Taxal Lodge Special School, Derbyshire
'Have you seen the building at the back of here?' my mother asked...well, no I hadn't. A quick dash n the car and Taxal Lodge came into view. Beyond the imposing black gates lay this derelict and somewhat decaying and forlorn building. A monster amongst the quiet surroundings of Whaley Bridge. And so over the next few weeks from August through to December I became somewhat attached to this building, going back from more shoots to capture the parts I'd missed, and each time I went back, more was to be discovered. It drew me in somehow. Its emptiness. Its decay. Its history. The little cards still stuck on a wall with telephone numbers on for help lines for suffering children. The building echoed as I walked around wary of gaping gaps in the floors where the metal thieves has been busy.
Some days inside were stifling hot, some were bitterly cold but the feel of the interior always remained constant. A mixture of joy and sadness. bedrooms painted by the pupils in their favourite colours now fading fast and becoming tired. A thousand memories floating around the walls created by children's innocence, their appetite for discovery and their pain.
Taxal Lodge was built in 1904 and was the home of Lt .Col. H. Jodrell who subsequently passed away in 1950. The Lodge was then turned into a special school in various guises for children for the Local Education Authority. This Lodge replaced an earlier T. Lodge originally built further up the valley. It was a mixed boys/girls school for disruptive or emotionally disturbed children who stayed at the school during the week and were allowed home at the weekend (if they had one).
Taxal Lodge closed it's doors for the last time 2005 and is now in a state of decay. Personal artefacts are scarce yet one is still struck by how big the place is and the vast array of rooms on site. There is still a personal sense to the building especially in the games room which has items still on the wall relating to mental health issues and also the wonderfully brightly painted bedrooms upstairs. Sadly there was a fire in 2012 which damaged a large portion of the outbuildings including the gymnasium but the majority of the site is still in good shape albeit vandalised and decaying.