The House of the Swinging Sixties, Chorley
A friend alerted me to this house a few years ago. He advised me to drive over to see it and try to photograph it so what occurred was a 2 month waiting game, lots of patience and perserverence. My first visit was just to look at it and see if it was abandoned. Once I was satisfied that it was came the mission to track down an owner and gain permission to go inside and do the photographs. A couple of days later came the first breakthrough. Opposite there was a house being renovated so I spoke to the builder involved and asked about this house. Luckily for me it happened to be the key holder for this house who was finishing off renovating that house and was to start work on this house soon after. Obviously being the key holder he was in contact with the owners of the house, three sisters who had inherited the house after the death of the last occupants.
I explained my reasons for wanting to photograph inside, something which is often met with a bemused look at first from people who have no idea abandoned and derelict buildings hold such fascination for some! To him it was just another building project but he agreed to ask the sisters and get back to me later.
After a few weeks waiting for a response the call finally came through to say the sisters after some pursuading had agreed and a fist visit was quickly arranged. Patience and perserverance had paid off. Other people's kindness once again to the fore.
My first visit of two lasted a few hours but towards the end my batteries died so I pleaded for a second visit which was duly granted a week later.
The second visit whilst taking a break in the garden, the police arrived and wanted to know what I was dong there. I explained the whole story and showed her the keys I had in my hand and if she wanted she could pop over the road to speak with the keyholder who granted me access. This wasn't good enough for the young police lady who still wanted to take all my details to which I declined not having any reason to give them. She warned me the house is under police surveillance and she may come back to check. Seems some can ignore blatant facts when they are staring them in rthe face!
One and a half days were spent inside this house. A combination of taking photographs and looking through a minefield of personal artefacts left behind.
The last occupants - Mr J & Mrs B Sagar - were prominent people in the area; land owners and well to do. The lady obviously shopped for fashion items. Upstairs was a museum of 1960's clothes. So many bags of unopened handbags, purses, ties, jackets and other clothes. Toiletries scattered around the floors from 50-60 years ago unopened. Sadly, the house had been burgled some time before hence most items being thrown around on the floors.
The lounge a throwback to 1970's tastes with its small tube tv still in the corner. Fashion magazines piled up from the late 1970's/early 1980's. In the front dining room a beautiful German Wagner Piano. On top, a couple of framed portraits from long ago. School books, children's books could be found all over the floors of which I gathered them up, photographed them and left them in a neat pile, how they should be.
A house, full of remnants of the past, little reminders of past social trends, fashion styles and tastes. Such houses are rare to find that have so much left inside and are still fairly intact. When they are found, it is quite wonderful to get the chance to document everything before it vanishes forever.