1 May 2012
Last updated at 14:43
The former Swindon College building in Regent Circus in Swindon town centre has been derelict for six years, and is finally due to be demolished to make way for a new leisure complex this summer. Local photographer Jon Ratcliffe was granted access to the run-down site by demolition contractors in order to document the final days of the much-maligned building.
Mr Ratcliffe, who attended the building as a student between 1999 and 2001, said seeing inside so long afterwards was "very strange". "Getting to photograph the demolition and, hopefully, the redevelopment is quite a privilege."
Piles of rubbish and obsolete equipment lie around the building waiting to be removed and where possible, recycled.
Reminders of the building's past as a centre of education are strewn around the site. For 46 years, from 1960 through to 2006, tens of thousands of students attended Swindon College's Regent Circus building before its migration to the North Star campus.
Mr Ratcliffe said of the building as it stands now: "It's not a pretty sight. You'd be lucky to find a dozen windows that aren't broken in the entire place and much of value - pipe work, wiring, has been stripped out." The above photo shows the former library.
"Everyone who's spoken to the contractors wants to see it blown up," said the photographer, "but it's going to be taken apart piece-by-piece, a bit of a metaphor for regeneration."
Once cleared, the Regent Circus site will be used for a leisure complex. The £50m project will include a 52,000 sq ft Morrison's store, eight restaurants, a 30,000 sq ft six-screen Cineworld cinema and a 450-space car park. Once the old building has been removed, work will begin on construction of the complex in the autumn for a spring 2014 opening.