Mark Bibby Jackson reviews Atlas of Forgotten Places, a journey through forgotten properties around the world, published by White Lion Publishing.

A book commemorating properties that have readily been forgotten or in many cases never know in the first place might seem to be a somewhat strange choice for a book, but Travis Elborough’s Atlas of Forgotten Places transcends the normal. This is a quite remarkable book that makes for excellent reading on a wet and cold December afternoon.

“A compendium of the misplaced and the neglected,” is how Elborough describes it. “Ruins, ancient and modern, beautiful, ugly and appalling, and in varying states of appreciation and restoration, or lack of thereof. The ungotten and the forgotten no one remembers.”

Mysterious, sleeping monuments around the world have been relegated to the margins of history, pushed off the map and out of sight. Atlas of Forgotten Places explore the places that time forgot.

Ducor hotel, Monrovia, Liberia
Ducor hotel, Monrovia, Liberia

The subject matter ranges from a Soviet ghost town in the Arctic Circle to an art deco New York subway station, and a flooded Thai mall teeming with aquatic life, taking in Santa Claus’ Arizona Christmas Tree Inn along the way. Elborough’s eye for the obscure and obtuse is acute, littering his recordings with just sufficient information to constantly entertain and illuminate.

Travis Elborough takes us on a global journey into these strange, overlooked and disappearing worlds and immortalises their fates.

“Abandonment is not a cause to give up all hope but the opposite, if anything, encouraging us all to think longer and harder about the world to come and what might be worth salvaging from the wreckage,” says Elborough. I hope that you do not give up hope on Atlas of Forgotten Places for it is deserving of repeated visits, even on more sunny days.

Travis Elborough

Helliniko Olympic Complex, venue of the 2004 Olympic Games, Athens, Greece.

Elborough is an acclaimed author of: The Bus We Loved, A Traveller’s Year, The Long-Player Goodbye, Wish You Were Here, A Walk in the Park, Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular Life of Spectacles and Atlas of Vanishing Places, winner of the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards Illustrated Book of the Year 2020. He is a regular contributor to broadcast and print media and has penned articles on all aspects of travel and culture for a range of publications.


Atlas of Forgotten Places

Journey to Abandoned Destinations from Around the Globe

By Travis Elborough, Maps by Martin Brown. Published by White Lion Publishing an imprint of the Quarto Group.

November 2021 | £20.00 Hardback.

Main image: Abandoned hotel building ruins on Hachijojima Island, Japan. Background image: City Hall Subway station, Architec Rafael Guastavino, New York, USA.

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