The photo was taken at Topsham. Somehow the derelict boats on the other side of the Exe are not eyesores, at least for me. Neither is the Vigilant, a once derelict Thames barge being restored nearby.
Dereliction is like that. A derelict Austin Seven is probably more acceptable to many than a derelict Austin Allegro. Both have a certain glow of nostalgia, but the Allegro’s would we weak and tinged with memories of British industrial incompetence.
Derelict castles and manor houses are fine. English Heritage thrives on them and carefully preserves their dereliction for us to admire. A derelict castle on the skyline can be a thing of beauty. I well remember walking barefoot along the sands of Embleton Bay towards Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. A fine sight and a memorable experience.
Derelict stone barns are mildly picturesque - we see them all over the Derbyshire hills. Derelict cranes, steam engines and bits of rusting industrial heritage may lack the same charm but they are at least interesting if not too recently abandoned. Perhaps abandonment is a factor here. It must not be too obvious or recent.
Derelict houses are not so good unless old and interesting. Even slight hints of dereliction are unwelcome in most neighbourhoods. Yet a Tudor ruin or a few pillars and some trefoil stonework from some long lost priory are positively prestigious, tearooms and eye-watering property prices almost guaranteed.
I suppose nostalgia casts its golden glow over some things and not others. How do derelict democracies fare?