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Exploration - Mavis Valley

posted 23 Jul 2010, 04:59 by Andrew Conway
Anyone who knows me can easily picture me engaged in one of my favourite pastimes - struggling through undergrowth in some out-of-the-way, semi-urban location hunting for relics of by-gone industry. I'm not after the holy grail, stolen Nazi booty or buried treasure, but the chance to glimpse the foundations of an old building, bridge, tunnel or railway. This isn't without its dangers, which are often varied and amusing (at least with hindsight), ranging from cutting myself on rusty barbed wire, falling into old tarpits and even being followed by gentlemen who view my presence in the undergrowth as part of some courting ritual.

To document my, ahem, intrepid adventures, I've created a new Exploration page on this website and the first place featured is the lost village of Mavis Valley, pictured in its current overgrown and almost buildingless state.

You'll notice that most of the information I gather doesn't come from my visits themselves but from pouring over old maps, census data and other written records. My main source of information is the web itself. Most of what I'm interested in - that is, industrial archaeology - will soon pass out of living memory and all earthly traces are being erased by housing developments and so soon their memories will mostly only exist on the web. Hopefully I can add to that a bit with this website.

You may wonder, why bother, isn't this just historical navel gazing? My short answer is that I'm just interested in it. But, if you forced me to rationalize it, I might say that you can learn from the past and learn about some unchanging aspects of human nature that were manifest in everything from the industrial revolution's tiniest miners' cottages to its cathedralesque retort houses, wrought-iron decorated sewage pumping stations and grand railways.