For about the last 50 years or so, the landscape below Westbury White Horse has been defined by the cement works there. A large, grey. concrete and steel edifice, it emitted a grey plume of smoke and steam for most of that half century. In the last couple of years, with the downturn in the world economy, and the effect this has had on the construction industry, the building has been mothballed, and the chimney no longer smokes.

Westbury cement works, smoking under a gloomy sky

Smoking in the Wind

The most striking photos of the cement works I have seen are those in which it smokes.  Of course, you might regard this smoky industrial monster as a blight on lovely Wiltshire countryside. My thoughts, however, are summed up thus:

A Photographer’s Eulogy to Westbury Cement Works

What is that dark plume your chimney spews?
Steam, CO2, toxins? Controversy Rages.
But we photographers love you,
It seems – a subject for our photography.
Tall stack and smoke provide the thirds to frame
A glorious sunset’s last burning flame
Or fat grey clouds heavy with unshed rain.
Though Wiltshire provides us hills, downs, and trees –
Our aesthetics demand starker geometries.


3 thoughts on “Non-Smoker…

  1. What a fantastic image. I love the juxtaposition of English countryside and smoke-belching industry, and the way the smoke mirrors the clouds. Stark geometries indeed!

    • Thank you, it wasn’t quite so dramatic in real life, but sometimes the captured image is simply the beginning of a process 🙂

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