A little Urbex: Exploring at the Paper Mill

I’ve been on a little urbex adventure lately.  There was a little trio of myself, Paul Whittingham and Damian Bere that made our way to an abandoned Paper Mill in Yorkshire in the hope of avoiding security and seeing some interesting deriliction.  The mill dates back over 100 years and at it’s peak over a 1000 people worked at this site.  The company went bankrupt and closed in 2001 and the site feels like everyone just walked out, closed the doors and never came back.
First job was getting in.  With that little adventure out of the way (…don’t ask) we were unsure of how much of the site we would be able to get to but were greeted by a small room that led to the corridor below.  Now it’s at this point that I’m reminded of why I’m here, I love derelict buildings!  I love the light and the colours, the textures and the way paint peels and crumbles.

This is HDR combination of three separate shots of different exposures

A quick explore of this initial part of the building revealed some really interesting big chunky bits of industrial machinery.  Suspended several feet off the ground were six huge metal spheres.  These look like they are made from parts of an old battleship with their huge rivets and thick sheets of curved metal.  I gather they are called ‘pochers’ and were used to ‘cook’ pulp under high pressure in this room.  There is a walkway underneath these spheres and one in level with them, from either they look very dramatic.

Like a gaping mouth!  This is lit from directly below with a diffused remote speedlight to create some interesting shadows

The walkway that runs alongside the large metal ‘pochers’

This one gives a better idea of the size of these things. The ‘pocher’ is lit with a remote speedlight to bring out the colour and texture

After a while in this room it was time to explore a little further.  We found a door that opened into another room with little in it, but then another door that we could squeeze through which open the way to the whole rest of the site.  There were various rooms and offices and all showing the tell tale signs of time.  Paint crumbling and bubbling, wallpaper peeling and corrosion and colour everywhere.

A little bit of dereliction and symmetry.

When moving into one of the main machine rooms (below) we had a little surprise.  As we were looking around and setting a few shots up another group of urbex’ers came into the room.  There was the slightly embarrassed nodding of hello’s as they passed through and then we were back to our camera’s.

The machines are now all silent and this building is now a very, very large pigeon coop (complete with a very, very large amount of pigeon poop)!

The offices in particular I found fascinating, they really do feel like the workers just left one day and never came back.  The rooms have not even been cleared our and there are still files in draws and paper on desks, only now time has taken hold and is claiming it all slowly back.

Paper still in the In tray, files in draws, notices on the walls.

A little further on there was a drawing room with board and blue prints.  There were draws full of these technical drawings and some had been got out and laid on the board.

This was lit with a single speedlight on the desk to the right of the board.

Finally in one of the last offices there were draws and draws of photo’s.  Someone had got some of them out on the desk, they looked to be from the 60’s and I’m sure are former employees of the mill.  Made me wonder, who are these people…

Who are all these people?

Finally a little selection of a few more images from this outing below and a few more here on Flickr



So, the only question now is where next?  I want to do quiet a bit more of this and am looking forward to getting inside and exploring more building that are hidden from day to day view but have with then help of nature and time have a distinct beauty all of their own.


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