“Last person to leave turn off the tap” is a body of work created by Simon in July 2017 in response to a visit to a decommissioned water treatment plant on the edge of Chelmsford. Sandford Mill was built in the 1950s and was decommissioned in the 1980s water companies start to consolidate their facilities ahead of privatisation of the different water authorities in the late 1989 under the government of Margaret Thatcher.
Prior to the creation of Sandford Mill Chelmsford relied on boreholes to provide water for the rapidly expanding town resulting in water shortages. Sandford Mill took water from the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Canal which provided a plentiful source of water.
The Sandford Mill site is now owned by Chelmsford Council and is the home for part of the Chelmsford Museum however the FilterHouse remains in a state of limbo waiting for a decision on its future.
During the Summer of 2017 I visited the building on a number of occasions to record the building which is entering a period of advanced decay as the chemical processes that created safe drinking water start to attack the fabric of the building.
The building is large with the larger settling tanks being integral to the buildings structure however it was the details of the machinery used to treat the water that caught my graze during the different visits as they help tell the story behind the building.