Cheadle Bleachworks, Manchester

Date Visited: May 2007

Although known colloquially as Cheadle Bleachworks, Cheadle Lower Mill was arguably the most smashed up site I've ever visited - and just goes to show what will happen if disused buildings are left unsecured. There has been a mill has been on the site since the 12th Century, originally used as a water powered corn mill. It was later converted to chemical plant, owned by Thor Chemicals, and produced chlorine bleaching agents for use in the dye industry in Manchester at the time. It closed down in 1993 and was left derelict until 2008 when the site was partially demolished prior to being converted into a housing development known as 'The Bleachworks'.

While there had been some fire damage, overall the site was just wrecked. Not much roof remained, there was hardly any glass left, but the large steel boilers remained on site as well as some company and employee records. Why the owners allowed it to get to this state is anyone’s guess as most of the site was in danger of imminent collapse. For some reason though, I found a certain beauty in the decay and with the early summer sun casting shadows through the crumbling structure, surprisingly photogenic.