22 February 2014

The ruin

'The ruin' is an early-seventeenth century former house in the Severn valley, about three miles downriver from Coalport. It forms part of the Apley Estate and has been in use for many years as a shed for livestock. Over the last year it has from time to time formed part of a Saturday morning cycle route, and Facebook friends have been entertained - if that is the right word - with occasional pictures of it at different times of the year. I am now moving away from the area, so, for the record, here is the full set of photographs showing 'the ruin' through the seasons.

20th April 2013

30th May 2013

30th June 2013

25th July 2013

5th October 2013

27th October 2013

15th February 2014
The Facebook posts have generated quite a bit of discussion about the origins and future of 'the ruin'. Some favour a late-sixteenth century date on stylistic grounds, but I think the use of brick here is unusual before the early seventeenth century; moreover Shropshire is somewhat behind the curve of building fashion. The building is not listed (although arguably it should be); as long as it retains its agricultural function it doesn't seem to be under any particular threat. It has lost a few tiles during the course of the year but hasn't significantly deteriorated as far as I can tell from the roadside, which is quite impressive given the stormy weather in the autumn and through the winter.
Providing the estate keeps the roof on, the main threat in the longer term would appear to be subsidence - from which, as is evident, the building has already suffered. The southern (left-hand) end of the building is rotating away from the rest of the structure, although so far the massive separate chimney stack seems to be stopping this movement to some extent. The two sturdy buttresses appear to be of mid-nineteenth century date, and have clearly worked in keeping the front wall upright; however soil wash down the slope has partly buried the ground floor.
Of course as soon as a significant part of the roof is lost, or further subsidence provokes collapse of one or more elements of the structure, then deterioration will accelerate rapidly.
I shall miss 'the ruin', and indeed cycling around the Ironbridge Gorge generally. 

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