Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Welcome to Imber...beware of the bombs!
Imber. Population: 0
my dad, brother and i decided to head to Imber for our annual Boxing Day constitutional walk.  just a quick drive from my parents home, past Stonehenge, is the uninhabited village of Imber. it's only open to the public on limited dates including Christmas and Easter (access times can be found here) as it's currently owned by the Ministry of Defense and has been used by the army for training since WWII.
christmas weather looking mean and moody over the 'henge
hey Matt, welcome to the cheery village of Imber

a settlement at Imber is believed to go back as far as the Iron Age, it's also mentioned in the Domesday Book and the church of St Giles dates back to the 13th century, with medieval paintings adorning the walls.  sadly the population of Imber dwindled towards the end of the 19th century and later the MoD began buying up surrounding property. eventually in 1943 the villagers were given just over a month to leave (in the belief they would come back) so that the US army could use it to practice for the invasion of Europe.  the villagers have never been allowed back, though there have been attempts to, with exiled villagers taking the army to court over it in the 1960s - but to no avail. 
Entrance to Imber, with St Giles in the background
Out of Bounds...hmmm...never stopped us at school!
Ghost Town
while there we bumped into my dad's mate in his vintage motor...nice.
Matt & my dad, goosestepping outside the old pub....ahem
i first heard about Imber in 2003 when Artangel organised a promenade musical performance through the village.  i didn't make the performance and have only just made it to the village in 2011 but definitely plan to go back in 2012 (check out the BBC link here for a slideshow about Imber).
the whole place was just so haunting and beautiful - all those derelict, empty buildings just made me think of the work of my fave painter Lee Madgwick - i wonder if he's been here.  you know...there's just one thing missing in this place....not ONE abandoned mattress...surely some mistake.

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