The House of the Damned, Derbyshire
A short walk off road, along a small rural path through a mini forest and I'm heading to my latest little abandoned dwelling. Maps in hand to navigate the fields and not get lost, it's not too long before I can see in the distance the roof top of the cottage I'm headed for.
Signs I pass warn of the strong cross winds and although today is a calm fairly mundane day weather wise, the curious angle of the trees hints at what the signs are referring to. Tired trees losing their battle with the battering during the winter months.
After a climb over a couple of walls and a final field to cross I'm finally at the door of what was to be named The House of the Damned. It is a typical farmhouse with the usual signs of tired old window frames and broken glass yet almost hidden by a giant tree as it casts shadows across the weather beaten exterior. The bright blue door - slightly ajar - leading into a lost world of rural life. Kettles still sit on the stove in the giant hearth in the dining room, decaying with age, whistling no more. Old food items still remain inside the adjoining cupboard. A cosy little cottage, one can imagine the roar of flames on cold winter days as the habitants sat by the fire whiling away the evenings in peace and seclusion. Not one but two AGAs still remain in what was the kitchen but it was so dark in that room it was difficult to make out what else was in there.
Why did I call it House of the Damned? There was a newspaper article on the 1970s punk band The Damned in the bedroom and it seemed to fit the feeling of the house.
Upstairs, the first hint of a lady's existence as a small vanity mirror catches the light through the window as the sun blazes into the bedroom. Hanging up on a wire hook - as is typical of these type of farmhouses - a thousand receipts document the working life of these people like rings in a cut down tree. A lifetime of toil in the fields before they departed. Left in peace in the Derbyshire hills The house of the Damned remains a ghost of the past, a glimpse into what is no longer there.
Each location whether it is an asylum, a cottage or something else has its own character, its own charm and its own past yet all of them become a little part of me...
One year return visit
A year after the initial visit to this house I returned with friends more as a guide so they didn't get lost walking through the fields surrounding this remote house!
Nothing much had changed except for a few items missing, a few placed elsewhere in the house and some obvious 'staging'.
Still the house remains remote and forgotten. No one seems to own it. Time passes and The House of the Damned just stands still.