here.  At the back we found some hooks, perhaps for mugs or coats.

Chris didn't have a hook

There is a second floor space, almost empty aside from a cast aside can of WD-40.  Here is my take on this room, similar to AKPhotography’s, but I’ve gone for a b&w approach.

WD-40

Finally, the signs at he front of the garage show that the site was used as a trailer showroom.  Here is a shot of the now quiet front room, perhaps also where fuel was paid for.

Sales Office

Teccie Bits:  All shots take on an Olympus E510 with 11-22 F2.5-3.5 lens.  Tripod when required.  Processed in Lightroom (cropping), Photoshop CS2 (distortion, perspective correction, with PT Lens), and Silver Efex Pro (B&W Conversion, dodge and burn).

Next door to the garage is a house, also abandoned. I will be processing and uploading the shots from the house later in the week.

Thanks to AK Photography (flickr, website) for sharing the location.

While searching for information on the abandoned cottage I visited recently I stumbled upon a mention of a walk passing two abandoned cottages, not too far from home.

Using the walk route, I was able to spot on my OS map the building, and last Saturday was able to make a visit.

The photos shown, and more, are best viewed big on a black background here.

The building contains what appear to be two separate dwellings, and conveniently for me, the door of one of these was missing.  I walked into a large room, dominated by a bricked in, cast iron stove and fire.  Apart from the fire the room was bare, and furniture must have been taken away.  I can imagine this being a living room, and while the picture shows what look like a cast iron stove, there was a bigger, brick oven in a back room.  Maybe the back room was added on later and this was previously where the food was cooked.

The only other feature in the room is a small cupboard to the left of the stove, built into the wall.  Empty now, it is possible to imagine the cupboard being conveniently positioned to hold a few ingredients, or if we are in living room a few treasured items.

The walls throughout the property where covered in cracked plaster, with patches where the wooden lattice beneath could be seen.  In one place the plaster was carved with “Michael Cole 1911”.  Perhaps Michael was a previous resident?

The second room is narrower, and has two long shelves down the wall.  Looking at the shape, I think it was too narrow to be a room where people would have spent much time, so maybe it was just for storage?

Looking up, little floor remains on the first floor, just the beams the floorboards would have been laid on.  On the side of the beams were occasional hooks.  Perhaps these were convenient for hanging a light.

Through the floor boards the upstairs door can be seen.

Leaving the first room be a door at the back of the building we enter a third ground floor room in a single story section of the house.  Here we find another brick stove and a back door.  Outside here is an old iron pump for water.

The second dwelling is a mirror image of the first, but has not had the benefit of the roof being repaired.  As a result a number of trees have grown inside the building, poking their tops above the roofline.

In the wall between the two homes are a series of holes.  I cannot see any clues as to what these were for, but maybe they held some furniture, perhaps shelves or a sideboard in place?

I was able to leave through the front door of the second home I explored.  The door, wile weathered, still latched and swung smoothly.  Looking back I can see a view into the home a view that perhaps previously welcomed a farmer or farm hand?  The main room at the front of each house appears to be the living room, so perhaps in place of the dirt floor we can now see, there may have been an arm chair by the fire?

Any comments on the photos or ideas for similar sites in the South West Midlands welcome, thanks for looking.

Teccie bits:  All photos taken on an Olympus E510 with either Sigma 30mm F1.4, Zuiko 11-22 F2.8-3.5 or Zuiko 70-300mm lenses.  Processed with photoshop CS2, using PT Lens to remove distortion from the wide angle shots, and a few levels adjutments.  Black and White conversion contrast adjusments and split toning in Silver Efex Pro, and final cropping in Lightroom.

Kitchen

Originally uploaded by BaldyD

Abandoned Cottage, Near Clifton-On-Teme, Worcester.

Unfotunately this place has been abandoned a long time (graffiti indicates 1911?) and there were no leftovers from occupation. The cupboard seen here was empy, and the floor was hidden beneath dirt.

The photo here shows what I assume would be a stove, so perhaps this room was a kitchen/dining room. THe only other room on the ground floor was pretty narrow and had long shelves attached and no source of heat, so perhaps was just for storage. This room may have also been used for living quarters.

The rural location of the pair of houses, in the middle of a field must mean that the house was for farm workers. The building has two almost identical separate dwellings, so perhaps farm workers rather than a land owner?

Out the back was an old iron water pump. Otherwise I cannot imagine that there would be any addtional utilities.

The Woods

On the weekend I was introduced to a site spotted by HeBeDeBe previously.  The description to his picture describes a “derelict cottage in the middle of the woods” which souded tempting. Kindly Mr HeBeDeBe offered to show me to the spot.

Please have a look at the story of our visit, then take a look at this slideshow of 14 images.

The Back Door of the Cottage

The Back Door. The Bottle on the Windowsill.

I’ve recently grown to enjoy taking pictures of decay; rusty, crusty and dusty scenes lending themselves to a contrasty black and white shot I get great enjoyment from.

First impressions of the cottage were very promising.  Deep in conversation, we were almost past the cottage before I saw it.  The nearby trees having almost grown trough what was perhaps once the porch.

In the front room not a lot remained, an upturned piece of unregonisable furniture dominating the room, however small objects left around were just enough to show that this room was once someone’s home.  Like the bottle and sandal on the window frame, and old, broken wooden tennis racket.  Off the main room was a strange 3/4 hight entrance to small half room, containing a stove.  Without gas and electric supplies, this may have been for heat.

Into the middle room we have more signs of a past life.  This looks like it was a living room. The in the middle of the room are three chairs; two wooden cushioned chairs sit by the fireplace, a folding wooden chair has been knocked over.  Along the side of the room is a battered sofa and an additional chair, perhaps ready to pull out when visitors arive.  On the windowsill in the lounge (I’ve decided that is what it was) is a mirror, half hidden by the fluttering, yellowed window drape.  On the floor, amoungst bags full of bottles, there is a small tin of boot polish.  In the fireplace is a metal gas stove, half fallen over. Now making the room feel colder.

The Lounge

The Lounge

At the far end of the cottage to the entrance I find the kitchen.  This is the most interesting room, appearing to have been left almost untouched since the owner left (apart from the stairs falling in).

The Kitchen Table

The Kitchen Table

On the table by the window are a selection of jars and cake tins; Bird’s Gravy Mix and a muffin tray.  On the cupboard, clearly emptied, a decorative biscuit tin.  Opposite the window is a table covered with upturned plates, and leaves. Just visible through the grime is an old tub of nivea. If there was a kettle, we coud have used one of the cups hanging up.

Washing Up

Washing Up

On the back of the cottage is an extra room, containing a bath, weedkiller and a seive.  The roof of this room is almost non existant, although the toilet paper on a bean above the door looks quite usable.

Weedkiller & Meths

Weedkiller & Meths

Bathroom

Fancy a Bath

On the walk back to the car, we pass a shed. While the house was intact, the shed has completly fallen in on itself.  We can still see a pair of wheels, perhaps from a trolley to bring in supplies from a nearby village?

A man trimming his hedge at  a local farm informed us that the former occupier was an author, who died and was taken away on a horse and cart.

Geeky Bits: Due to the low light levels in the wood, all photos were taken with tripod.  I used an F5.6 aperture, as this gives the sharpest results on my Olympus 11-22 mm Lens (22-44 35mm equiv), and a two second delay after the mirror went up to eliminate camera shake.  Inside shutter speeds were 2-10 seconds. Outdoors 1/30 to 2/3 second.  On the day of this visit the sky was overcast, which I think helped by reducing harsh shadows.

Processing was done in Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.  Brightness was tweaked if necessary, then contrast was adjusted locally to pick out the interesting details and focal points.  Edges were burnt to give a vintage feel and draw the eye into the shots.

Any comments of thoughts welcome, either here or on the flickr pages the photos link to.

I have just published to my flickr site a new set: 36 Photos, 1 Film, 1 Day.

The Challenge: 36 photos of Worcester scenes in 1 day, using 1 roll of film.  The idea was to get out of the house and take shots of scenes I live in and around, but perhaps don’t take the tie to stop and look at.

Flickr Set: 36 Photos, 1 Film, 1 Day

I planned the locations in advance, then shot just one frame at each.

I have spent a week developing and scanning, the only planned post production has been the removal of dust and scratches (I had trouble loading the reel for the developing tank, and there was some damage which needed repairing). The only additional digital post processing was minor curves and/or levels adjustments.

All photos were taken on a OM1, with 50mm F1.8 lens. The film was an out of date Neopan 400, although I exposed this at pushed this at ISO 1000 to allow me to leave my tripod at home and handhold.  The pictures are grainier than I am happy with, I think if I try this again I will go for a finer film, that is in date and not push processed. Maybe cut down the volume of pictures to 24 so that I have more time….

By using a fixed focal length lens I had to think hard about composition andwalk around to find the best spot to shoot from. I think at some sites (Powick Electricity) I could have really done with taking my 28mm lens (I got wet feet trying to get a composition) or a longer lens (Southern Bypass, to bring out the Cathedral).

I would be interested in peoples opinion on this set, both as a concept and my actual results. I’d also be keen to hear what scenes people would keep in, add or remove from the set?

To accompany my set of 36, I have also created a gallery showing a similar 36 photos taken from the wider flickr community.  This is split into two galleries:  Gallery 1 and Gallery 2

Thanks for looking
Dave

The Elgar Statue, Cathedral Roundabout, Worcester

Elgar