The building stands on the historic site of Bristol’s Cattle Market and when coming into Bristol from Paddington on the train, is the first thing you see. The large block of concrete has a certain Brutalism charm to it. Speaking to many members of the public and Bristol Wood Recycling community, it will be missed.
After eight months documenting Bristol Wood Recycling Project's yard and community I had become familiar with the building from the ground, and intrigued by what the abandoned and decaying shell still offered visually. I was invited to visit it with site to photograph the inside with members of the council and contractors. As you can imagine, I was super excited and couldn’t wait to roam around the derelict space with my camera. We walked through the ground floor; the vast space and high ceilings became a prominent feature of the building, much like a grand cathedral, but covered in graffiti and debris.
The building had been a sorting office, although very little evidence was left to show this. The structure lay almost bare of any evidence of it’s history, and all I found were some sorting shelves, which would have been used for manual sorting, as the sorting machines could not sort all shapes of parcel efficiently.
The derelict building, which stands as a prominent part of the Bristol’s Temple skyline has stood deserted for decades and the decay of such a huge and solid structure was very humbling. Not even a structure such as this can stand the natural elements for ever. The paint that had been there was hardly visible, the roof stained with rain damage and the windows had no glass in them. The light flood in through these huge holes but struggled to light the huge open space. Even though the evidence of decay is obvious in the building you can still imagine the bustle of the busy sorting office and the hum of thousands of parcels going round on conveyer belts.
As we walked up the levels we gained amazing views of the surrounding areas of Bristol, and through the windows you caught snippets, buildings like the chimney on Feeder Road or the colourful houses of Totterdown were framed between pillars. From above I got an amazing birds eye view of Bristol Wood Recycling Project land too. I shot their site from the air, showing the scale of the community operation they had run in the space for the past fourteen years. It's a testament to the resilience of the organisation and the commitment of it's community, both volunteers and customers.