raf wyton photographic factory | and there it was on page 24

"I mentioned I was coming here to a work colleague," Tom said. "She said ‘Do you have permission’ and I said no." He paused. "I then got told off. I was told that I shouldn’t go anywhere without permission. I argued that the place was derelict, and smashed up, and completely vandalised, and no-one would care but she wouldn’t have it. Just went on and on about it."

"Well, she’s right," I countered, "but it's her loss. She’ll never experience or see many of the places we see. I bet 99% of the people who drive past this place just see a derelict shell or an eyesore. I wonder how many actually take notice of it and wonder what it was? And I wonder how many would actually stop to walk down this short road and take a look for themselves? And then discover that this small, anonymous, wretched building was the photographic processing centre for all the airbourne spying missions for the UK during the Cold War. Not many."

I finished off my beer. "Yup, she’s right. But I want satisfy my curiosity and learn about some of the unique places scattered around this country which are disappearing fast. So I’d much rather be in the wrong." And with that assessment, and the sky rapidly darkening, we left the photographic factory for the last time to return to our cars.

© Simon Cornwell 2011

Photographic Factory and RAF Wyton as seen from the former dog training compound. © Simon Cornwell 2008