Where We Live Now

by Gethin Thomas January. 13, 2021 195 views

These photos are the result of a project I did about ten years ago. The brief was very simple, just the word housing. So I decided to find out how many re-purposed buildings I could find that were now people's homes. I had to scour the internet to find these strange locations, some, quite off the beaten track. One of the methods I used was to search property selling sites for property names that were for sale or had been sold which indicated former uses. So things like mill cottage, or school house or oast house. There were far more than I expected so I went for a variety of former uses as my main goal.

This first one was one I already knew, being not far from where I lived. It had been derelict when I first saw it. Do I need to say it was a former windmill?

There was an additional structure added at ground level, for most of the rooms, which was not visible from the road.

This was a water mill in Warwickshire, again one I already knew about. It was divided into apartments. There is a record of paper making from 1717 in Wootton Wawen and I believe this was a later paper mill from the early 19th century.

Below this was once a school and is in Stowe on the Wold, in the Cotswolds. Built in 1901 as a girl's school. Again it is divided into apartments.

Below we have more apartments, this time in a former police station of 1871, in Chipping Campden, again in the Cotswolds.

In Worcester, below, these are canal side warehouses converted into apartments. There is also a narrow boat. These narrow boats were originally working boats and although the owners did live in them, they normally only occupied one small compartment at the back, the rest of the space being used for cargo. These narrow boats are increasingly becoming full time homes and the number of canal marinas is increasing to meet demand.

This home below, proudly announces to the world what it's original purpose was. This was a hydroelectric power station.

A former water mill, next to Powick Bridge, was converted in 1894 to become the world's first combined steam/hydro electric power station. Electricity from this mill provided about half the city of Worcester's needs. The Powick site continued generating until the 1950s. When it closed, it was converted into a laundry and has since been converted into residential apartments.

The site was chosen as a mill site from at least the 11th century, and very probably earlier than that. The mill leat was dug in 1291. A succession of water mills replaced each other throughout the Middle Ages and into the 16th century and later. The mill is a Grade II Listed Building.

This one below was a former hospital, which also became infamous.

Powick Hospital was notorious for its use of LSD in therapy and mistreatment of patients. Built in 1852, the hospital finally closed in 1989 and was mostly demolished shortly thereafter. The name Powick entered the local colloquialisms and became synonymous for mental disorder in many informal expressions relating to madness or stupidity.

It seems to be a tradition that names of asylums for the insane or places that they were built became synonymous with the condition.

Famously, in Britain we still use the word "doolally" to describe someone with a perceived mental disorder, the full expression being "gone doolally tap". This name actually derives from a place in India which during the British Raj is where soldiers who had gone over the edge were treated for mental disorders.

Deolali transit camp was a British Army transit camp in Maharashtra, India. Established in 1861, the camp remained in use throughout the time of the British Raj. It served to house soldiers newly arrived in the country and those awaiting ships to take them to Britain. It also housed a military prison and during the two world wars served as a prisoner of war camp. Conditions in the camp were said to be poor especially for those stationed there for long periods and the term "doolally" became associated with mental illness. The camp was transferred to the Indian army following the independence of India.

The soldiers' name for the camp, "Doolally", became a slang term associated with mental illness. The term is a contraction of the original form "Doolally tap", where the latter part is derived from "tapa" ("fever" in Hindustani and "heat" or "torment" in Sanskrit). The whole phrase is perhaps best translated as "camp fever". The term was in use from the late 19th century and the contracted form was dominant by the First World War.

For today's "inmates" prices for an apartment start in the region of a quarter of a million pounds if you are doolally enough to pay that.

This is a former hop kiln in Worcestershire.

An oast, oast house or hop kiln is a building designed for kilning (drying) hops as part of the brewing process. They can be found in most hop-growing (and former hop-growing) areas and are often good examples of vernacular architecture. Many redundant oasts have been converted into houses. In Surrey, Hampshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire they are called hop kilns.

They consist of a rectangular one or two storey building (the "stowage") and one or more kilns in which the hops were spread out to be dried by hot air rising from a wood or charcoal fire below. The drying floors were thin and perforated to permit the heat to pass through and escape through a cowl in the roof which turned with the wind. The freshly picked hops from the fields were raked in to dry and then raked out to cool before being bagged up and sent to the brewery.

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Camellia Staab 1 week, 4 days ago

Very interesting and very similar to the happenings here in Springfield. The last couple of years our "downtown" sets up a self guided tour ( for a fee) of all the buildings that are going through or have gone through a "re-purposing". Some are beautifully done, keeping all the wood work and the high ceilings, etc.... but the price tag way up there. Mind you our downtown is nothing like Chicago or New York and so I personally don't see how charging an arm and a leg for a condo downtown is a smart move...but then again none of these realtors ever consult me smile 

I am wondering if I fall in the "doolally" category 😉

1 week, 4 days ago Edited
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