Urban exploration is very much a romantic idealism of how I would desire a future world to be, I love the thought of flora growing from Medowhell, as the malls rattle to the sound of skateboarders, the faint echo of the sound system from the ongoing party, the car parks are substantial vegetable gardens and other green spaces for the local communities, a world turned upside down.
When you have gained access a trick in itself, you hope the small steps of trespass leaving not but footprints, taking nothing but photographs, a direct action of the kind the right to roam gave us such as Common Lands, access to this bucolic earth, the joy of being lost in such space and for a moment you here the roaming of the ancesters past, with man made spaces such as More hall your thoughts go to how it must have been the meadowland before here in Sheffield.
Despite its urban location almost three-quarters of the city is taken up by natural vegetation and waterways.
More than a third of the city is located in the Peak District National Park – no other city has a National Park within its boundary.
In addition you’ll find 150 woodlands and 50 public parks all within Sheffield and it is rumoured that there are 4 mature trees to every person living here!
Over 44 per cent of Sheffield residents live within a five minute walk of a wood and half the city’s population live within 15 minutes of the open countryside. Imagine that!
There is more to a city than what is seen in the everyday, the places we walk past we work in shop in, there is an hidden city, some parts of been abandoned are left uninhabited the absence of life without people, without capitalism it shows how fragile the urbanisation of city’s are, for whatever reason there left to become ruins, others are under demolition it is here that the former industry of Sheffield that made this city known for it,s steal, here the story of the common man are told.
The heritage of this city is being lost, we might have got good at looking after our 150 woodlands and 50 public parks, yes there 4 mature trees to every person living here, the urbanisation of this city is very much hidden, but it creeps into the bucolic earth, take a walk through the public footpaths of the giant beast of Stocksbridge Steel Works, walk along the footpaths of The Sheffield Tinsley Waterways, walk in the East End Park, as child I used to swing to the sound of the forge hammer of the steel works that backed onto Carbrook Park, looking onto the back of the CO-OP direy and the back to back homes on Broughton Lane.
The waste lands around Medowhell, once had vast steel works, now they are being slowly taken over with the flora of Mother Earth, it is sad to see the giant that was George Barnsley and Sons in ruin, to stand in the former Sheffield Crown Courts, yes I let myself out of The cells where I once sat as 12 people decided my fate in a room upstairs, I now have stood, and likewise where the judge no doubt sat on the toilet I took an image of his thrown.
To find the mass unmarked grave, of those murdered at the Former Middlewood Lunatic Asylum, here we crept about before it become another suburb of Sheffield, there are little reminders of what stood here, the ruin that is becoming the church, giving it thought we was not meant to take images of the past, and it needs to fade, but the hell hole of another Lunatic Asylum High Royeds is another story, you could here the screems of the past, as you walked around in a dark winter of 2008 you could not only see the ghost of the past, they left with you.
I stood alone at 830pm on a Monday Night in the former Rutland Cutlery Works, I shed some tears it moved me to think that in 2009 we like to say we have rid ourself s of slave labour, when I walked into the former Tinsley Wire, and the three times following, I was moved, the same happens each time I enter in the ruins of Sheffield’s past, I understand the privalge of my circumstance, of course there is a part in me that says urban exploration is very much a romantic idealism of how I would desire a future world to be, it has become more.
There you stand in the former steel works, past industrial parts of Sheffield it has become an addiction that needs to be fed, knowing those who own these places will not permit you any access even if you asked, they fail to understand, truth be told there are not words to inform others of how it feels to be stood where you are told you should not be, there only a few people who have the same insight there follow time travellers, because this is what you are doing going into the past of Sheffield’s past, the same when you walk through one 150 woodlands and 50 public parks, you are 15 minutes of the open countryside.
I hope my actions are also documenting, the class struggle of the nameless people who worked in these places, those who was hold captive in Middlewood Lunatic Asylum, the lives changed at the former Sheffield Crown Courts, indeed the lives changed at all the places I have the advantage to visit and trespass within, there is very much no intent to leave nothing but footprints take nothing but images, and if you have ever stood watching the sun set over the former Thorpe Marsh Power station, as I have done slept under the former Cooling Towers at Tinsley, spent three years of your life going in and out the former William Brothers Nut and Bolt Factory been part of the stillness, then discovering in the ruins the story of it,s past.
I also like the bucolic side of Sheffield, here I have taken the paths we are not told about, for me there is no art with out trespass, it has to be like sex with out being to quote a certain Bansky, now I hope you have a little more understanding of what my photographs I take mean, how they are gained the risk involved in doing so, I like the underclass side of Sheffield, I love this city, words do indeed fail me to say how much, but I need not have a T Shirt saying so, neither do I need to say one is northern and fucking proud of the fact, the work I do is very much a celebration in remembrance of the 600 people and children in the mass un marked grave of those killed at MiddleWood Lunatic Asylum, the countless unnamed persons who worked where I walk and trespass, I can not fail but to take a part of there past, and if you stand in the former bath house of DenabyMain you can neither forget the class struggle.