This is really for Kasia, who asked to see more old photographs. But it's time to fess up: this image isn't particularly old, it's just of a quite venerable subject. This is a telephone box, circa 1943, in the abandoned village of Tyneham, and a memorial to how the village was when it was forcibly evacuated.
The village and 7,500 acres of surrounding heathland and chalk downland around the Purbeck Hills, were commandeered just before Christmas 1943 by the then War Office (now MoD) for use as firing ranges for training troops. 252 people were displaced, the last person leaving a poignant notice on the church door:
"Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly."
It has not been treated kindly. The measure was supposed to be temporary for the duration of World War II, but in 1948 the Army placed a compulsory purchase order on the land and it has remained in use for military training and target practice ever since. The cottages are all now roofless shells, and the residents have never been allowed to return. Though littered with scrap used as targets, and subject to regular shelling, the land has become a haven for wildlife as it has been free from farming and development. In 1975, after complaints from tourists and locals, the Ministry of Defence began opening the village and footpaths across the ranges at weekends and throughout August. Practically all of the village buildings have fallen into disrepair and have been damaged by shelling and in 1967 the then Ministry of Works pulled down the Elizabethan manor house, though the church and schoolhouse remain intact.
To visit the place now is to enter a sad and lost little world. It will never be inhabited again.
Critiques | Translate
mesutilgim (89762) 2014-04-19 13:23
Good observation, perfect captured !
TFS and have a happy Easter !
holmertz (45936) 2014-04-19 13:46
This is a fascinating picture and note. It reminds me of stories from visitors to the Ukrainian town that was abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster. Sad stories in both cases, but this photo is very interesting with the many old time posters and signs inside. It's a pity it's "closed". It would be intereting to find out if the telephone was actually still working.
batalay (37205) 2014-04-19 18:22
Such a poignant photo and note, a first class piece of photojournalism. But your remark,"It will never be inhabited again." Never is a very long time. In England where it is frequently the forces of tradition, rather than the forces of physics that hold up buildings, this will revert back a thriving area. My guess is that this will take place by 2543.
emka (87538) 2014-04-19 23:22
Hello Will, It is such a sad photo after reading your excellent interesting note. But maybe this place somewhen will become the tourists attraction, like many ghost towns in USA. Beautiful view of this telepnoe box , one of so many that are no needed anymore. Marvelous these old posters and an old telephone. Splendid post with so much nostalgy.
Have a Happy Easter
Royaldevon (33837) 2014-04-20 0:53
Your notes carried me along like a sad novel!
I like this close-up which allows us to see the details of the interior notices and, of course, the cobwebs!
Have a great Sunday,
macondo (18697) 2014-04-20 3:26
Terrific photo with very interesting note and strong mood of both wistful nostalgia and sadness. I like the way the sunlight is hitting the old phone. I can almost imagine Dad's Army entering the scene to make a vital call. Your note makes me think I must visit this place.
adidas5nb (5685) 2014-04-20 4:11
excellent imagery and idea.love the blocks created by the red lines and the the elements that lie inside.very nicely done indeed.
marabu61 (9707) 2014-04-20 4:45
Ah, long time no see one of these old telephones. I still remember the times when they where in our every homes.
Having said that, this is rather a sad story that goes with this strangely appealing photo. The whole mood is in this is of a forlorn loneliness and solitude that touches the heart. I do hope the former inhabitants of this village where duly compensated by the british forces?
have a great day and happy easter
Noel_Byrne (27752) 2014-04-20 7:39
I have heard of this place before, and always found it such a strange subject, that people would be displaced in this manner is amazing. This is a touching photo when seen I conjunction with your note, the closed sign being very prominent and apt. The light falling on the old phone is very magical too.
From the fact that you took this, does this mean you can visit this place? I would have thought it would be completely off limits to citizens, but if not, it would be a place I would love to see.
Has the church at least survived intact or has that also been destroyed?
Thanks as always
dekanski (4314) 2014-04-20 12:47
Nice! Like it!
Mics (885) 2014-04-20 20:15
Awww! heart-breaking story but you got in here a very interesting subject....imagining it in one of the pages of Rolling Stone magazine. Cool shot! ;-)
Have a nice day,
timecapturer (49288) 2014-04-21 3:21
made me smile this one. Not many will remember the need for button A in these old phone boxes. Love this crop and also the sign is just perfect. Nostalgic magic!
Have a good week - B.
gildasjan (42724) 2014-04-21 9:46
Un plan serré qui met bien en valeur ces vieilles choses de la téléphonie.Vous avez su en Angleterre préserver ce patrimoine.
abmdsudi (47646) 2014-04-21 21:03
Wow, back in time shot and plenty of detail of a lonesome box, bags of nostalgia with a sad story to go along. The lovely mellowed traditional red just make it look so authentic and the processing really works on this image, has a fine olde worlde feel to it and soon it will be a classic. How lovely that you were there not only to catch this shot but you've captured a wee bit of history there too. This one has quality stamped all over it and a pleasure to view.
CLODO (32556) 2014-04-22 2:24
with the mobiles phones, these cabinets are going to disappear. Through the window, we can read the adverts of the WWII. The uncleaned windows and spider webs add a lot to the nostalgia.
see you in a month and a half
photographer_sg (4412) 2014-04-22 7:51
This is such an original and fascinating composition with the red framework of the door along with the interesting details providing lovely visual appeal. The note is sad indeed and we can never truly appreciate the feelings of the evacuated villagers.
Thanks for visiting my gallery and the workshop which has worked really well. I especially liked the shadows lifted out of the seller's face. This is a technique that I often feel like using but don't know how to.
Thanks again and have a nice day.
mjw364 (2) 2014-04-23 5:03
At least this phone box wasn't closed due to advances in technology, the privatisation of BT, or vandals and drunks taking a p*ss in them once too often!
Interesting note - yet another example of a government ignoring the will of it's people then doing a partial U turn when it's far too late. I wonder how many politicians would exhibit the same degree of selflessness in times of a nation's need and give up their homes (they may give up their second homes since we are more usually paying for them not them)?
kasianowak (7575) 2014-04-29 1:44
Firstly, I feel very honoured by your note! The image may not be old but the subject is, so it does count. ;-)
I like the shot with all the six sections working like a series of mini images. The light reveals the dust and cobwebs, adding to the time warp feeling.
I found the story in the note sad and very moving.
tatadalou (7305) 2014-05-02 4:33
A nostalgic view of this abandoned village. Interesting DOF with a little blurry door and a focus on the inside. Thanks a lot for this interesting note.
GyurMaster (1231) 2014-05-18 13:53
Good observation, perfect realisation! The atmosphere of your photo stunning!
- Copyright: Will Perrett (willperrett) (8775)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-07-26
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Canon EOS5D, Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM
- Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Telephone Kiosks, Kasia's Favourites 5 [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2014-04-19 13:15