The Belgian Steam Motor, Trialled in Chicago in 1892

The short-lived Belgian Steam Motor

(Image: Internet Archive Book Images. The Belgian Steam Motor)

I’ve always loved seeing illustrations of vintage transportation, and this chunky-looking contraption caught my eye as I trawled through the Commons. The decorative 19th century tramcar was known as the Belgian Steam Motor and crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the USA to be trialled by the North Chicago Street Railroad. Unlike most streetcars of the period, which were electrically operated or cable-hauled, this one was – as its name suggests – steam powered, and it was heavy.

The Street Railway Review reported:

“In January, 1892, the North Chicago road imported a steam dummy built in Ghent, Belgium. The car was of iron, 12 ft. long, 8 ft. wide, weighed 7 tons, contained 25 horse-power engines and cost $7,000. The improvement lay in a muffling of the exhaust steam. It was given a fair trial, but soon abandoned.”

Keep Reading: 8 Abandoned Tram Tunnels and Trolley Graveyards

Bogota’s Edificio Santalaia Among World’s Largest Vertical Gardens

(Image: Groncol. Edificio Santalaia vertical garden in Bogotá)

If you’re a fan of vertical gardens, you’ll love Edificio Santalaia, an upmarket residential building in the densely populated Colombian capital, Bogotá. Situated alongside embassies in the heart of the Rosales neighbourhood, affording it stunning views of the hills to the east, Santalaia’s facade hosts 85,000 plants, making it one of the world’s largest vertical gardens.

Kurt from WebUrbanist wrote that the “extensive living facade system” represented “growth in the right direction, away from unrealistic tree-covered skyscrapers toward more sustainable and useful vertical greenery.”

(Image: Groncol)

The verdant living system, which was developed by Ignacio Solano of Paisajismo Urbano and installed by Groncol, covers 33 square metres of the 11 storey building and is able to supply the annual oxygen needs of 3,000 people while filtering out heavy metals and other toxins.

Oddity Central writes that the “stunning vertical garden was completed in December 2015, after eight months of planning, and another eight months of hard work. Today, it is often referred to as “the green heart of Bogota”, and acts both as an icon of sustainability, as well as a reminder of the important role that plants play in our daily lives.”

It certainly looks cool, but vertical gardens are complex and require careful planning and execution in order to be effective. Drawing a distinction between “intensive” and “extensive” greenery, WebUrbanist suggests that Edificio Santalaia’s design may serve its residents well.

“The recent trend of putting trees onto tall towers is problematic from engineering and ecological standpoints,” says the website. “‘Intensive’” greenery requires thicker layers of soil and more complex systems for watering, maintenance and structural support. ‘Extensive’ greenery, by contrast, provides many of the same benefits with lower cost and less wasted energy.”

Read Next: Bosco Verticale: Stefano Boeri™s Amazing Vertical Forest

10 Unfinished Structures Around the World

Explore 10 unfinished structures around the world

There™s a romance to things that are incomplete and unfinished. Maybe the different possibilities allow our imaginations to paint something grander than it ever really could have been. Maybe it™s just the nostalgia us humans seem to have for lost projects and unrealised dreams. Whatever the reason, it™s hard to deny that such failures are endlessly fascinating. Here are 10 unfinished structures from around the world that will likely never be completed.

Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS)

Unfinished Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System

(Image: Paul_012)

When somewhere has a name like œThailand™s Stonehenge”, it™s hard not to feel your anticipation rising. What sort of mystical place could possibly justify such a beautiful name?

Sadly for fans of the Druidic and the New Age, the name given to the remnants of Bangkok™s Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS) is heavily ironic. Originally started in 1990 as a way of connecting the airport to the city, it was abandoned in 1998 with only the concrete pillars already built. Sticking out of bushes and scrubland beside roads, the pillars so resemble standing stones that some wag decided to rename them after Stonehenge.

Like many projects in the region, BERTS was ended by the Asian financial crisis of 1997. As the economy went into freefall, the government was forced to abandoned all hope of ever completing it. It was reported in 2013 that sections of the unfinished structure would be demolished to make way for a new railway on the same route.

Torre de la Escollera

The abandoned Torre de la Escollera in Colombia before demolition

(Image: Jorever)

As Venezuela has its Torre de David, so neighbouring Colombia had its Torre de la Escollera. Built in the magical colonial port city of Cartagena, the tower would have risen above every other building in Colombia, topping out at an impressive 58 floors. It was daringly slender, a design choice that may have contributed to its early demise. Two years into construction, a tropical storm struck the city. The winds twisted the unfinished structure so badly that there was little option left but to abandon the partially-built residential tower.

Colombia's unfinished Torre de la Escollera has now been dismantled

(Image: Jorever)

The Torre de la Escollera wound up standing empty for the best part of a year before Cartagena™s authorities finally tore it down. All that remains now are photos of this peculiar time; the skeletal tower itself wrapped in blue plastic sheeting, like some strange ghost floating forlornly on Cartagena™s horizon.

Cape to Cairo Railway

Boarding the Cape to Cairo Railway in the Belgian Congo during the early decades of the 20th century

(Image: via Wikipedia)

Had it been completed, the Cape to Cairo Railway would be a journey to match the Trans-Siberian. Stretching over 4,000 miles from the very north of Africa right the way through to the continent™s southern tip, it would have passed through desert, through swampland, over canyons and across mountains on a journey unparalleled in world history.

The Rhodes Colossus: caricature of Cecil Rhodes

(Image: Edward Linley Sambourne; The Rhodes Colossus caricature)

Dreamed up by Cecil Rhodes in the 19th century as a means of connecting Cairo to the British held southern states of Africa, the railway was never to be finished, perhaps for the simple reason that it was a bad idea to begin with. Competition from sea freight and the imperial ambitions of other colonial powers delayed the project. There were also practicalities in terms of the harsh and varied African geography, not to mention the economic woes of the Great Depression.

The final nail in the Cape to Cairo’s coffin came with the decolonisation of Africa post World War Two. Yet, the railway wasn™t a total failure. About two thirds (the north and south sections) were built, and much is still in operation today.

Woodchester Mansion

The unfinished Woodchester Mansion in England

(Image: Matthew Lister Ttamhew)

Woodchester Mansion is like a prop from Jonathan Creek, a ready illusion seemingly designed to confuse all who investigate its secrets. From the front, it appears to be an ordinary English mansion from the 19th century. But inside, things get seriously strange. There are no insides. When Woodchester was abandoned in 1873, only the outside had been completed. The unfinished structure is now a bizarre, empty shell.

This gives the Woodchester Mansion an eerie feeling rarely found in such buildings. Walking inside is an experience both surreal and fascinating. The reasons for its lack of completion are vague and manifold. The owner, William Leigh, died; his family ran out of money; or maybe his architect moved to Algeria. Whatever the true reason for its lack of completion, the unfinished mansion stands today as a stranger place than even a ruin would have been.

Centro Financiero Confinanzas

Abandoned and unfinished: the Centro Financiero Confinanzas

(Image: EneasMx)

Forget the fancy name. The Centro Financiero Confinanzas in Caracas, Venezuela, is better known by its nickname: the Tower of David (Torre de David). A derelict, unfinished skyscraper stretching 45 floors into the Andean sky, it was begun in 1990 but abandoned in 1994, when a banking crisis hit the Venezuelan economy. Intended to be a hotel, it soon unfinished structure something much more dystopian. A city-within-a-city, overwhelmed by squatters.

At its height at the turn of the decade, the Centro Financiero Confinanzas was filled with some 5,000 homeless citizens of Caracas, living in the unfinished rooms that spiked up into the sky. Since the Tower lacked glass, this must™ve been a faintly-terrifying prospect, especially on blustery days when storms rolled in off the mountains. Although the government evicted the squatters in summer 2014, the unfinished building itself has been left to stand, a skeleton grinning over the city™s skyline.

Villa Trissino (Meledo di Sarego)

The unfinished Villa Trissino (Meledo di Sarego)

(Image: Hans A. Rosbach)

It™s rare for an unfinished structure to net itself a UNESCO World Heritage designation. But most unfinished buildings weren™t designed by Andrea Palladio. An architect who worked within the Republic of Venice, Palladio was the guy who brought Ancient Roman design principles to bear on the architectural style that came to be named after him: Palladian. His influence cannot be underestimated.

As a result, even his unfinished buildings have been preserved for future generations, such as the Villa Trissino at Meledo di Sarego. Cracked and peeling away beneath the blazing Italian sun, its walls the same colour as the dry grass around it, the unfinished villa still cuts an impressive sight, all these years later. Left to go to ruin in the 16th century, it is today an important monument to one man™s genius, and the impact that genius had on our world.

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

The ruined Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens

(Image: Valentin Fiumefreddo)

We™re cheating a little with this one. The Temple of Olympian Zeus was indeed completed at one stage; what we see today are merely ruins left by the passing centuries. However, it wasn™t completed on schedule or even shortly afterwards. The temple was left as an unfinished ruin for nearly 650 years, a gap of time equal to that separating you from the Crusades, the Black Death, and Geoffrey Chaucer.

The temple had been started in the strange period when ancient Athens experimented with being a dictatorship. When democracy was restored, people evidently regarded the Temple of Olympian Zeus the same way we today regard the building projects of North Korea or Communist Romania. It wasn™t until Emperor Hadrian came along in the 2nd century that it was finally finished. But less than a century after its completion, it was destroyed.

National Monument of Scotland

The unfinished National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill in Edinburgh

(Image: Colin)

If you climb Calton Hill in central Edinburgh, an odd sight will greet you at the summit. Alongside the many grand monuments put up in the 19th century sits a ruin seemingly out of ancient Greece. Stone pillars rise up into the drizzly Scottish air, forming three quarters of a wall. But this isn™t some Hellenistic refugee. It™s the National Monument of Scotland, and it has stood unfinished since 1829.

The unfinished structure was originally intended to honour Scots who died during the Napoleonic Wars. Unfortunately, construction began without enough funds in place for completion, and the project was terminated three years after it began. This caused uproar in the 19th century, with claims that Scotland was dishonouring its dead. But today, the National Monument of Scotland’s unfinished state only adds to the atmosphere of Calton Hill.

Lyveden New Bield

Lyveden New Bield

(Image: Wehha)

If Woodchester Mansion does its best to hide its unfinished state, Lyveden New Bield has no such hang ups. An unfinished summer house in Northamptonshire, it was started at the very dawn of the 17th century as a place Sir Thomas Tresham could escape to from his larger manor. Sadly, history would stand in the way of it ever being completed, as the Catholic Tresham family got swept up in the religious turmoil consuming Britain in the aftermath of Elizabeth I™s death.

The year after the house was started, Sir Thomas died, and control of the project was handed to his son. Unfortunately, his son managed to get entangled in a little something known as the Gunpowder Plot, a state of affairs that resulted in his swift execution. With the family in ruins, the unfinished structure was also left to fall into disrepair. Eventually acquired by the National Trust, Lyveden New Bield stands as an empty monument to those turbulent times in British history.

Foreshore Freeway Bridge

The unfinished Foreshore Freeway Bridge in Cape Town

(Image: Paul Mannix)

In the middle of Cape Town is a bridge that goes nowhere. Jutting out from a stretch of freeway, it curves around to the left, before abruptly ending in a sudden drop onto the concrete below. Thanks to the road markings painted right up to the very end, it looks less like an incomplete bridge, and more like one that has had its second half snatched away. It is the Foreshore Freeway Bridge, and it™s Cape Town™s weirdest tourist attraction.

The bridge was originally started back in the early 1970s, at a time when South Africa was still living under Apartheid. Although the unfinished structure was meant to symbolise the future of transport in the country, it wound up grinding to an abrupt halt when the money ran out (although urban legend says it was actually due to an engineering miscalculation which would have resulted in the bridge™s two ends failing to meet up). Fast forward to today, and it™s a minor icon of Cape Town.

A number of ideas have been put forward over the years for the unfinished overpass’s reuse, including planting trees on it and transforming it into a linear urban park – rather like the Seoul Skygarden which opened recently.

Read Next: 10 Abandoned Nuclear Power Stations That Were Never Completed

The Abandoned Hunger Circuses of Ceaușescu’s Romania

The skeletal ruin of an abandoned hunger circus in the Rahova area of Bucharest, a hangover from the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceau

(Image: Joe Mabel. Abandoned hunger circus in Rahova, Bucharest)

Impressed by the mobilisation of North Korea’s Juche ideology during his 1971 visit, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceau™escu embarked on his own programme of “systematisation” several years later in the field of urban planning. From 1974, Ceau™escu’s communist regime instigated the partial or entire demolition of cities, towns and villages, reconstructing them in accordance with his vision for an independent socialist society.

The move was partly intended to bring modern conveniences to the countryside and stem the flow of rural Romanians to the cities. But the destruction of many historic buildings, especially churches and monasteries, raised concern in neighbouring countries, and forever altered the built environment. In rural areas, strict guidelines governing agricultural plots often negatively impacted subsistence farming, and a number of larger infrastructure projects were abandoned after the Romania Revolution of 1989. Among the country’s strangest ruins were the so-called hunger circuses, great unfinished food markets whose skeletal forms rose from the landscape.

Wasteland in Bucharest near a redeveloped hunger circus

(Image: Todd Kopriva. Wasteland near a redeveloped circus of hunger)

The abandoned hunger circus pictured above stood in Rahova, a Sector 5 neighbourhood of southwest Bucharest, Romania’s capital and largest city. The strange domed ruin, located to the west of the Dâmboviţa River, was among a series of identical buildings designed during Ceau™escu’s systemisation programme.

There’s an irony to the name, of course. The colloquial use of “circus” came from the circus-like domed architecture of the buildings, but the term soon came to be used as a source of ridicule due to the communist government’s policy of exporting the bulk of the Romania’s agricultural produce to pay down foreign debt. What had been conceived as giant “complex agroalimentar”, or food hypermarkets and public refectories, had come to be associated with hunger and scarcity.

Liberty Center Mall in Rahova, Bucharest.

(Image: Google Street View. Liberty Center Mall on the site of the derelict hunger circus)

When Nicolae Ceau™escu and his wife Elena were executed on Christmas Day 1989, only two hunger circuses were up and running. One is near Bucharest’s Unirea Shopping Center and another now forms part of a public market in the city’s Delfinului area. The shells of other abandoned hunger circus ruins stood incomplete around the Romanian capital for years, amid a sea of rusting construction equipment that lay equally derelict.

Most would later be redeveloped. But perhaps the final irony is that most of these ill-fated communist-era structures would be completed after the 1989 Romanian Revolution, forming the heart of western-styled shopping malls. They include City Mall and Plaza România in Militari, and Bucharest Mall in Vitan. One abandoned hunger circus now houses a university.

Liberty Center Mall in Bucharest, built on the site of one of Romania's abandoned hunger circuses.

(Image: Google Street View. Rahova’s Liberty Center Mall)

The Rahova hunger circus (top), meanwhile, was partially demolished soon after the photograph was taken in 2006. In its place stands the modern Liberty Center Mall (above), which also incorporates an indoor ice rink and 3D cinema.

Read Next: Dead Malls: 9 Abandoned Arcades, Markets and Shopping Centres

Boeing 727 Cockpit Displayed in Syracuse Airport Terminal

Boeing 727 cockpit section in the passenger terminal at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, New York.

(Images: Urban Ghosts & Instagram. Boeing 727 cockpit at Syracuse Airport)

In the passenger terminal at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Onondaga County, New York, can be found the cockpit of a retired Boeing 727 along with several other components of the old jetliner.

The cockpit section, undercarriage and a short length of fuselage all came from a Boeing 727 aircraft built in 1970 for Eastern Air Lines.

(Image: @planedailymag via Instagram)

The airliner was later leased to Pan American World Airways from 1989 and 1991 before passing to its last owner, Amerijet International, a cargo airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In addition to the cockpit and undercarriage, there's also a short length of fuselage giving an overview of the onboard seating configuration.

The fuselage cutout offers a glimpse of the 727’s seating and luggage configuration, while the flight instruments remain installed behind a perspex sheet.

The fuselage cut-out in the terminal of Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Onondaga County, NY.

Since the type’s introduction on February 1, 1964 with Eastern Air Lines, 1,832 Boeing 727s have rolled off the production line. The last 727 was built in 1984, though a number of airframes remain in limited service for cargo and private passenger transport.

This Boeing 727 was built in 1970 for Eastern Air Lines and ended its flying days with Amerijet International in 1996.

A number of retired Boeing 727s have been repurposed as offbeat houses and hotels. At Syracuse Hancock Airport, meanwhile, the plane parts add an interesting diversion on the lower level of the quiet passenger terminal.

Read Next: A Graveyard of Abandoned Airliners at Benin City Airport, Nigeria

The Eerie Shell of the Jerma Palace Hotel, Malta

The abandoned Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala, Malta, seen from the derelict outdoor swimming pool(Image: Nathaniel Cosford. Malta’s abandoned Jerma Palace Hotel)

The abandoned Jerma Palace Hotel closed its doors and bid its last guest adieu in 2007. The last decade has not been kind to the grand vacation spot, which was once a jewel of southern Malta and located adjacent to another local landmark, the 17th century Saint Thomas Tower.

The Times of Malta reported in August 2016 that the building’s owners had been ordered to demolish the Jerma Palace Hotel, which had become something of a dumping ground over the years. “It has been left unattended for too long,” Planning Parliamentary Secretary Deborah Schembri said as the committee issued an official notice to the building’s owners, requiring them to tear down the seaside structure.

Malta's derelict Jerma Palace Hotel(Image: Nathaniel Cosford)

With panoramic views of the Mediterranean, the Jerma Palace Hotel had a short life, despite the grand plans that developers had for it when it was built in 1982. It was meant to be a go-to destination in the south of Malta, transforming the small fishing village of Marsaskala into a tourist resort.

And for a time, it worked. The four-star hotel was even big enough – and impressive enough – for the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to keep a presidential suite in reserve there.

The Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsaskala is little more than a crumbling, derelict shell(Image: Continentaleurope)

The Jerma Palace Hotel was defined by marble floors and sweeping vistas. But after it closed, it didn’t take long for anything of value to be stripped out, and the once-luxurious destination to be left in a state of early disrepair. The abandoned hotel went downhill quickly, and soon it became a haven for the area’s shadier characters. The interior walls were covered with graffiti, and drug paraphernalia littered the floors.

(Image: Continentaleurope)

A number of fires swept through the property and destroyed much of what was left, fuelled by the garbage illegally dumped on the site. In 2015, the dilapidated ruin was hit by scandal when it was reported that people smugglers were using it as a drop-off point for Syrian refugees entering Malta.

(Image: Google Earth)

Amid repeated appeals by its current owners postponing the demolition process, the future of the derelict site remains to be seen. No concrete proposals have been put forward for its reuse, and the Malta Independent reported in February 2017 that appeals were still being heard. Meanwhile, the remains of Marsaskala’s abandoned Jerma Palace Hotel falls ever further into ruin.

Related: 10 Abandoned Hotels from Eastern Europe to Asia, Africa & Oceania

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There’s an Opportunity to Rebuild Penn Station the Way it Once Was

Penn Station in New York City(Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

There are many reasons for doing one’s best to avoid New York City’s Penn Station, but after finding myself there once again last month, it brought to mind the ongoing debate over the transport hub’s future. Our favourite proposal, by far, which Treehugger has covered over the last few years, is to build a new station that’s the same as the old one. That is, use modern technologies to recreate the original Pennsylvania Station in all its elegant glory.

The elegant facade of the original Penn Station in New York City could be rebuilt(Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter revisited the topic earlier this week, referencing a response from the National Civic Art Society:

Reconstructing Penn Station will not just dramatically improve the experience of travelers and visitors. Ranking with Grand Central Terminal and other great national landmarks, a rebuilt Penn Station will have a significant direct economic impact on the Midtown West/Hudson Yards/Upper Highline area. While the reconstruction we propose will rigorously respect our architectural heritage, we seek to improve upon the original station, providing not just a transportation facility but a civic focal point with amenities that will invite the public to visit and linger.

A vision of the inside of NYC's original Pennsylvania Railway Station - rebuilt(Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

Over the years a great many beautiful buildings have been torn down and replaced by modernist structures that have arguably failed to stand the test of time. Could there now be a place for a small number of sympathetically recreated landmarks to compliment the bold designs of the present and future? Though it was never demolished, the renovation of St Pancras Station in London demonstrates how a rundown transport hub can become a grand destination in its own right.

The original Pennsylvania Station in NYC before demolition(Image: via Wikipedia)

Alter sums up: “I usually dislike reproductions and reconstructions, and believe that one can mix new and old. But Penn Station is a different case; it is righting a wrong, giving us back something that should never have been taken away.” Read his full article here.

Read Next: 10 Abandoned (& Repurposed) Railway Stations of the World

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Forgotten Buses Linger On Inside This Derelict Depot

The forgotten buses remain parked inside a derelict depot long after it ceased to operate(Image: Robin Decay. Forgotten buses in a derelict depot)

As we’ve seen in previous articles, abandoned bus stations can be highly atmospheric places, especially those characterised by grand architecture, or ones with a distinctly iconic quality to them – the old Evansville Greyhound station in Indiana springs to mind. This one, photographed by Flickr user “Robin Decay” may seem drab and ordinary by comparison, but the presence of several abandoned buses parked in the gloom adds interest to the scene.

We don’t know if this derelict bus depot still exists, or whether like so many others its been demolished and redeveloped. But for those who enjoy the evolution and changing face of urban transportation, these images will likely be of interest.

(Image: Robin Decay)

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Seoullo Skygarden: From Abandoned Highway to Linear Park

Seoullo Skygarden by Dutch architects MVRDV, an abandoned 1970s highway in Seoul, South Korea, that has been repurposed as an elevated urban park.(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist. Seoullo Skygarden)

Earlier this month Urban Ghosts visited Syracuse, New York, where Interstate 81 effectively splits the downtown in half, and has fuelled a compelling debate about the highway’s future (find out more about Rethinking I-81 here). This got us thinking about potential reuses for the urban road, and brought to mind a proposal we reported on back in 2015 to transform an abandoned highway into a linear urban park. That project (known as Seoullo Skygarden) has now come to fruition.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

The long-abandoned 1970s overpass in Seoul, South Korea, is now the domain of more than 24,000 different plants. It was designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, who delivered an elevated park connecting public spaces that had previously been fragmented by roads and railway infrastructure.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

WebUrbanist wrote: “The Skygarden is packed with 645 potted trees and around 228 species and sub-species of plants, adding a significant amount of greenery to a highly paved area of the city… The route is set up to create a network of hotels, shops, gardens and other attractions, enlivening the centre of the city.”

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

The 1970s highway overpass was abandoned some years ago after it was found to be unsafe and not fit for its intended purpose. The task of turning the condemned structure into Seoullo Skygarden fell to MVRDV, whose designed incorporated a collection of individual small gardens, and created a landscape that would change with the seasons and evolve over time.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

MVRDV said that “new ‘satellite’ gardens can connect to the Skygarden, sprouting like branches from the existing structural piers.” They added: “These extensions can inspire further additions to the area’s greenery and public spaces, and will connect the Skygarden to its surroundings both physically and visually through plant species related to each of the neighborhoods.”

Hat tip: WebUrbanist.

Read Next: 10 Inspiring Examples of Adaptive Reuse Architecture

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Restoration Beckons for Neglected Collection of Vintage British Jets

This neglected Hawker Sea Hawk is among a corroding collection of vintage British jets that are set to be restored by volunteers.(Image: Dave Harding. Vintage Hawker Sea Hawk and other classic British jets)

Purposely hidden from view behind storage buildings on a remote farm in the UK are a number of vintage British jets. This small, privately-owned collection of classic aircraft, which date back to the 1950s, includes a Gloster Meteor T.7, Hawker Hunter F.6, Hawker Sea Hawk FB.3, Hunting Jet Provost T.3 and two de Havilland Vampire T.11s.

A neglected de Havilland Vampire T.11(Image: Dave Harding. de Havilland Vampire T.11)

The owner, a lifelong aviation enthusiast, acquired the jets over a period of 20 years, and by doing so undoubtedly saved them from the prospect of ending their days on the fire dump or at the hands of the scrap-man.

A vintage Hawker Hunter F.6 emerges from foliage(Image: Dave Harding. Hawker Hunter F.6)

Unfortunately, however, a lack of cover at the farm resulted in the aircraft being permanently stored outside. More than three decades of neglect and constant exposure to the elements has taken its toll on the condition of the vintage airframes.

Gloster Meteor T.7 preserved on a farm in the UK(Image: Dave Harding. Gloster Meteor T.7)

During this time, the cockpit pod of one Vampire T.11, being of mainly wooden construction, disintegrated to the point where it had to be cut away from the fuselage. It was subsequently moved on for spare parts and eventually scrapped in 2012. The hulk of the jet is still located at the farm.

de Havilland Vampire T.11 hulk

Remains of the abandoned de Havilland Vampire T.11(Images: Dave Harding. de Havilland Vampire T.11 hulk)

The plight of these historic aircraft has long been the cause of much concern and debate among collectors and preservation groups. But despite the numerous offers to buy and restore the jets, the owner refuses to part with them.

A stripped-out Hawker Sea Hawk cockpit(Image: Dave Harding. Sea Hawk cockpit)

After years languishing outdoors amongst overgrown foliage, rusty machinery and other debris, these images were taken just days before a group of volunteer enthusiasts, by arrangement with the owner, arrived to give the aircraft some much-needed TLC. Since then the entire area has been cleared and work is currently ongoing to clean and restore the airframes to a much-improved condition.

This Hunting Jet Provost could be returned to ground running condition by aviation enthusiasts(Image: Dave Harding. Hunting Jet Provost)

At least two of the jets, the Meteor and the Jet Provost, are complete with their engines still installed. There is now talk of a future project to restore the JP to ground-running condition. It’s also possible that a shelter may be provided once the clean-up is complete.

Vampire T.11 tail booms(Image: Dave Harding. Vampire T.11)

Jet Provost jet pipe(Image: Dave Harding. JP jet pipe)

Gloster Meteor engine(Image: Dave Harding. Meteor engine)

Weeds grow through the wing of the Hunter F.6(Image: Dave Harding. Weeds sprout through the wing of the Hunter F.6)

Read Next: 21 Abandoned Airplane Graveyards (Where Aviation History Goes to Die)

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