Pounding down the A1 after my Goole Tower Fest, I had to swing off the carriageway to see how things were fairing for another sinister friend out on the fringes of Newark. When I first photographed this tower it was virtually the last remaining relic of the Balderton Mental Hospital (when we had such things), part of a development started in 1936 but not completed and opened until 1957. This was one of those landmarks spotted from a train that one looks up on an Ordnance map and then makes an architectural pilgrimage at a later date. Even on a sunny day this could still be a rural outpost of the Ministry of Truth or a location for a Dracula movie set in the thirties. In reality it's a chimney, and when I first saw it the dark bricks towered above the laundry block, which in itself was more like a large motorbike factory. Everywhere else was the usual dereliction of an abandoned site, but there were the tell-tale signs that Dev the Developer had been sniffing around. So now it's surrounded by a vast estate made up of the usual pastiches that Dev uses for 'executive' housing. I'm so glad it survived the onslaught and was conserved so that it can glower down over the barbeques and car washing in such an indomitable 'up yours' fashion.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)