2010 was an exciting year from Urban Ghosts! Before we begin we’d like to say a belated happy New Year, and thank you very much to all – whether you’ve been a fan from the start or discovered the site in the last few weeks – for your ongoing support and encouragement. All feedback, be it positive, constructive criticism, or a heads-up about something you feel we should feature, is greatly appreciated. We’d like to take this opportunity to recap the last 12 months and give you an idea of where we’re heading in 2011 – with some great photos thrown in too!
Last August, Urban Ghosts Media celebrated its first birthday with a hark back to our very first feature about the Angel of the North by Antony Gormley. We’ll do the same now, returning to the start of 2010. After a few months finding our feet and learning what this thing called blogging was really all about, January/February 2010 marked the point where the articles (hopefully) became more sophisticated, and our hits jumped from a few hundred each month to in excess of 1,000 per day, and rising. Early 2010 articles we’re particularly proud of include deserted villages on mysterious Scottish islands, ghost towns and abandoned movie theatres.
In other popular articles we chronicled the short and long lives of the enigmatic RMS Titanic as well as the impressive American aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, which was deliberately sunk to create an incredible dive spot now known as the Great Carrier Reef. Another first was discovering incoming links from Wikipedia. As it happens, someone added our article about the failed “UFO Houses” (aka Sanzhi Pod City) in Taiwan to the external links of the abandoned resort’s Wikipedia entry. Thanks very much, whoever you are!
So what can you expect in 2011? The answer is more of the same, and so much more! We currently have several ongoing series, such as Lost American Airfields of the World (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and Abandoned Towns and Cities of the World (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) to name just a few. We’re also steadily cataloguing various abandonments in group format (all works-in-progress to be continued throughout the coming months). These include Abandoned Aircraft, Airfields and Terminals, Abandoned Hospitals, Hotels and Schools, Abandoned Railways, Trains, Stations, Tunnels & Bridges, and Abandoned Arcades, Markets and Shopping Centres.
Urban Ghosts began as an online magazine about abandoned and forgotten places of historical significance, many of which still exist but are lost to our modern world (such as those strewn across the Rult Belt, isolated island settlements and tiny Pacific atolls formerly home to all manner of military testing and equipment). That is still very much our bread and butter content, and we’ll continue to dig-up more fascinating and unique places to write about. But we’ve also explored other avenues:
We’ve started expanding our Legend and Art & Architecture categories to become an increasing focus of the year ahead, but tied in more effectively to our pillar Abandoned content. We use the term “legend” broadly, examining some decidedly modern myths such as top secret aircraft that may or may not exist, as well as folktales (see also Little John’s grave/Robin Hood) and ancient traditions that occasionally find their way into modern society. We’ve also covered bizarre hauntings and unsettling urban myths of the natural world, and intend to fill this category with more offbeat legends, both old and new, over the coming year.
Although it’s not been a main focus so far, we’ve delivered several popular articles on (urban) art, and even experimented with posts on digital art and animation to mix things up a bit, as seen in the fantastic work of Denis Zilber. Articles include the award-winning and fantastically funny signpost photography of Dominic Greyer, the wonderfully freaky post-apocalyptic art of Christophe Dessaigne, creative post-Halloween pumpkin carving, environmentally friendly “reverse graffiti“, Daniel Dancer’s Art for the Sky, incredible warplane art (real jets!) and even chainsaw carving. (More here.)
The plan for 2011 is to deliver more articles like these, but ensure they’re tied in appropriately with our core mission focussing on abandoned places, hidden history and alternative travel. One perfect example that managed to combine both art and abandonment – becoming the most popular Urban Ghosts article to date with 26,000 hits on StumbleUpon – was our report of vintage posters discovered in an abandoned section of Notting Hill Gate tube station in London.
None of this would be possible without your constant encouragement, support and feeback, which we’re incredibly grateful for. As the site grows into a repository of information, please continue to explore our archives and tell your friends if you discover any fun pieces they’d be interested in. If you’re new to Urban Ghosts, there are a variety of ways in which you can follow our content, including Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed or receive updates by email (simply enter your email address in the right sidebar to have stories delivered to your inbox).
(Image: Matt Lambros, reproduced with permission)
Last but certainly not least, a massive thank you to all the photographers who have allowed us to use their work either through direct permission or via the Creative Commons network. Thanks also to Chris Ingham Brooke (founder of Environmental Graffiti) for inviting us into his excellent network, Scribol, and offering much appreciated advice and encouragement on how to grow and improve Urban Ghosts. We’d also like to thank Alex, Joe and Miss Cellania from Neatorama, as well as Avi from Dark Roasted Blend, a top blog focussing on all things weird and wonderful, who gave us the opportunity to co-author an article with him for publication on DRB.