Back in March, Kristi and I went up to Hartlepool for the weekend for a little photography. My friend and colleague Matt Park had been sending me excellent photo after excellent photo of this old abandoned magnesium factory up on the coast, and I’d decided that I’d love to try photographing the place myself.
Steetley Magnesite Works was built in 1937 as a factory trying to extract magnesia (used in the steel industry, and not found naturally in the UK) from sea water. Like all things industrial and British, the factory was eventually considered nonviable and abandoned. The site was to have been cleared for housing, but that was brought to a halt when rare birds were found to be nesting there.
What’s left today is mostly rubble, with a few gems still on offer. Most photographers who visit the site focus on the settling tanks where the separation of magnesia from sea water used to take place. Our plan was to do the same, but the night before we’d learned about the event to illuminate Hadrian’s Wall, and decided just to spend the morning before breakfast at Steetley instead.
We focused most of our time down on the beach, and also in exploring the mammoth pier that extends out from the factory ruins into the North Sea. Forget your Victorian seaside piers; there might be no-one selling candy floss on this pier, but it’s just stunning … and we certainly felt quite vulnerable out there at the far end looking back to shore.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed taking them.2 comments »