Architectural and heritage photographer Matt Emmett has spent five years travelling around Europe capturing abandoned buildings such as crumbling chateaux and derelict industrial sites. His first book, Forgotten Heritage, contains hundreds of hauntingly beautiful photos. Emmett says he hopes his photography might inspire others to go out with a camera and discover neglected sites around their local area.

Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Inside a long-disused Victorian-era cistern buried beneath LondonMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph

He seeks out vast power stations and their cooling towers, steel works, mines, bunkers, tunnels, schools, engine sheds, hotels, castles and homes. All have their stories to tell in a variety of voices – and, without the distraction, sounds and people who inhabited them – the character of each location is laid bare.

He often chooses to withhold the exact locations of the buildings he photographs, so as not to encourage graffiti artists and metal thieves. However, the locations are often an open secret among urban explorers and heritage photographers.

Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Inside the geodesic dome of an old radio antenna, shot shortly before its demolitionMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Beautiful folly hidden within the overgrown grounds of a ruined country houseMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Paperwork litters the floor in the admin block of an abandoned asylum in ItalyMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
An alley between the workshops and storage areas at an abandoned factoryMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
The author and his son explore an underground quarry in WiltshireMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
A remarkable stone habitation built over eleven years by a single personMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Corridor within a derelict agricultural school, since renovated and in use once againMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Looking along the towers and living quarters of the ruined Gwrych Castle in WalesMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Wooden carts still loaded with cloth in an abandoned textile mill in south west EnglandMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
The ruins of an entrance portico at an abandoned country estate in North WalesMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Ferns find purchase within the toxic remains of a coke works in South WalesMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
The dizzying interior of a vast cooling tower in BelgiumMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
A rustic scene in the kitchen of an abandoned farm house in LuxembourgMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
A profusion of pipes around the exterior of a disused blast furnace in BelgiumMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph
Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
An old electric chandelier found in the attic space of an abandoned Belgian homeMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph

The author says: "To the urban explorer or photographer, 'No entry' signs and perimeter fences simply serve to whet the appetite for the promise of hidden wonders that may lie beyond. For those who ignore the warnings and climb the fences, what awaits is usually worth the risks. Vast industrial spaces that feel like alien landscapes; or poignant residential settings that are slowly surrendering to the inexorable advance of nature. Places once alive with sound and movement, now silent and still, but no less sensory. Immense and powerful beauty resides in these forgotten places."

Matt Emmett Forgotten Heritage Photography
Forgotten Heritage by Matthew Emmett includes an introduction on photographing abandoned places and 24 location chaptersMatt Emmett/Forgotten Heritage Photograph

See Matt Emmett's website or Facebook page for more photos. Forgotten Heritage is published by Jonglez and is available in bookshops and on Amazon.co.uk.