Over Easter I went to visit my mother in my home village of Cornholme, West Yorkshire. I was born and grew up in the house she still inhabits, the end of a stone terrace dug into the steep hillside of the Penines. Below the house, nestled into the cleft of the valley by the riverside always stood a big old factory, originally a dye works, but only known to me as ‘the rubberworks’. As a child i would play around this factory with my sisters and friends, daring each other to trespass on their land, edging down the river crossing the border from our wild territory to ‘their’ fenced off fort. The air would change from that of a fresh wooded river to wafts of heated rubber, thick and oily. We would find sheets of rubber with hundreds of shoes souls cut our, like army’s of footprints piled high on top of one another. I used to wonder where those shoe souls went, where they eventually got to walk. Access to the roof was easy due to the hillside rising up directly behind the building and during the school holidays we’d run along the corrugated roof, causing the workers to run outside and shout at us as we scampered off, high on naughty fear. One time, a gangly boy, Kurt Jowet was striding across the roof, intentionally heavy footed to create maximum effect to the workers inside when suddenly he dropped down. His feet crashed through the roof , being stopped only by his elbows. We all froze. After some squirming he managed to get back up and off we all ran, elated by the close shave. WE got to safety upstream and laughed till we cried at the thought of the bizzare spectacle inside the factory, some mystery legs appearing through the roof, performing a mid air running man before disappearing to where they came from. Fond memories those, collected at an age when a yearning for experience and excitement outweighs the knowledge that you shouldn’t really be an annoying little shit!
About 5 years ago the mill was flattened after standing abandoned for many years. Its strange to walk round this place now, the magnetism that I once felt from those walls, now mere heaps of bricks, stone and rubble punctuated by huge wooden jutting beamst like the skeleton on a rotting carcass. The one thing that remains proud is the mill chimney, rising up from the valley floor like a defiant symbol of Britain’s lost industry.
I started to take photos of the place, and by viewing the area with a photography eye came to realise just how beauriful the oily puddles were. I took a few shots, put my camera away and rushed on up to my mums to see everyone. When I eventually looked at the photos I found the puddle ones mesmerising. I wish I had taken more of the reflections, but I didnt, but it is something that I will look out for in future.