John Maher's photos help save abandoned Scottish island cottages

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Deadline News/REX_Shutterstock (4805408a) One of John Maher's photos of abandoned homes on the Western Isles Photos taken by Buzzcocks drummer John Maher could bring abandoned island homes back to life, Scotland - May 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/qfyt Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks are set to bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes back to life. Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world�s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again. There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland. Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands. A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands� dwindling rural communities.

Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks will bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes in Scotland back to life.

The eerily beautiful photos of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were captured by the Buzzcocks' John Maher.

The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world's biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again.

There are around 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Deadline News/REX_Shutterstock (4805408d) One of John Maher's photos of abandoned homes on the Western Isles Photos taken by Buzzcocks drummer John Maher could bring abandoned island homes back to life, Scotland - May 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/qfyt Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks are set to bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes back to life. Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world�s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again. There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland. Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands. A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands� dwindling rural communities.

Meanwhile, there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands.

A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands' dwindling rural communities.

Brian Whitington, project manager at the Tighean Innse Gall, told Rex Features the photographs were "the catalyst" for the ground-breaking project.

Members of the Carnegie Trust saw the images and wanted to get involved in a possible rescue project for the homes.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Deadline News/REX_Shutterstock (4805408f) One of John Maher's photos of abandoned homes on the Western Isles Photos taken by Buzzcocks drummer John Maher could bring abandoned island homes back to life, Scotland - May 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/qfyt Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks are set to bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes back to life. Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world�s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again. There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland. Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands. A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands� dwindling rural communities.

So far they have been given £50,000 to get the project started and hope to raise hundreds of thousands.

John Maher and Ian Paterson took the pictures for the exhibition.

John said: "The pictures had quite an impact with the people in the Carnegie Trust.

"If it results in some people moving into a renovated home it can't be looked at in any other way than positive."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Deadline News/REX_Shutterstock (4805408g) One of John Maher's photos of abandoned homes on the Western Isles Photos taken by Buzzcocks drummer John Maher could bring abandoned island homes back to life, Scotland - May 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/qfyt Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks are set to bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes back to life. Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world�s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again. There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland. Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands. A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands� dwindling rural communities.

Jim Metcalfe, head of practice and development at Carnegie UK, said the trust has been involved in the project for about six months and is now on the steering group.

"It could be a very profound contribution to the sustainability of the islands," he said.

"It's a really intriguing and very unusual project."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Deadline News/REX_Shutterstock (4805408h) One of John Maher's photos of abandoned homes on the Western Isles Photos taken by Buzzcocks drummer John Maher could bring abandoned island homes back to life, Scotland - May 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/qfyt Pictures taken by the former drummer of the Buzzcocks are set to bring up to 1,000 abandoned island homes back to life. Eerily beautiful pictures of the derelict croft houses slowly rotting away in the Western Isles were taken by former Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. The remarkable images featured in an exhibition and have now led to talks with one of the world�s biggest charitable foundations, The Carnegie Trust, in a bid to make them habitable again. There are about 1,000 empty properties frozen in time, many of which have been empty since their owners passed away or moved to the mainland. Meanwhile there is a big housing problem with around 1,000 people waiting for a home on the islands. A housing agency now plans to renovate the first properties this autumn in a project that could save the islands� dwindling rural communities.

The Carnegie Trust is a charitable foundation founded by Scots industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1913.

He led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry and gave away the equivalent of £3bn to charity.

His life has often been referred to as the original 'rags to riches' story.

18 PHOTOS
Abandoned places in Britain
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John Maher's photos help save abandoned Scottish island cottages

Near the small village of Purton lies a ship graveyard left for nature to take its course. Lying on the muddy banks of the River Severn, the broken wooden ships under a sea of wild grass is a sight for sore eyes. On a low tide, you can even spot the wreck of an old cargo ship which sunk in the middle of the river.

West Pier in Brighton, built in 1866 is an iconic symbol of this Victorian seaside destination. Closed and deteriorating since 1975, the silhouette structure bobbing in the water at sunset and circled by starlings is simply magical.
Located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, Dunluce Castle was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by a fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives. Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards.
Built as a form of defence during WWII, these giant concave mirrors were erected to detect enemy aircrafts. Discarded with the invention of radar, though an unsuccessful tool of warfare, these striking concrete structures are a must-see.

The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. From 1131 until 1349 the Abbey was thriving and then the Black Death arrived. This  badly affected Abbey life, but it managed to operate until 1536, when it was part of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.  Within a few years the lead was stripped from the roof and the building began to decay.

Immortalised in pop culture, most notably on the cover of Pink Floyds’ Animals,  Battersea Power Station is a significant symbol of London. Now a decommissioned coal-fired power station, it boasts being Europe’s largest brick building with lavish art deco interiors.
Located in the heart of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park stands the guardian fortress between Scotland and England, Harbottle Castle. First built on the orders of King Henry II, it over the centuries it has fallen to ruin, but in the midst of twilight beneath a blanket of stars, visitors can still catch a glimpse of the once proud citadel.
One of the capital’s old Tube stations, the Strand’s station has long been popular as a filming location and has appeared in a number of films. In recognition of its historical significance, it is now a Grade II listed building.
This beautiful expanse of water hides a ghostly past.  The remains of a derelict flax mill run down to the shore but beneath the reservoir lies a whole village. When the water is low, the ruins of the village begin to surface, shedding light on the old church, school, cottages, country lanes and garden walls. It is a beautiful spot for wildlife and has been immortalised in crime writer Peter Robinson’s A Dry Season.
Appuldurcombe House was once the grandest house on the Isle of Wight, but now just its shell remains. Positioned on the edge of the village of Wroxall, the front of the partially restored building remains an impressive example of Baroque architecture.

The extensive and picturesque ruins of Minster Lovell Hall are located in a beautiful rural setting beside the River Windrush. Originally home to Richard III's henchman Lord Lovell, one of the richest men in England, it was designed to serve as a symbol of great wealth, but after several changes of hands only the fascinating remains stand today. Approached from the north through the adjacent churchyard, the 15th century site comprises of a fine hall, tower and complete dovecote nearby.

Closed after WWI,  Devil’s Dyke covers the deepest dry valley in the world and 200 acres of splendid views into Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. It’s distinctive topography proved it to be a very popular tourist destination in the Edwardian era, boasting two bandstands, an observatory, a camera obscura and fairground rides. Records show that Devil’s Dyke welcomed 30,000 visitors on the August bank holiday of 1893.
Tyneham is Dorset's famous 'lost' village. Left uninhabited for forces training during WW2, the intervening years have left their mark on Tyneham where now only the old church and school house remain. With names on the pegs and schoolwork on the desks, it feels as if only minutes ago the children had run outside to play.
Built originally as a hospital-cum-chapel in the mid-late 10th century, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Old Grammar School in Coventry was set up as a free school under the ruling of King Henry VII. Later moving the school, the old site was visited by Queen Elizabeth I who donated for its upkeep in respect that her father started the foundation.
Devenish Monastic Site was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise on one of Lough Erne’s many beautiful islands. During its history it has been raided by Vikings (837AD), burned (1157AD) and flourished (Middle Ages) as a parish church site and St Mary’s Augustine Priory. The island is home to  ancient ruins and an impressive 12th century round tower.
Culver Hole is a large sea cave that is believed to date back to the 13th Century. Its entrance is sealed off by a 60ft high wall. Inside is a staircase that leads to four floors, and it is said to have had links to the castle that once stood in Port Eynon. Today, its only inhabitants are pigeons and seagulls.
These small fortified towers were built in the Thames Estuary during World War II to help defend Britain. They were operated as army and navy forts, and were decommissioned in the late 1950s. Their entry ladders were sawn off to prevent trespassers and charity Project Redsand is dedicated to maintaining the towers.
St Kilda was once populated by the unique and hardy Kildians, who due to poverty and starvation were forced to leave these islands in Scotland's Outer Hebrides in the last century. There is an abandoned village on the island where the houses are still relatively intact and stories and folklore about life on St Kilda has been preserved.
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10 PHOTOS
Ghost towns around the world
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John Maher's photos help save abandoned Scottish island cottages

Around 75 miles south east of Lake Tahoe lies the abandoned town of Bodie, which was originally a mining town founded for its discovery of gold in 1859. Its profitable discovery made Bodie a Wild West Boom town in 1876 and it produced nearly $34 million worth of gold. The population grew to up to 7,000 by 1879 but by 1880 Bodie started to decline as people moved on to other boomtowns. Today it attracts thousands of tourists every year to see its deserted streets and peer in the windows of the remaining buildings.

The village of Belchite is a monument to the Spanish Civil War, which took place between 1936 and 1939. It's been left as it was and is a unique place to visit in Spain, surrounded by low hills. The ghost town has shell-shattered ruins and an old village church which is open to the public and collapsible buildings roped off.

Image: kurtxio. Used under Creative Commons Licence CC BY 2.0.

Hashima Island or Gunjanjima as it's also known became a ghost island in 1974. It had residents from 1887 and was used for coal mining, which was in operation during the industrialisation of Japan. The country's first large concrete building was built here in 1916 as a block of apartments to accommodate the workers and protect against typhoon destruction. The 1960s saw petroleum replace coal so Japan's coal mines started to close, leading to Gunjanjima being abandoned. Today there are tour boats that depart from various locations in Nagasaki Port giving tourists a close look at the abandoned concrete buildings and its sea wall.

This ghost town located on a hill that's no stranger to landslides adding to its crumbling structure is only accessible by car and has an uninhabited old town. It was earthquakes and landslides that led to most of Craco's residents leaving in the 1960s. Today it's a must-see if you're travelling between Matera and the Pollino National Park. Be sure to admire the fantastic views from the castle's towers.

The ghost town of Kayakoy was abandoned during the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece and is today an open-air museum for you to wander its eerie streets. Fig trees, Orthodox churches and a fountain source from the 17th century are some of the features of Kayakoy and it's recently been awarded UNESCO Friendship and Peace Village status. It's also the setting for Louis de Bernieres's novel Birds Without Wings.

You don't have to travel too far to see an abandoned village as south Dorset has its own ghost town on the Isle of Purbeck. Tyneham was evacuated during World War II to be used as a firing range and a training ground for the troops but it was never returned to the residents and in 1948 a compulsory purchase order was placed on the land. It has remained a place for military training and today attracts visitors for its coastal scenery and to see what's left of the village. The main sights are a school and the restored St. Mary's Church, which now act as museums.

Located in the forbidden territory of Sperrgebiet, Kolmanskop was discovered as a town rich in diamonds in 1908 and soon after developed into a bustling centre with large houses, a school, casino, theatre and the first X-ray station in the southern hemisphere. Kolmanskop declined after World War I when diamond prices crashed. Richer diamond deposits were also discovered further south and operations were moved to the town of Oranjemund. Today the ghost town shows little resemblance to what it once was and is slowly being covered by sand dunes. Tourists can visit a museum and walk through houses that are knee-deep in sand.

This uninhabited mining town in Chile is a colourful ghost town that was built in 1905 to house workers as it was to become the world's largest underground copper mine El Teniente. It's known as the city of stairs as it was built on terrain too steep for wheeled vehicles so there are no roads and there was just a train that brought workers to the camp. Sewell has been preserved as a monument to its workers and their way of life. Its distinctive buildings in vivid colours are the main attraction.

Although Silverton is referred to as a ghost town, there's still a small population of 50 that remains. It was once a silver-ore-mining centre with up to 3000 residents but the end of the 19th century saw the high-grade ore around Silverton decrease and the discovery of an even richer silver-lead-zinc ore body in nearby Broken Hill which led to many of Silverton's residents abandoning the town. Today the old Silverton Hotel and Silverton Gaol still remain but the other original buildings have vanished or lie in ruins. It's also a top film location in Australia for its colonial buildings and scenic desert surroundings.

Before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha was a top tourist spot and had many hotels with rich and famous visitors including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot. The invasion led to a huge change and its residents fled leaving it abandoned ever since. There were various shopping streets, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the town but today it has been fenced off and only the Turkish military and United Nations personnel are allowed to enter. Nature is reclaiming the area and there have been sea turtles spotted nesting on the deserted beaches of the former holiday hotspot.

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