I’ll Send You A Postcard

A comparison between Budludzha monument in Bulgaria as pictured in 1970’s publications and its abandoned state in 2015. The Getty Foundation’s investment of $185,000 in July 2019 to support the creation of a conservation and management plan for the monument hopes to reverse its sharp decline.

Circuit Breakers

While we’re on the topic of immaculately-preserved power stations . . . Here’s a tweaked edit of our four explores in 2014 and 2015 of a 600 MW thermal power station which has dominated its landscape since its construction in 1972, with a 198m high chimney – the second tallest structure in New Zealand – made from 16,400 tonnes of concrete, 1200 tonnes of reinforcing steel and almost 1,000,000 bricks. After its decommissioning in 2007 all access was prohibited and it was lit and guarded 24/7, making for some tension but also creating ideal conditions for shooting video and stills in the dead of night. Despite our anxiety at potentially exposing ourselves, we simply couldn’t resist firing up power to the control room, lighting it up like a Christmas tree.

Morbid Curiosity

This morgue in New Zealand has been abandoned since 1998 when the psychiatric hospital it served was closed in a shift away from institutionalisation to community-based care. Due to large amounts of copper spouting remaining in its buildings, as well as asbestos insulation, it is still guarded 24/7.

Longburner

The sun was setting over the Manawatu, New Zealand. The first stop-off on an Easter road trip that remains vivid in the memory. Below the chimney was a former meat factory slowly being demolished.

Bye Bye Tip Top

A longstanding employee of Tip Top’s bakery in Wellington succinctly documents personal and professional concerns in the year of its closure. A bakery had existed on the site since the early 1900s: originally Denhard Bakeries before the property and business were sold to George Weston Foods (NZ) in the 1950s. Tip Top’s shuttering of the plant appears to have been actioned swiftly. On Tuesday 30th September, 2008, staff were gathered and informed of the imminent closure, with the final bake coming less than three weeks later on Sunday 19th October.

 

 

Good Night, Nurse

In 1973, under the watch of Matron Grattan, this now-demolished former nurses’ home at Wellington Hospital operated by “standards of conduct . . . akin to those of personal freedom, co-operation and responsibility which are acceptable in a private home, yet with the extra consideration necessary due to the number of residents under one roof.” Lunch was served daily in the dining room between the hours of 12 midday until 1:15pm, and dinner from 5-6:30pm. Suitable frocks, skirts and slacks, and a scarf to cover any hair rollers in use, were required while dining, and nurses were directed “not to linger about in the front foyer in a dressing-gown”. By the end of the first decade of the 2000’s, several floors had been converted to hostel accommodation. Residents cooked their own meals in tiny kitchens on each floor, warnings were prominently displayed about cleaning up cooking messes and theft of food from the communal fridges, and the reception office appeared to have been equipped with a cricket bat for self-defence.

Demolition was swiftly carried out in February, 2019, with signs on the perimeter fence indicating a children’s hospital is to come.