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Haunting photos of ‘house of sadness’ untouched 17 years after it was abandoned

False teeth rest above a decaying sink and clothes still hang in a wardrobe in these haunting images of an abandoned home dubbed the “house of sadness”.

The property in the small village of Hirst Courtney, North Yorkshire, has been left to rot with a widow’s belongings still scattered throughout and tins of food still on shelves some 17 years on.

Spider webs and thick layers of dust and grime cover surfaces and possessions, a woman’s dressing gown hangs on the back of a door and children’s toys and teddy bears sit in an upstairs room.

A Harrogate-based urban explorer who snapped these pictures said the house is stuck in a “time warp” – and it has a tragic back story.

Have you been affected by this story? Email webnews@mirror.co.uk.

False teeth, toothbrushes and razors inside a bathroom in the home

It is said the property belonged to a 86-year-old woman who died alone inside the house in 2003.

Her possessions were never cleared out after the property was inherited by her son who is believed to live overseas, said the young explorer, who runs a Facebook page called Lost Places & Forgotten Faces.

He said the “time capsule” is filled with old artifacts, family photos, wedding albums, calendars and newspapers that were purchased or delivered shortly before the owner’s death, and others from the 1990s.

It is said the owner of the house was a widow who died 17 years ago


In the bathroom, false teeth, toothbrushes, razors and a toy boat rest above a sink, clothes are piled in a hamper, and medication and lotions are still in a cabinet.

The toilet and bathtub are covered in grime.

Black and white photos, postcards and other belongings are scattered on a bed in a bedroom, where the floor is also covered with possessions and there is graffiti on a wall.

Another bedroom photo shows an old record player, a poster of singer Kate Bush and piles of decades-old magazines.

Tins of food and bottles of condiments still sit on shelves, there are empty bottles of cognac, an old TV rests on a desk and a three wheel rollator that the woman used to get around is in the kitchen.

An old rotary phone hangs on a living room wall and eyeglasses lay on a desk with books, letters that arrived in the post and more photos and postcards.

A rollator inside the kitchen of the crumbling home


A North Yorkshire Police Athletics Association diary from 1983 has been placed on top of a newspaper from March 2003. A souvenir edition of a newspaper insert, dated February 1, 1965, commemorates the death of Winston Churchill a week after his death.

A “History of Royal Weddings” calendar from 1982 features photos of Prince Charles and Princess Diana,

The explore, who asked not to be named, told Mirror Online: “The small house has not been lived in since 2003, as indicated by the most recently dated newspapers.

A mobility seat still sits inside the decaying bathtub

Eyeglasses, photos, postcards and books an a desk

“A woman lived there alone after her husband died.

“Documents within the house indicate she died alone in the house in 2003, aged only 73.

“The house is a time capsule of old artifacts, ornaments, photographs, wedding albums, calendars, newspapers.

“Her clothes are still hanging up in her wardrobe, her dressing gown is still on the back of the door, and her false teeth remain resting above the decaying sink.


“There are children’s toys and teddies upstairs, which tells me that maybe her grandchildren would once come and visit her.

“There are also a number of empty vintage cognac bottles found throughout, so it’s fair to say she enjoyed a tipple once in a while.”

The explorer added: “The house had been set up with assisted living handles to help her get around.

“The stairs leading to the upper floor were worryingly steep, even for me, so I could only imagine the struggle she would have getting up there.

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“She evidently ended her life by living only downstairs as a bed had been assembled to the rear of the dining room.

“She died in bed alone next to her walker.

“Seeing everything left behind, a lifetime of possessions now rendered meaningless, made me feel so sad.

“Apparently, her only son lives abroad and after attending her funeral in 2003, he inherited the house but never bothered to clear out her belongings and they have since remained in a time warp.

It is said a widow’s son inherited the house but didn’t clear out the possessions

“His inheritance has subsequently become a battered relic of a once family home.”

The explorer, who is in his 20s, has been photographing abandoned places since November last year. He visited this home with his partner earlier in June.

He said: “What hit me straight away, literally, was a blanket of old cobwebs that have collected over years of abandonment.

“I had to fight my way through them just to get around inside the house.

“To many the house would be seen as creepy, but for me I just felt so sad seeing all of the woman’s possessions that she had spent her lifetime collecting, sitting there caked in dust and mould, no good to anyone anymore.

“Many abandoned places I have visited previously have been stripped of anything that indicates its former life and are now just shells.

“This time capsule house was quite the opposite. Almost everything the woman owned still remains inside, including her nightwear, false teeth, Bibles and family photographs.

“There is even a Kate Bush poster on one of the walls, and that in itself should indicate that this house has been abandoned for a very long time.”

The house is “hidden away” behind trees on a residential street, and vegetation on the property is “extremely overgrown”.

The man said: “It certainly looked like a spooky house so I wanted to take some external photographs for my personal collection. I saw that there was quite an obvious entry point and there was some graffiti inside the kitchen, which told me that people has been here before. Nothing was damaged by myself inside or outside of the property.”

The explorer said he spoke to a neighbour who knew the woman and helped him to gather some information about her and the history of the home.




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