Friday Fun: Abandoned, Pulled Down and Restored

Let me introduce you today to homes of famous writers or artists, which no longer function as homes. In most cases, they’ve been pulled down to make way for progress, but not before bankrupting their owners.

Bowens Court, Ireland, home of Elizabeth Bowen.
Bowens Court, Ireland, home of Elizabeth Bowen, visited by Virginia Woolf. Bowen couldn’t afford the bills and sold it; it was demolished in 1961.
Haddon Hall in Beckenham, where David Bowie lived in a commune-like environment in the early 1970s, one of his most productive and creative periods. It was demolished to make way for a road and a block of flats.
Haddon Hall in Beckenham, where David Bowie lived in a commune-like environment in the early 1970s, one of his most productive and creative periods. It was demolished to make way for a road and a block of flats.
Franco-Romanian writer Anne de Noailles spent a part of each year in Evian, where she ran a salon popular with all the great French writers of the period. Although a street and a secondary school in Evian now bear her name, the villa itself no longer exists.
Franco-Romanian writer Anne de Noailles spent a part of each year in Evian, where she ran a salon popular with all the great French writers of the period. Although a street and a secondary school in Evian now bear her name, the villa itself no longer exists.
George Simenon's house near Lausanne, known (NOT affectionately) as 'the Bunker' by the locals, has just been torn down to make way for a new luxury residential development. Simenon had designed the house himself and was extremely security-conscious.
George Simenon’s house near Lausanne, known (NOT affectionately) as ‘the Bunker’ by the locals, has just been torn down to make way for a new luxury residential development. Simenon had designed the house himself and was extremely security-conscious.
The house in which Ray Bradbury lived for 50 years in LA was bought by a star architect in 2015 and torn down to make way for a new building.
The house in which Ray Bradbury lived for 50 years in LA was bought by a star architect in 2015 and torn down to make way for a new building.
This masterpiece of 1970 architecture by Mark Bernstein in Charlotte, NC, aka 'the house that fell to earth' was also torn down to make way for a more modern and bland building.
This masterpiece of 1970 architecture by Mark Bernstein in Charlotte, NC, aka ‘the house that fell to earth’ was also torn down to make way for a more modern and bland building.

Fortunately, some houses escaped this fate, even though the owner had to sell them to pay off debts. Alexandre Dumas, for instance, overreached himself when he built a magnificent chateau (known as the Chateau de Monte-Cristo) just outside Paris, including a little island with the most ambitious ‘writing shed’ in history.

Surrounded by its own little moat, the Chateau d'If writing studio was another typical Dumas extravaganza. in 1969 the house was scheduled for demolition and a large housing development was going to take its place. However, the local villages and an 'Alexandre Dumas Friends Association' managed to band together and save it.
Surrounded by its own little moat, the Chateau d’If writing studio was another typical Dumas extravaganza. in 1969 the house was scheduled for demolition and a large housing development was going to take its place. However, the local villages and an ‘Alexandre Dumas Friends Association’ managed to band together and save it.

 

Friday Fun: Abandoned Places

January and its sunless days are taking their toll on me, so after cemeteries I now offer you ruins and abandonment. Picturesque, of course! Cheerful? Well, you decide…

Abkhazia, Georgia. From lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com
Abkhazia, Georgia. From vmulder.livejournal.com
Beelitz Hospital near Berlin, from 28dayslater.co.uk
Beelitz Hospital near Berlin, from 28dayslater.co.uk
Chateau de Carnelle, from reddit.
Chateau de Carnelle, from reddit.
Another French chateau, from a website dedicated to ruins www.bcd-urbex.com
Another French chateau, from a website dedicated to ruins http://www.bcd-urbex.com
Wooden house in Oblast, Russia, from russiatrek.org
Wooden house in Oblast, Russia, from russiatrek.org
The sand-covered town of Kolmanskop in Namibia. From National Geographic website.
The sand-covered town of Kolmanskop in Namibia. From National Geographic website.

Sic transit gloria mundi, as Mary Beard might say.

Friday Fun: Deserted Places

It appears that just like there are women who keep on taking on losers in the hope of changing and redeeming them, so many of us love abandoned old buildings and dream of restoring them to their former glory. Did you know there is even a name for all those websites showing pictures of houses in decay? Ruin porn. Yep, it’s a trend.

I prefer my living spaces clean and airy, but just occasionally I succumb to the romanticism of the ruins.

Old farmhouse, Mitula Immobilier
Old farmhouse, Mitula Immobilier
Chateau in La Rochelle, from A Vendre A Louer.
Chateau in La Rochelle, from A Vendre A Louer.
From Spitoskylo.gr
From Spitoskylo.gr
Abandoned town of Abkhazia, from weltrekordreise.de
Abandoned town of Abkhazia, from weltrekordreise.de
Villa in Abkhazia, from Bored Panda.
Villa in Abkhazia, from Bored Panda.
Inside the ghostly mansion, from Abandoned Mansions.
Inside the ghostly mansion, from Abandoned Mansions.

This next one is especially for Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings, who likes disaffected railway stations. Here’s a renovation project for you…

Abkhazia train station, from Bored Panda.
Abkhazia train station approach, from Bored Panda.
Tequendama Falls Hotel, Colombia, from desertedplaces.blogspot
Tequendama Falls Hotel, Colombia, from aokto.com

However, if you want to see how an Australian couple are lovingly restoring a gorgeous chateau in the south-west of France, their website and blog are a great source of inspiration.

The Greatness of Empire

Singularly inappropriate perhaps for a Monday morning, when we are all ready to attach a new week of work and challenges.  The sun is shining, I am feeling pretty chipper on the whole, but there is always a part of me that responds anxiously to world news…

 

Once the spleen is vented out

When the ghosts are bed to rest

If the sorrow finds its match –

we shall desist.

 

With the seas sucked dry of ripples

Where secret forests live, unfold,

As each phrase falls on waxen ears –

We slacken, curled.

 

An attempt, a jealous grope this,

To woo the caverns of our mind.

Remote echo, no light to blind

The smouldering ruins of our bliss.