A good way to keep fit is to photograph very remote abandoned Welsh farmhouses and cottages! This one required several attempts to find it having been given the details by a friend. After attempting a large river, scaling barbed wire fences me and two friends finally found the cottage high up on a hill. The information given to us was that ot was being cleared of all its contents, maybe for a renovation or to be demolished. Who knows but with a front door wide open it was an opportunity to go in and photograph this latest Welsh time capsule.
In front of the cottage were the embers of a bonfire, as items had been cleared from inside the cottage and subsequently burned. Next to it was a pile of items next to go on. How sad this was to see. Vintage pictures, a Sanoid first aid kit from 1959, binoculars, books and so much more lined up to have their fate sealed and be lost forever. Items which should be in a museum, especially the vintage trombone, instead just discarded and burned. Obviously whoever is clearing it has no sentimental attachment to the past. To some a 1959 first aid kit is a priceless antique worthy of not only photographing but being cleaned up and displayed. To others it's merely junk with no practical or emotional use. I guess that's just the way it is!
Whoever lived here was a hoarder for sure. Letters and documents suggest that it was a man called Edward Evans. Was he married? Maybe, maybe not but there were not really signs of a woman's touch in the cottage. Mr Evan's was a prolific collector of all sorts of things, especially books and magazines. There must have been thousands in this modest size cottage and thousands more in the out houses.
Before we arrived, the lounge was not visible due to the mammoth collection of books piled high covering every inch of the floor. This was the scene for friends who had photographed it some weeks earlier. Luckily when we arrived they had been removed so the beautiful grandfather clock and Crane & Sons piano were visible. Seems they had been transferred to one of the outhouses.
The cottage though was a mess. Items strewn around everywhere, piled high which meant a certain degree of rooting was necessary in order to find things to photograph. Under a table in the lounge was a pile of junk but in between the chaos was a folder, full of vintage photographs and letters. My favourite items. A chance to put faces and names to the cottage and add that human element to an empty and derelict home. Family photographs, wedding photographs and candid shots all painted a picture of the people who may have lived here or been connected over the decades to this home. On the piano top a majestic cap adorned with a badge with the words 'Surrey Fire & Rescue Service'. What the connection is with Surrey I do not know, or maybe Mr Evans just collected things?
The back room was chaos. Piles of books and magazines still in situ. Covered in dirt, dust and cobwebs. They haven't been touched for many years, that was obvious. No room to swing a cat in that room and so just a couple of shots were possible as it was.
In the hallway on a beautiful old piece of furniture was a gramophone. Maybe an original maybe not. Photographing was tricky due to the lack of space n the hall way but the thought that this may end up on that bonfire breaks the heart. It deserves better.
I didn't spend time upstairs. I had a quick look around but the floors were rotten and a repeat of an earlier accident wasn't appealing so I stayed downstairs. Not that there was much up there just some musical instruments and lots of tipped over furniture.
Two hours or so were spent inside, documenting history, capturing remnants of past lives before they disappear forever in flames. Musical instruments, books and a thousand other items once belonged to someone yet now are deemed redundant. A beautiful little cottage in a beautiful part of the world. The final symphony is looming large for this former home.