Air Studios Montserrat

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

On the main road, out of the exclusion zone, just north of Plymouth.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

This is the tower of St Anthony’s Church.  Had I known about it at the time, I would have asked to visit.  It has been rebuilt no less than six times on the same site.  It was first built in 1635 when the colony was only a few years old by the first Governor, Anthony Brisket.  In 1666 it was burnt down by French and Caribs; on Christmas Day 1672 it was levelled by an earthquake; in 1712 it was destroyed by the French after they had used it as a barracks; in 1899 and 1928 it was destroyed by hurricanes; in 1989 it was damaged by a hurricane and in 1995 it was damaged by the volcano.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

Nearby, this is what is left of Air Studios, an international recording studio founded by George Martin, the Beatles manager.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

In the 70s and 80s, many artists recorded there including Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney, Police, Dire Straits, Climax Blues Band and Jimmy Buffett.  Here is a link to a video of the Stones recording there.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

What closed the studio though was not the eruptions, it was Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which destroyed villages, killed ten people, and had sustained winds of 220km/hr and gusts up to 385km/hr.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The interior was stripped in 2012 in preparation for a renovation but George Martin died and the renovation never happened.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

Back on the main road…

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The weather is clear and the volcano simmers away.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

This is Olveston House, where we had dinner.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

And later, a sunset over the sea from our balcony.

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The Milky Way over Montserrat.

.

Montserrat Springs Hotel

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

This is the entrance to Montserrat Springs Hotel, available to visit because it’s just outside of the exclusion zone.

.
Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

It was once an exclusive hotel with guests such as the Rolling Stones, and featured its own thermal springs.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

There was no-one at the reception desk when we visited so we couldn’t book a room.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The decor may have faded a little.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

An accounts book is open at June 1995.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The floor was renovated some years ago with the addition of a layer of volcanic mud.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

I think this was the dining room.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

… leading outside towards the pool.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

Diving is not recommended here any more because the mud is not as forgiving as water.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

But the salubrious fittings remain.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

From outside the hotel, some views of the ruined parts of Plymouth that were not entirely buried in the lahars and pyroclastic flows.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

An old sugar factory. it would seem.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

It looks inviting but is too far inside the exclusion zone to be available to visit.

.

Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano

The previous post covered the city of Plymouth, abandoned due to the volcanic eruption and the one before detailed the remarkable history of Montserrat.  There was an even more dramatic eruption in 1903 on an island not that far away.  Mount Pelée in Martinique erupted in that year, not far from the main town of Saint-Pierre.  They knew an eruption was taking place but expected lava, to be blocked by a valley, and they didn’t know about strato volcanoes and pyroclastic flows.  Only one person survived, protected by the thick walls of the town prison.  More detail on that in a post in a different blog here.

.

Plymouth (Montserrat)

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

We are about to enter into the high risk volcanic zone.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

You can only get in there when all is quiet and no volcanic activity is detected.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

All these images are from the abandoned capital of Plymouth.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

You have to go in with a trained operator.  The car must be parked facing the way out and the engine kept running at all times.  Pyroclastic flows can be lightning fast.  Entry has only been allowed since 2015 and permission will be withdrawn if there is more activity.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Looking south from the old wharf.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Government House, the residence of the Governor.

.Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

This is how it appeared in 1915.

(By National Archives, UK – Public Domain).

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

This is the Molyneaux Building, built in 1989 as the corporate office for Cable and Wireless and the Government’s Audit Department.  It was the only building built entirely of concrete and was the town’s tallest building at four stories high.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Much of the centre of Plymouth is actually completely buried beneath the ash and debris and there have been several layers through different eruptions.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

This is the Flora Fountain Hotel, built in 1984 and named for the fountain in the middle of the circular wing you can see in the distance.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Plymouth was evacuated in 1995, then abandoned and destroyed in 1997.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

No-one died in Plymouth itself but 19 people died further inland at Streatham Village in a pyroclastic flow in 1997, though the village was officially evacuated.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

On the left, the circular wing of the Flora Fountain hotel, the top floors.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Top floor of the Police Station.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

This is the building behind the Flora Fountain Hotel.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Government Building.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

After the 1997 eruption, about 7,000 people, two-thirds of the population, left Montserrat and  4,000 went to the UK.  The current population is around 5,000.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

An abandoned office.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Many of the buildings on the hill in the background were not completely destroyed by the eruption but the whole area will be uninhabitable for many years.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

In early 1998, there was a bank robbery in the vaults of an abandoned bank in Plymouth.  The robbers made six or seven visits to the bank and got away with $US300,000.  Eight people were arrested a few months later and most convicted.  The banks at least initially would not recognise stolen notes with listed ID numbers that had become in circulation.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Buildings above the inundation zone, still inaccessible.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Some areas saw more than twelve metres of mud and debris.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

We visited an abandoned sugar windmill tower in Richmond Hill, just outside the exclusion zone.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

We were able to climb up and see the view.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

Just because buildings are just outside the exclusion zone does not mean they can be reoccupied.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

On the far left with the brown rooves is the Montserrat Springs Hotel, that we shall visit in the next post.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

These were once upmarket dwellings.

.

(See previous post for details of the fascinating history of Montserrat).

(Trivia note:  Just passed 1,000 posts a few posts ago).