Photogenic usually implies beauty: a picturesque landscape, a majestic sunset, or a gorgeous smile. In this case, it refers to a decaying chemical plant that has sat abandoned for more than five years.
The Steetley Magnesite was opened just before the outbreak of World War II to create magnesium. Business boomed through the 1960s but eventually waned and the site changed hands a number of times, underwent corporate takeover, and eventually declared bankruptcy. At the outset of the 21st century, the chemical plant was all but abandoned and the industrial wreckage created by years of industry was all that remained.
However, despite the derelict factory and industrial waste-scape, the area has become home to two unusual species: nesting sea birds and urban explorers. In its near alien landscape, the industrial remains have become a type of photographic perfection and a major destination for explorers and urban photographers across the U.K.
Artists have morphed these industrial remains into a wild and attractive dream world through their lenses, repurposing the relic of an older industrial age into a landscape that could just as well be the distant future as the recent past.
Squeezed in between giant new housing estates, only the shattered remnants of the old pier and the windswept Spion Kop Cemetery remain of the former landscape.
Know Before You Go
To view the pier, there's room for a couple of cars in the cemetery entrance. Walk straight through the cemetery to the shore.
Alternatively, it's a brisk walk along the coast path from the headland.