Anyone who’s walked around an old, abandoned house knows the strange sensation you get while peering into the private space of the previous occupants. The feeling of unease is even stronger if the house is still filled with the furniture and personal possessions of others.
“The house was so full of personal effects that it had an eerie stillness without the owners being there. Nowhere was this more evident than in the large, first floor room which housed an untold number of pictures and objects”. This is how the photographer, Josephine Pugh, described the atmosphere of this derelict manor house in Berkshire, which was abandoned 26 years ago after its last inhabitant died at the age of 96.
The present house was built in 1848 on the site of an earlier manor that, according to records, was rented by the family of the famous poet John Milton from 1632 to 1638. Milton was the writer of Paradise Lost – a phrase that could well apply to this once magnificent dwelling. While it’s sad to see such a splendid home disintegrating, it does make for beautiful and interesting photographs.