The Gunman's Cottage, Shropshire
Small, compact and falling to bits. The Gunman's Cottage was a chance discovery whilst driving through the woods. Just visible from the battered track we were travelling down it soon became apparent once we'd pulled up the car that this was a house crammed to the rafters with vintage artefacts left behind and simply forgotten by the world. The Cottage itself contains only 5 rooms and was obviously home to the same people for a very long time before they departed. In every room there seemed far too many items to allow anyone to move freely around the interior. So crammed were the rooms that it was an effort to find a space on each floor to fit 3 giant tripod legs. Boxes, tins, books and all manner of ites piled up inhibiting any chance of an easy session photographing inside. Couple this with the lateness of the day. The sun was fast setting and with only dirty windows letting a glimmer of light inside it was a task to capture anything at all. However, so many items were worthy of photographing, a second visit was arranged but we arrived late again and once again were faced with the same problems.
All the usual items of vintage locations were present, except a piano maybe, or maybe there was one but it was just buried under piles of magazines or books in one of the rooms. A favourite of mine is always old photographs and letters which add a human touch to a location and allow me to put faces to the property. In this house there were dozens scattered around, many fading, some torn but all giving an insight into the people connected with this little cottage.
Care had to be taken in one bedroom as the far end of the floor had sunk over a metre and looked as if it would collapse at any time bearing in mind the heavy furniture and recent footsteps that had made it creek even more.
In both the lounge and one of the bedrooms was a collection of trophies presented to a champion domino player. Reminders of past achievements of a departed soul.
To really unearth the full range of treasures this cottage had to offer would take many repeat visits such was the extent of items left behind. Under a bed lay a shotgun. Hence the name of this cottage. Next to it a stack of worn clothes now moth eaten and covered in dust. The kitchen cupboards may have been crammed with food, enough to feed an army yet I doubt anyone will be returning here for one last meal.