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WildBoyz

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  1. History MV Royal Daffodil, formerly known as Overchurch until 1998, was constructed in Birkenhead in 1962 by Cammell Laird (a British shipbuilding company that was founded in 1828) for Birkenhead Corporation. The 751 tonne vessel, which was constructed to be part of a fleet of ferries operating on the River Mersey, was named after one of the town’s post-war overspill housing developments. It was the first of the fleet to be of an all-welded construction and is now last of the Mersey Ferries to be built. Once in service, the ferry was popular with passengers because it was considered to be the warmest vessel of all the Birkenhead ferries; however, it is not actually known why it was warmer. The ship was also popular among its captains as it had a large, modern, navigation bridge which spanned the entire width of the ship, unlike the other more compact and cluttered bridges on Overchurch’s sister ships. In terms of her other features, Overchurch was fitted with two main outdoor deck areas, a loudaphone system and an advanced radio system. It was also equipped with two medium speed Crossley diesel engines which were capable of propelling the vessel over 12 knots. Both of the engines were controlled by engine order telegraphs (E.O.T’s) – communications devices used by a navigator to order engineers below deck to power the vessel at a desired speed. Nonetheless, despite being more advanced that her sister vessels, Overchurch could be difficult to control in stormy weather due to a design flaw in the high funnel being attached to the bridge and the flare of the bow being different. These faults meant that in a strong swell bringing the vessel alongside the dock could be troublesome, and that water had a tendency to spill over the bow onto the observation deck. In 1998, Overchurch was moved to undergo a major refit. This was completed at Lengthline Ship Repairs in Manchester. The vessel was completely modernised and refurbished over the next year and new engines and navigation equipment were fitted. The original funnel and bridge were retained, but some minor alterations were made. After being refitted, the vessel was renamed The Royal Daffodil and returned back to service. However, the ship was altered again in later years as the lower, main and forward saloons were completely gutted and rebuilt. New catering and bar facilities were fitted, along with dance floors and a new crew area. Following the refurbishment, The Royal Daffodil was used for functions, parties and special cruises along the River Mersey. Although she was converted into a cruising vessel, The Royal Daffodil’s sisters were rebuilt as multi-purpose ferries; they are now known as Royal Iris of the Mersey and Snowdrop. By December 2012, The Royal Daffodil was withdrawn from service. Reasons for this are linked to persistent engine problems. Since then she was moved to a dock alongside Duke Street in Birkenhead. There are plans to restore the vessel to its full glory, and the engines and generators are still tested periodically; however, she is beginning to show signs of dilapidation (considerable rust, peeling paint and rotten decks). Our Version of Events After a bit of a fail at a nearby brewery which seems to have some sort of vintage shop and a café in it now, we found ourselves over in Birkenhead looking out over the Mersey wondering what the fuck to do next. That was when we spotted a slightly lopsided ship sitting on the horizon. Keen to take a closer look and investigate a little further, we set off towards it to uncover whether or not it was actually abandoned. As it turned out, it looked a bit fucked and dirty, so we guessed it was somewhere on the old abandoned scale, making it nice and ripe and juicy for the picking. At first, getting into the site seemed to be a bit of a ball-ache, since there seemed to be a lot of sharpened palisade and many cameras. What is more, Merseyside Police decided to turn up… Typical that they always turn up when you don’t need them. We were forced to wait patiently as the same car passed us several times between two minute intervals. In the end, though, they fucked off, apparently satisfied that we weren’t a group of yobs armed with spray paint and white lightening. There was, however, something to be gained from the local bobbies turning up, and that was that we’d ended up sitting there long enough to figure out how we were going to get onto the site. Fifteen minutes later and we were stood on board The Royal Daffodil. In many ways it’s very similar to the Tuxedo Royale over in Middlesbrough, but it has far fewer holes in it. On that note, it was nice to go below decks and not feel as though we were taking a tour around the Titanic. It didn’t take long to work our way around the whole ship in the end mind, not least because the engine room and captain’s cabin doors were tightly locked. We were quite disappointed after making this discovery, but in hindsight they were going to be nothing compared to those we found on the North Sea Producer, so the disappointment has somewhat receded. All in all, then, the explore wasn’t the best we’ve ever done, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend twenty minutes either. After all, it’s always good to get another ship under the belt. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Box, Husky and Soul. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18:
  2. History “This is a historic day for Greenwich Peninsula and without doubt, this is one of the most exciting developments in London – of great significance to the capital as a whole, as well as to our borough. This scheme will bring the long-term regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula to fruition, cementing what is a whole new district for London providing housing and jobs for tens of thousands of people and landmark new facilities and buildings” (Councillor Denise Hyland). Greenwich Peninsula, which is surrounded on three sides by the river Thames, is in the east area of London. One of London’s famous landmarks, formerly known as ‘The Millennium Dome’, can be found on the tip of the peninsula. The area was first drained in the 16th century, so that the land could be cultivated. During this era, individuals accused of piracy were frequently hung in cages at Blackwell Point, precisely where the Dome is situated, to deter any other would-be pirates. As London grew, the peninsula quickly became increasingly industrialised, and by the 19th century there were many sites producing chemicals, steel, iron, cement, animal feed, asbestos, bronze and heavy guns. A large power station and gasworks took up the largest proportion of the peninsula, and at one point the gasworks was known as the largest producer of its kind in Europe. However, unfortunately the good times did not last, and the peninsula was hit by the widespread deindustrialisation of England in the late 1900s; many companies fell into financial crisis, and others moved overseas where production costs were cheaper. No longer producers, England was rapidly coming a consumer-based society. At the turn of the 21st century, most of the remaining industry was concentrated on the western side of the peninsula. As for the rest of the land, a large proportion of it was purchased by the Homes and Communities Agency (previously known as the National Regeneration Agency). The agency invested approximately £225 million into the area, helping to create homes, commercial spaces and new transport links. The construction of the Millennium Dome came next, alongside the Greenwich Millennium Village, which brought further residential development to the area: more homes, a school, a medical centre and a Holiday Inn. Currently, Greenwich Peninsula is undergoing more development as 15,000 new homes, two schools, a new transport hub (including London’s first cruise terminal), a 60,000 square metre business space and a 40,000 square metre film studio are being constructed. The Royal Borough of Greenwich Planning Board approved the planning application in 2015. It is estimated that 4,000 of the new homes will be affordable, and that the development will bring at least 12,000 new jobs to the area. Despite the optimism, there has been much criticism concerning long periods of inactivity, where little seems to be achieved. There are also disputes among developers and councillors over turning London into a high-rise capital, similar to Hong Kong or Manhattan. Many argue that London is not suited to being carpeted over with such towers, especially when families will have very little chance of ever living in them. Having said that, it is obvious that some development is underway and the area is gradually being transformed. Our Version of Events We were sat inside McDonalds and it was getting late. Despite the fact that we were in the heart of the capital which is celebrated for its fine quality food, diversity and choice, we ended up choosing this fine establishment to fuel up before we went out exploring. As you might expect, it smelt strongly of grease, tomato sauce and cheap cleaning product; the floors were so caked in all those substances customers could slide their way right up to the counter; it was a bit like curling without the stones. For a while we each stared hard at our burgers, searching for some evidence of something natural as we munched on what were effectively bags of salt with a few crispy fries hidden inside. Suddenly, my eyes caught a glimpse of something. A long scraggly hair poking out from under the gherkin. I pulled at it, hoping to tug it out in one swift yank, but it kept coming. It grew longer and longer with every tug. Yummy! After an intense struggle, the beasty hair, coated in goo and white bits (which I was hoping was mayonnaise), was eventually successfully removed. Cleared of all debris (hair, fingernails and all that sort of shit), I began to prepare myself for the taste sensation that was about to ensue. Death in a bun, with a bit of brown lettuce squeezed in-between for aesthetics. Precisely fourteen minutes and eight seconds later, we left McDonalds relatively unscathed. Now, fully fuelled on absolute shit, we thought it would be a good idea to check out a massive development on the peninsula that we’d spotted earlier in the day. It didn’t take long to make our way over there, and once we arrived we decided to have a little wander around the premises first of all, to check out the camera situation. Initially, it didn’t look good. There were cameras of all shapes and sizes dotted around (big ones, tall ones, small ones and rotating ones), hundreds of the fuckers, along with PIRs and several high-powered lights. At the time we were thinking that we’d never seen so many security devices in one location before, but, in hindsight, we always end up thinking this… What made things worse was the heavy traffic. Anyone would think the city never sleeps. After deciding where we would enter, we waited. We waited some more. Then, we did a little bit more waiting, just for the crack. And, POOF! After smashing a bottle of instant fog against the ground, all of a sudden we magically appeared inside the construction site. I’d like to say that we popped along to the Leaky Cauldron earlier in the day, and that we’d managed to lay our hands on some of that magic dust they all rave about, but it turns out it doesn’t really exist. We had to make do with bottled fog from the North York Moors. It was a right bastard to collect with empty Sprite bottles and fishing nets from Aldi, but we managed it. Inside, we raced to the nearest crane. It was very difficult to access, so we whipped out a grappling hook and harpoon launcher. This made things a lot easier. Like ninjas in the night we ascended the rope and managed to get onto the crane itself. Once inside the main tower where the ladder is located we began to climb, right up to the hatch. Disappointingly, it was locked, so we decided we’d try another one and started to descend. At the bottom of the crane though, we discovered that there was access to a basement, so we popped inside in search of water. By now the McDonalds had vaporised all the water content in our bodies, so we were parched. Thankfully, we found some, and what a refreshing experience it was! At that moment I would have been willing to drink the Thames, I was so thirsty. After drinking our body-wright in water, we continued on to the next crane. We raced to the next crane, and the many litres of water we’d consumed sloshed about inside us noisily. At least it felt that way. At the base of the next crane, Mayhem volunteered to go first. Having used up the grapple hook, he was forced to use suction cups this time round. His ascent was painstakingly slow, but eventually he made it to the hatch. Unfortunately, this one too was locked. Feeling even more disappointed and disheartened, we decided to take the stairs to the top of the nearby building instead (which was about fifteen storeys high). We figured the night wouldn’t be an entire waste if we got some shots from up there. It was only when we reached the top of the building that we noticed yet another third crane. Deciding that we’d try our luck one last time, we decided to scramble up and see if access was possible. Fortunately, this hatch was unlocked! Moments later we emerged on the top of the crane, surrounded by fantastic views of the peninsula. Several other cranes were visible from our position, and they too looked quite spectacular from where we were stood, with their range of lights and colours. Wasting no time, we whipped out the camera gear and started taking photographs. After that, we did the usual thing of hanging around for a wee bit, taking the time to take in the view with our own eyes. In the end, we felt satisfied with how the night turned out. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Slayaaaa and two other anonymous individuals. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11:
  3. History Once part of Lancashire, Worsley is a small town in Greater Manchester, England. It is first mentioned in the Great Rolls of the Pipe (a collection of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer) in 1195, when it was known as Werkesleia, meaning, in the language of the Saxons, ‘the cleared place which was cultivated or settled’. Prior to the 18th century, Worsley comprised a small farm-based village and a manor created by William I; however, after the completion of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761, the village began to expand as cotton manufacturers, iron and brick works and coal mining companies were established in the area. Further expansion of the town came following the First and Second World Wars, as large residential estates were introduced, to house the increasing number of workers of nearby factories and evacuees from the south of England. A small section of Worsley Brook was culverted during the Industrial Revolution, because a canal had to be constructed above to provide a more efficient means of transporting coal from Worsley to Salford. The first part of the culvert would have been built sometime in the late 1750s. After the completion of the canal it was considered a major engineering achievement because it was accomplished in a timely fashion, built over the top of obstacles such as Worsley Brook and the River Irwell, and even allowed boats to travel underground into the coal mines themselves. By 1887, however, the mines in the area ceased production. Most of the works and several large warehouses were demolished during the early 1900s and the area was transformed so that new developments could be positioned on the land. As part of this redevelopment a larger 400 metre section of Worsley Brook was culverted, to allow for building over the top. Today, Worsley Culvert is undergoing major restoration work to address various structural problems. It was reported that the deteriorating state of the brickwork posed risks to 260 local properties because there was a risk of it collapsing and causing subsequent flooding. The plans to stabilise the structure involve lining it with thirty-six four-tonne concrete sections. According to the Environment Agency, a number of pumps have been installed to help drain and divert the brook while the work takes place. Our Version of Events After a rough night sleeping beneath a tarp, we were pretty keen to get moving and do some exploring. To avoid sleeping in two cramped cars (there were eight of us after all), which were each filled with a lot of Tesco sandwich packaging, pigeon shit, a little bit of asbestos and enough gear to get us through a nuclear war, four of us had decided to kip outside beneath the stars. We’d found a nice little spot in some sort of country park by a small duck pond, and it was only really as we were setting up that we started to noticed that the floor was turning white with frost. Still, we decided to ignore it, and cracked on with setting up our campsite for the evening. We figured that we’d just each wear three or four jackets and hoodies and light a few candles for warmth. By the morning, though, none of us could feel our arms and legs anymore. The last bit of warmth in our bodies was centred around the torso area. Getting up was the worst bit, as we left behind the little warmth there was inside our sleeping bags. Putting the boots back on felt like stepping into blocks of ice. The morning didn’t get any better as we noticed that there was a layer of ice covering the tarp, and that the pond behind us had completely frozen over. What is more, we’d left a large half-eaten cake outside, thinking it would be perfectly fine throughout the night for us to enjoy at breakfast, but it was gone! All that remained were several fox footprints (or so we guessed) in the frost. It took a wee while to thaw out a bit before we could pack everything up, so our start to the day was a little delayed. Nevertheless, once we were back inside the cars, with the heaters running at full blast, we were ready for some more exploring. First on the list was an old culvert… You can tell this was a well-planned winter trip. Having said that, there was some intelligent thinking behind this decision to don the waders in December. Prior to embarking on our trip to Liverpool, we’d stumbled across a few old reports on a fantastic looking culvert known as ‘Old Worsley’. Judging by the photographs we found, it was short but filled with all sorts of old brick and stonework. The problem, though, was that we’d read about redevelopment work being scheduled between 2016 and 2017. So, since we were passing through Manchester on our way to Liverpool, we figured it would be nice to take a quick look. We hoped, with a little bit of luck on our side, that the work crew might not have ruined it too much just yet. We arrived at the entrance of the culvert, which is situated at the side of a nice residential estate, just as everyone else seemed to be waking up. What this means is that we looked like a right bunch of space cadets as we wadered up in middle of the street. One guy who was walking his small sausage dog, which made him look ever so slightly like a camp paedophile, stared at us with an angered expression on his face. He even doubled back on himself to walk past us another couple of times, and the entire time he kept his beady little eyes on us. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to walk up to the brook, so we were soon out of sight. You know what they say, out of sight out of mind. Inside, we were instantly a bit disappointed because the redevelopment work seemed to be in full swing. The first section is now almost completely reinforced with concrete. The next part, where there is an arched entranceway and what should have been a rugged boxed off section inside, didn’t look too good either; now, a concrete shell has been erected inside it. The work looked very recent too, since some of the cement was still a bit damp, which was unfortunate indeed. Things looked a lot more promising, however, once we reached the end of this fresh Soviet-inspired culvert (someone ought to stamp a little hammer and sickle in the cement as the company logo really). We had reached a brick chamber with an arched brick tunnel leading off to the right. The first steps into the chamber were tentative. The water looked deep and cold. We weren’t wrong. As we waded a few steps forwards towards the arched tunnel, the water instantly became thigh deep (and by that we mean upper thigh). But, ignoring the ball tingling chill, we carried on; the tunnel ahead was interesting and, as far as we could see, there was much more to see further ahead. It was at this point that Ford Mayhem started to find the explore a lot less entertaining mind, as he had discovered a hole in his waders. The main thought whirling around his head at the time was something along the lines of “for fucks sake, why is it getting deeper?! Man, I’m going to have to hold my torch and snap shut the hole on my waders with my hand. Here goes… Fuck, fuck! It’s cold! Jesus, my hand is cold”. Things got even more tricky towards the middle part of the arched tunnel too, as it dips a little bit, so we were forced to lean further into the water. At this point, it was safe to say that most of us were within inches of breaching point as the water was chest deep. For poor Mayhem, the situation was even worse because the key thought swirling around his head now was, “Wait. Why am I getting wet down my right leg? I thought I was holding it shut?... Oh shit. I have a hole on the rear side as well. FUCK!”. Inside the next section the ceiling was considerably higher, so we could stand up straight again. We were still waist deep in the water though, and by this point our legs were starting to go a little numb. It was so cold in there that there was an icy mist hovering over the water. It was a bit like walking into a steamy sauna, but without the steam and heat. At least we didn’t have to worry about our balls being cold anymore mind, since they’d moved right up into our stomachs to hibernate. For reasons unknown even to ourselves, we continued on. Once again the water level started to get deeper and deeper. It was at this point, two of the Boyz bailed after having stopped for several minutes to discuss how much of a shit time they were having. They had almost reached the breaching point of their waders and couldn’t continue forward any longer as it was still getting deeper. Mayhem was left standing in waist deep water the whole time, trying to pinch shut two holes while holding his torch. What was running through his mind at this point was a slightly desperate “why won’t the others hurry the fuck along? I’m freezing my tits off here!” After a bit more debating, the rest of us made the decision to carry on and see how far we could get. Two metres later, though, and almost all of the other Boyz had decided to bail. The water was millimetres away from pouring inside the waders at this stage. So, now, there were only two happy-ish WildBoyz willing to carry on, all for the sake of producing a swish new report at the end of it. Soul led the way, followed by Mayhem. For some reason, Soul’s waders seemed to go right up to his nipples and beyond. He might as well have been wearing a dry suit, so he was pretty comfortable throughout this entire endeavour. As for Mayhem, he battled on, trying to pinch his waders with one hand while carrying a torch and now a tripod and camera in the other. The rest of the group had handed it to him as they weren’t going any further. Somehow, he was doing well for a few more metres or so, until, all of a sudden, another icy trickle could be felt down the inside of his right leg. The water was so cold he’d lost all feeling in his fingers, and they were no longer capable of gripping anymore. The bitter water, which might as well have been a murky flavoured Slush Puppy, quickly started to fill up his waders. A sequence of the foulest words known to mankind quickly filled the still silence of the tunnel, followed by the cruel laughter of five others. Cold and completely wet, Mayhem decided that he might as well continue and finish off the explore. Motivated by the knowledge that he had a dry flannel back in the car, he cracked on like a proper legend. Meanwhile, everyone else headed straight for the Barton Arms, a pub that’s not too far from the entrance of ‘Old Worsley’, for a quick shandy. By the time Soul and Mayhem got to the pub, looking a lot like two washed up submariners, the rest of the Boyz had knocked back a good few drinks and a few steak and ale pies. It has to be said that sitting in the pub, close to a roaring fire, after being permanently cold for the past 12 hours or so felt pretty damn amazing. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Rizla Rider, Box and Soul. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22:
  4. History The Manor Church Centre is a Grade II listed building in Egremont, Wallasey. It was designed by architects Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thornley (the same company who designed the local town hall) in the early 1900s, and was constructed by George Parkinson between 1907 and 1908 for £19,000. It was built to replace the Presbyterian’s first Neoclassical church on King Street because it was too small to accommodate a rapidly growing congregation. Once completed the building was known as the Egremont Presbyterian Church, and being the largest Presbyterian church at the time it had the capacity to accommodate 1,000 people. The church opened for worship in 1908, almost immediately after completion. The large church hall at the rear was added in 1910. For many years the church remained unchanged, until 1972 when the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales joined to form the United Reformed Church. As a result, the church became Egremont United Reformed Church, until 1994 when it united with Trinity Methodist Church and became the Manor Church Centre. Manor Church Centre is well-known for its architecture and interesting stained glass windows. The church is constructed out of red sandstone from quarries in Runcorn, and is based on a unique mixed English Perpendicular, Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival style. The design of the building includes a large nave with north and south passage aisles, a north transept, a short chancel and a 60ft southwest tower. The interior of the building was designed to be spacious and to offer uninterrupted views for all members of the congregation. The Baltic Pine hammerbeam roof (a decorative open timber roof truss) with corbels that are decorated with foliage help to create such an atmosphere. As the church hall was built a few years afterwards, it adheres to a different Tudor style with four bays and mullioned and transomed windows. As mentioned above, the stained glass throughout the building is famous. Some of it dates back to the 1890s, and other pieces the early 1900s. Some of the most notable pieces include: a pane depicting the Empty Tomb by H.G. Hiller in the east window, the window in the transept depicting The Sower that was designed by W. Aikman and made by Powell’s, a window by G. Gamon depicting Faith, Hope and Charity, a window on the north side of the building by the famous stained glass artist Wilhelmina Geddes, and the west window which contains glass that was designed by Percy Bacon. Although reports are limited, it is reported that the church closed sometime after 2011. Dwindling congregation numbers have been attributed to its closure. Another report suggests that the building is undergoing a refurbishment project, but it is unclear whether the building will reopen as a church, be reused for an alternative function or be demolished to make way for a potential housing project. There are concerns among the local community that vandals have started to cause considerable damage to the building, particularly some of the stained glass where there is evidence that stones have been thrown through. Our Version of Events It was getting on for late afternoon, and we were heading back to base camp for the evening after spending a few hours looking around a derelict mansion we’d passed several times while staying in Wallasey. A large church towered above us as we wandered along the footpath. The building itself was one of those that look a bit abandoned, but you’re not too sure if it really is. Nevertheless, it merited a bit of closer investigation, so we hopped the non-existent fence and tried to have a peek through a window. Unfortunately, our efforts proved to be fruitless. A strippergram could have been jiggling her tits around on the other side, but we wouldn’t have been any the wiser. It was way too dark inside. We continued wandering around the outside a bit more, though, and much to our delight ended up discovering a possible means of entry. Several minutes later and we had successfully infiltrated the church. Of course, the stripper had been a complete figment of our imaginations, so the remaining content of this report has been given a PG rating. But, in taking our first glances around the silent navel we could see lines of pews and what appeared to be an almost immaculate looking setting. A gigantic wooden ceiling hung over us and what was left of the fading sunlight outside struggled feebly to penetrate the thick stained glass windows. The entire church looked as though it has been abandoned only yesterday. Our footsteps echoed loudly as we wandered towards the large organ and baptismal font. It was incredibly dark inside the church, especially since most of the stained glass windows have been enclosed in metal cages to protect them from the failed ejaculation specimens of Merseyside. To rectify this problem, we were forced to wave a 1000 lumen torch around (the only torch we had available). As we did this, we hoped that neighbours and people walking past outside wouldn’t notice the erratic light display that was going on inside. If one of us had taken to the organ it’s likely people would have thought Elton John was getting frisky with the keys, or that John Lennon had risen from the grave, checking all the nooks and crannies for where he left his bastard submarine keys. It grew darker and darker very quickly, so in the end it became a case of running around the church to grab as many snaps as possible of the good stuff. We left the tower until last because the vast majority of it isn’t anything particularly special; it looks as though much of the original spiral staircase has been replaced for metal ladders and gantries. At the top we arrived just in time to see the sun setting over the River Mersey and the lights turning on over in Liverpool. The views were surprisingly good considering we were in the middle of a residential area. After expending the last of the daylight, we made our way back down into the church. From this point on taking photographs inside the building became virtually impossible so we decided to head off. We guessed that the chances of getting caught by someone walking or driving past outside were considerably high now, especially since people would be leaving work around this time. Overall, though, despite the light problems Manor Church Centre proved to be a really good wander. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27:
  5. UK Manor Church Centre, Wallasey - January 2017

    Yeah, the glass is quite famous apparently.
  6. Cheers for looking everyone, thanks for the comments
  7. Fantastic thread. Really enjoyed looking through that. Your shots are excellent.
  8. History Queensbury Tunnel is one of the longest (2501 yards/1.4 miles) and deepest railway tunnels in England. It was part of the GNR line serving the northern industrial towns of Bradford, Halifax and Keighley. A railway connecting Halifax with Keighley was proposed in 1873; however, the local topography imposed many constraints, especially in the Queensbury area. As a result, several tunnels and viaducts were required to complete the line. A well-known prolific engineer named John Fraser, who was responsible for the construction of several other lines across Yorkshire, was appointed as head engineer for the project. Work on the Queensbury Tunnel began in May 1874. To begin with, cuttings were made into the hillsides at Holmfield and Queensbury through sandstone and millstone grit, and four observatories were subsequently erected to offer views over the construction of four of the major shafts. Eight shafts were originally planned, but the design was later revised to include only seven (the spacing between each was extended). Despite a good start, the first few months proved challenging due to a large influx of water. Although there was regular pumping provision during periods of heavy rainfall work had to be abandoned because the water would often still flood shafts five and six. In an effort to drain some of the water, additional shafts were dug into the hillside. Eventually, this seemed to speed up the progress of the tunnel. As progress of the tunnel continued, and it started to look much more ‘tunnel-like’, five of the original vertical shafts were reinforced and retained for ventilation purposes. Throughout the project several types of drilling machines were tried, but in the end only one was successful: Major Beaumont’s machine that was suited to excavating harder materials. Beaumont’s drill comprised a frame on which four drills were mounted, with compressed air harnessed as the motive power. It is reported that the use of the machine increased the rate of progress significantly. In terms of disasters during the construction period of the Queensbury Tunnel, the first casualties occurred on 10th October 1874, when Richard Sutcliffe suffered a fatal compound fracture when a rope used to haul a cage up shaft number one snapped. The cage plummeted to the bottom of the pit and landed on top of Sutcliffe. Two other miners were also struck, but miraculously they both survived. The next disaster occurred on 7th December 1875 at 3.40am, when six miners returned to their working face after having retreated to fire shots. They were all under the impression that all the blasts had been successful. However, it was quickly discovered that one shot had misfired, so Henry Jones and John Gough were sent to withdraw it. After getting it position to make the withdrawal it exploded, killing them both instantly. A third miner was also injured, suffering head injuries and a broken arm, but he was sent immediately to Halifax Infirmary after being attended to by the works inspector. Several other incidents involving rock collapses also claimed a number of unfortunate miners, and this resulted in the construction project being known as ‘the slaughtering lines’ by local newspapers. The tunnel was finally completed in July 1878, and the Great Northern Railway company held a special dinner for the 300 men involved in its construction. The first train passed through the tunnel in later September as part of a preliminary inspection. Major General Hutchinson conducted the inspection and concluded that it was unfit for passenger traffic due to the incomplete nature of its works. As a result, it remained as a freight only line until December 1879, when Hutchinson revisited the line and re-inspected the tunnel. Nevertheless, soon after becoming part of a passenger line, significant defects were spotted in the sidewalls of the tunnel. This was partly due to poor workmanship, but also to the mining of coal from a seam adjacent to the tunnel. Although repairs were made, additional problems with excessive water build up intensified. A number of pumps were installed in an effort to control this problem. In the winter, though, new threats began to transpire as a result of the water problems, as large icicles would form on the ceiling of the tunnel. During the winter months the first train would be responsible for their removal. In the end, to counter this problem, engines would sometimes be left inside the tunnel overnight to generate heat and prevent the formation of ice. By 1933, the damaged caused by continuing seepage through the brickwork had resulted in the severe deterioration of parts of the structure. The Works Committee decided to employ G. A. Pillett & Son to fulfil the strengthening project. It took seven months to complete at a cost of £2,637. By May 1955, the line’s passenger service was withdrawn. Freight trains continued to use the tunnel for another year, but in 1956 they too were stopped from using the line. The tunnel remained abandoned for a number of years, until it was revisited in 1963 to remove the tracks. Soon after their removal a seismological station was established inside the tunnel by two Cambridge University scientists. During the 1970s the scientists used an array of strain meters and seismometers to compare the effect of elastic inhomogeneities on surface waves from earthquakes and tidal strains. All of the recording equipment was housed in an onsite hut which was also sometimes used by the university’s geophysics department to sleep in. Accessing the hut involved driving a van through tunnel which had to dodge the rubble that had been tipped down the overhead shafts when they were capped. By the end of the 1970s the station was moved to another site at Bingley owing to growing safety concerns over the deteriorating condition of the tunnel. For many years after the university vacated the structure, the tunnel’s northern entrance remained bricked up, with maintenance access available through steel-plated gates. The wall was removed in 2012, however, and replaced with a palisade fence. Most of the time the southernmost portal is completely flooded, with the water level reaching the roof of the portal, owing to poor drainage provision. A number of pumps have been installed, though, and they are used to drain the water when access is required for maintenance. For a while annual inspections ceased due to low levels of oxygen, concerns about ground movement, the effects of vegetation and water, and considerable bulging and missing brickwork in certain sections of the tunnel. However, the tunnel has once again been drained and there are rumours of a major works programme being undertaken over the next four years. Our Version of Events Next on our journey to Liverpool for New Years, we wanted to check out Queensbury Tunnel. Fortunately, it was only around the corner from our previous explore, so it didn’t take long to get there. Finding the actual location didn’t prove to be too difficult either. The only bit of bother we really had was the last bit of driving down a rough poorly tarmacked track in a Ferrari F12 berlinette and a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. The side skirts really weren’t very practical. However, we eventually made it to the bottom where we were able to park up. Certain that the cars would be perfectly safe just at the side of the track, we hopped out and began to fetch the gear from the boot. It’s amazing what you can fit inside a Ferrari if you make use of all the nooks and crannies. Bit by bit the items began to gather on the floor by the side of the car: a rope ladder, carabiners, slings, tripods, camera bags, the bevvy box, sandwiches for all eight of us, a picnic blanket, a lampshade, the emergency toaster, several boxes of Jaffa Cakes and eight cheese scones. Several minutes later and we were heading down the small footpath towards the entrance of the tunnel. It was muddy as fuck the entire way, and somehow got even more muddy right next to the entrance itself. After reaching the northern portal, though, we were halted in our tracks by a greater obstacle. The world’s best security perimeter stood in our way. A large black gate loomed over us, slick with fresh anti-climb paint. Not just a slight splodge either, this thing was greased up better than a Girl’s Gone Wild wrestling contender. A large coil of razor wire lay across the top, which has been wrapped around what looked like ordinary barbed wire. That wasn’t all either. Behind this beast of a fence, there was the original palisade fence, also thickly coated in the black stuff. However, as there was no sign to tell us to ‘fuck off’, we were unsure whether we were allowed to venture beyond this mere obstacle. As there was no signage, we guessed that it must be acceptable to proceed onwards – with caution of course. Next, then, we decided to climb to the top of the portal to find a couple of decent sized trees. After wrapping a couple of slings around them, we clipped a home-made Blue Peter inspired rope ladder onto the anchors. We carefully lowered the ladder over the side of the portal and it slotted just nicely behind the second palisade fence. Champion. One by one we proceeded to descend the ladder, taking care not to lose our footing on the rungs. One little slip up and we’d look like failed POW escapees impaled on top of a Nazi-inspired barricade. Going over the ledge was the hardest part of the whole endeavour, since one of the crucial rungs was pressed up tightly against the top of the portal. Having said that, perhaps the most difficult part was getting the egg and cress sarnies over. Once inside, the situation looked grim. Our chances of climbing back out didn’t look good. The ladder was now well and truly lubricated with mud and anti-climb paint. Our only option was to carry on into the depths of the tunnel. We were hoping that the pumps at the other end would still be working, meaning we could walk out rather than climb over the barricade. We set off, walking in the direction of the tiniest smidge of light in the distance. A couple of shots were taken here and there, but it suddenly dawned on us that we were in a former railway tunnel and there are hardly ever any remarkable changes in the features. It just kept going, and the light at the end of the tunnel never seemed to get any bigger. The one behind us definitely got smaller though, to the point that it too was the same size as the one ahead of us. How does that work? Structurally, then, the tunnel is absolutely fucked. There are many important bits missing (bricks and things), where there should be important bits, and several big collapsed sections. There’s some evidence that scaff has been erected to perhaps begin reinforcement work, but that’s not going too well by the looks of things since the tunnel is now resting on much of this scaffolding. We noticed that there’s a bit of a leakage problem too, because we had to walk under three or four cascading waterfalls. Bad crack when you’re trying to keep the scotch eggs dry. After walking for what felt like an eternity, we finally noticed that the light at the end of the tunnel was slowly getting larger. One point four miles underground certainly feels like a considerable amount of distance. Thankfully, the portal wasn’t flooded, though, and the pumps were still doing the business, so we were able to climb the two palisade fences to escape. These haven’t been greased up yet either, so the risk of losing a testicle from slipping is slightly reduced. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Rizla Rider and Soul. Queensbury Tunnel Back in the Day Queensbury Tunnel Today 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15:
  9. UK St. Paul's Church, Denholme - December 2016

    Yeah, the ceiling was really nice actually.
  10. History Faverdale is a northern suburb of Darlington in County Durham, and is well known for being the site of a large industrial estate. Although the area was rural until the twentieth century, when a large wagon works was established in the 1920s, there is evidence of prehistoric, iron age and medieval activity at Faverdale. Nevertheless, as hinted above, the area owes its expansion in the interwar period to the wagon works as wooden freight wagons were in high demand for the North Eastern Railway (NER) company. The first residential housing estate, consisting of two hundred homes, was built to the west of the growing industrial estate, to house the workforce located there. As for the culvert, there is evidence from 1939 of a bridge having been constructed of stone and brick at its current location, which was part of the Darlington to Barnard Castle Railway Line (LNER). The bridge allowed passenger and goods trains to pass over West Beck, a small stream that eventually flows into the River Skerne. The same evidence also points to the fact that Faverdale Black Path, a track running adjacent to the train line, existed around the same time as the bridge. Although the Darlington to Barnard Castle Line stopped operating in 1964, as part of the Breeching cuts (a largescale restructuring of the railways in Great Britain) which saw to it that the track was lifted almost immediately afterwards, Black Path still exists today. By the time it came to the removal of the railway, much of the original surrounding industrial estate had already been demolished, as it had slowly begun to shift to its current location following newer and larger developments. The Faverdale Wagon Works was one of those casualties, as the factory closed in 1963 with 366 jobs lost; steel framed and bodied wagons became more popular and, subsequently, left little place for wooden bodied wagons. The nearby residential area, however, continued to expand. It is this expansion that called for a larger culverted section of West Beck, to allow more houses to be built over the top. The exact date of this construction is unknown, but based on its concrete box-like design it is likely to have been sometime the late 1960s/early 1970s. Modern day culverts tend to be circular to avoid becoming clogged with sediment and debris, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Our Version of Events Recently, we’ve been working our way through a book. It’s all about experiences underground inside the ‘unknown worlds of the urban subterrane’. In that book, there are several sections (it’s essentially a collection of short stories) that talk about things such as descending into ‘dark and winding tentacles’ which ‘extend far into the subconscious’, and the allure of mystery and curiosity which has the power to encapsulate our imaginations. Others talk about the palimpsest nature of underground places, and how they allow us, if we look close enough, to peel back the layers of history. And then there’s the stuff on the dead and ghosts of the past. Apparently, the metaphoric juxtaposition between the warm surface and the dark underworld is capable of inciting powerful feelings that are steeped in questions about our mortality. It does get a bit weird in places, though, as one guy gets onto the topic of ‘infrastructural fetishism’, where he discusses being awash with satisfaction as a result of experiencing vibrational tremors of machines and brake dust. Anyway, after reading this book we found ourselves in the mood to find something underground to explore. As it would turn out, we had a nice culvert we’d been meaning to explore ready for the picking. Our aim was to go out and see if there was any truth in the book’s tales. So, excited by the prospect that we might find ourselves, or a skeleton, deep in the underworld, we wasted no time in gathering our equipment and getting to the car. Access was a little tricky to begin with, as we had to navigate our way down an overgrown beck. There were brambles and other spikey plants everywhere, so we took our time to prevent the waders from suffering several punctures. At one point we debated whether we should have brought along a machete, as a wall of barbed branches prevented us from moving any further downstream. Perhaps these were the ‘winding tentacles’ in the dark that one of the writers had been on about? It was night-time after all. Very confused about their meaning, and its effect on our subconscious, we continued on by moving the tentacles with our bare hands. The only thing going through my subconscious was panic about getting a puncture, and the pain of being prickled on every finger. Sometime later, we found ourselves stood before what we assumed was the former railway bridge, or at least what looked like it had been a part of it. We stared into the abyss ahead, preparing ourselves for the encounter that was about to ensue. We were going to step inside and look for the peeling layers of history. Apparently, the whole experience is not unlike an onion, where layer after layer reveals more and more. One by one we stepped inside the great arched structure, taking care not to disturb the dangling cobwebs too much. After taking several steps forward we all stopped and took a moment to properly take in the full sense of the underworld. I stared long and hard at the wall in front of me. But, after two and a half long minutes, nothing happened. I couldn’t quite fathom how we were supposed to see into all the so-called layers the book had described, especially when the bricks were caked in years of shit and dirt. What about the cobwebs for a start? How are you meant to see past those? Were we supposed to scrub a bit off? We didn’t have time for that, and nor did we have a bucket and sponge with us, so we were forced to abandon our search for the secret layers of history. We pressed on, a little disappointed with our lack of success. It was OK, though, because we had a few more things to try out. Next, we wanted to try and get a feel for the dark, ghostly, underworld, to see if we could be at one with mortality and all that other morbid shit. Further down the tunnel, in a section that was less stoopy than the rest of the tunnel, we decided that the best way to feel a sense of the proper underworld would be to turn our torches off. Surely, if we stood in the dark and listened for it for a wee bit, we’d sense something. So, that’s exactly what we did. One by one we turned off our torches. A moment later darkness shrouded us, and it was as if we’d entered into the arcane shadows of a nun’s knickers. Its veil closed tightly around us and an eerie silence followed. We stood motionless for a while, just listening. Listening hard for any sign of the darkness – the very void that is the underworld. Nothing. Only the dull ache of my back, as it screamed at me for being in a place too small to be comfortable. Until, suddenly, a low fffffffffffffff sound rose from the depths, almost as if someone was blowing on hot soup. One of the lads mumbled something of an apology, and told us it would probably be best if we evacuated this section of the tunnel. These were wise words indeed, for we’d stumbled across the darkest thing possible to find in the underworld. It was the incarnation of death itself: the raw, sticky, stench of cabbage. For a brief moment, as the whiff floated gently past the tips of my nostrils, I felt a true sense of what it’s like to be mortal. It hadn’t been what we were expecting, but we continued feeling as though we’d gained a real insight into our mortality. There was only one thing left to do now, and that was to develop a fetish for infrastructure. This was a tricky one. Looking around, one of the lads pointed out a small portal in the side of the wall, enclosed by a ‘hydraulic’ (or so it said on the side) metal cover. “Perhaps if two of us lift the flap, and you pop something in and have a good jiggle around, we’ll understand what all this fetishism is all about”, one of the lads suggested. We thought about it for a moment, and it seemed to make sense, in a weird sort of way. So, as two of us set about lifting the flap, the third among us set about finding a long rod which he could poke into the hole and have a jiggle. He found a stick that was protruding slightly from the water and prodding uncomfortably into his waders, and decided that it would have to do. Getting down into a bit of a crouched position in front of the portal, the third among us signalled to the others to lift. As they did, he was quick to insert his stick. A bit of back and forth pump action was required to clear much of the old stagnant debris, but once he was through he was able to have a good jiggle, as we’d discussed. And then he stopped. There was a pause, as everyone waited for something to happen. Perhaps an alluring drain aroma would overcome us, or we would suddenly feel at one with the drain having been so intimate with it. There was nothing for the next few moments, until the slightest trace of something sent prickles down my spine. The smell of egg. All of a sudden I was losing the feeling in my hands, my arms, my face, until it finally consumed my lungs. A great cloud of green gas erupted from the pipe, choking us all. “Fuck man”, someone yelled amid spluttering and coughing, “did you poke it in the right hole?” The lads holding the flap quickly dropped it. Suddenly realising that we’d got this fetishism idea all wrong, we decided to escape as quickly as possible. Unlike the guy in the book we’d read, we certainly weren’t awash with feelings of satisfaction. No, no. We were awash with the putrid smell of shitty egg! To conclude, then, and to offer our own contribution to the book. Inside this culvert beneath Darlington, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to peel back the history of the place, because there are too many cobwebs. You will get a sense of your own mortality under certain circumstances, but it will require a strong curry the night before. It’s unlikely that people with a fetish for infrastructure will get off on the architecture here, unless egg is your thing. And finally, the ‘winding tentacles’ are a load of bullshit; what they surely mean are spikey fucking brambles, and there’s nothing spectacular about those. As for the allure of mystery and all that, this explore is a culvert, so you should expect that you’ll probably reach the other, unspectacular, end at some point along the way. Unless, of course, there’s a fuck off grill at the other end – and then, the only mystery will be how long it’s going to take you to walk all the way back. Explored with Meek-Kune-Do. Faverdale back in the 1930s (Black Path is up on the top left hand side of the image, beneath the railway line) Darlington to Barnard Castle Line The Wagon Works 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17:
  11. History ‘Boxed In’ is likely to be part of the Etherley Dene Colliery. Although the specific history is rather vague, evidence suggests this was the closest mine in the nearby vicinity, and it was one that was spread over a considerable amount of land. Traditionally, coal was mined in the Bishop Auckland area for a long time, and there are numerous references to coal mining in the area in terms of place and street names. Therefore, the likelihood we ended up in a former coal mine is high. The colliery first opened sometime in the mid-1800s, when the industry was said to be booming, by R. Atherton. It was sold to Quarry Drift Colliery Ltd. in the 1920s, and later to the National Coal Board in 1947. The mine was closed in the early 1950s when the main coal seam dried up and it became unfeasible, economically, to continue operations at the site. Most of the mine was filled in in parts, for safety reasons, and its entrances all sealed. Throughout its entire history there were only five fatalities reported at this colliery; although, records are reported to be missing. All of the individuals who were in the register were either crushed to death or fell from a height. Our Version of Events After spending one too many nights smoking ‘reefer’ and drinking with the locals of Bishop Auckland, we heard rumours of a cave – ‘Smokies Cave’, as they all referred to it. After spending several minutes listening to them explaining how big the place was, and how you could still access multiple levels, we decided it would be worth seeking out. Unsure whether ‘Smokies Cave’ really existed or not, we set off late the next afternoon to find it. Unfortunately, though, as we had no transport, other than one bicycle, we ended up hiking seven miles to reach it. Much to our disappointment, after a fairly thorough search, we failed to find the elusive cave on this first excursion. A few days later, we decided to try again. This time we resolved not to dawdle and reached the area much more quickly. After a further thirty minutes walking aimlessly around a patch of woodland, we stumbled across a reasonably sized inflow concealed behind a large concrete wall. It was an old cylindrical structure constructed of large stones. Having deduced that the old mine may be accessible via this old culvert, and agreeing that this looked like a worthwhile explore anyway, we decided to enter the culvert. To begin with, it was an inviting explore, as it had a perfect stone lined floor and minimal stooping was required. What is more, there was very little water flow and no dirty debris, so having not brought waders with us we were happy chappies indeed. It took a good few minutes to pass through the nice stone culvert, until we reached an opening to our left, which we assumed was ‘Smokies Cave’. Unsure whether to proceed, as it looked incredibly wet and muddy, we fumbled with a ‘cigarette’ for a moment. Having already decided we would probably enter anyway, regardless of the dampness and muck, we took a quick break and smoked it to put off the inevitable for a moment longer – the unavoidable fact that we were going to get very dirty. Unfortunately, sparking up down here turned out to be a big mistake, and we soon found out why the cave is known as ‘Smokies Cave’. Lighting up down there creates a very dense cloud of smoke that stubbornly refuses to move, no matter how much wafting you try to do. Consequently, taking clear photographs becomes very difficult. In the end, we finished up with a set of snaps that looked as though they’d been taken down a steamy sewer. On top of the smoke issue we’d created, we quickly discovered that the cave was much wetter and muddier than we’d first anticipated. Furthermore, the ceiling height becomes very low at this point and it becomes necessary to crawl on all fours – both hands and knees. As we crawled on, passing remnants of condom wrappers and the odd cider can, we became increasingly desperate to find somewhere we could stand up. Fortunately, we reached this point after around ten metres or so, and from this point on we name this section ‘Pussy’s Point’. This is the most spacious part, boasting a head clearance of approximately 12ft, so you can stand up. For a good distance this section, which looks as though it dates back to the early twentieth century, is lined with bricks and it looks a little bit like it was originally a ventilation shaft. A lot of coal fragments are scattered across the floor in here. In many ways, it reminded us of the service tunnels in Standedge canal tunnel, where you disembark from the raft (if you enter via dinghy). Looking ahead, further down into the cave, a very small crevasse-looking type of thing was visible, and it was filled with rubbish and other pieces of shit. It looked very much like a dead end. This seemed like the sort of place people tend to avoid, unless you want to take a piss into it from the entrance point, especially since it was roughly four-foot-tall and four-foot-wide and involved slithering on your chest through the mud, wrappers and other dubious-looking things. For some unknown reason, however, we decided to risk catching gonorrhoea and other highly contagious things, and we went for it. The sludgy shit made strange sounds as we crawled on, but we tried to avoid looking at it. The smell was bad enough after all. We continued like this, winding left and right, for what felt like an eternity, until eventually the height of the ceiling began to increase. Five minutes later, down in the depths of the cave things started to feel much different. It began to feel like some sort of game of survival. Although it was much cleaner down here, the walls of the cave were changing in colours and textures, sort of like an LSD trip (we imagine), and it felt as though we were becoming lost in a different sort of world, far away from the surface. What was certain at this point, however, was the fact that we were definitely in a former mine since the ceiling was flat and there were random man-made mounds of debris here and there, which made crawling very difficult. A number of roughly made brick walls started to appear in this deeper section too, which made the whole things feel increasingly like a forgotten labyrinth. The height and width of the mine changes a lot down here; at some points, while lying flat on the floor, the ceiling is about two inches above you, and at others it is much higher. After two hundred metres or so of crawling along the ground, we reached a ramp that led down into a long straight tunnel. This tunnel, unfortunately, is filled up to the ceiling with water. While we were a little disappointed the explore was ending here, we were able to push aside our disappointment as we became captivated by a series of beautiful coal veins which were dotted everywhere around us. At this point, though, we started to notice that our heads were hurting, presumably due to a lack of oxygen, so we decided to make a hasty exit. As you might expect, it took us a lot less time getting out than it did getting inside! Back in the oxygen filled entrance to ‘Smokies Cave’ (the smoke had finally cleared now), we decided to continue our walk down the culvert. The fantastic stone continued the entire way, right up until the end where we reached a metal grate covering the exit. As you can imagine, this walk was blissful compared to the cave where we’d been forced to crawl. It didn’t take too long to bypass the metal grill, and slightly relieved to be in the fresh tasting air of the woodland we headed up the hill to where we guessed civilisation might be. A few free roaming horses passed us as we scrambled through thick brambles, which we thought was a little strange. Determined to find civilisation, however, we chose not to stop and mediate on the situation. Further up the hill, we edged past some sort of mini-rave tent gathering too, where the sound of Macky Gee tickled our ears, which, again, seemed rather out of the ordinary given where we were. At this point, we decided we’d had enough of Bishop Auckland’s strange occurrences, though, and keen to re-join a bit of normality we continued on without stopping, hoping to find a road or a building of some description. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Box, Husky and Beth. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28: 29: 30:
  12. UK Friends Mission Hall, Shildon - May 2016

    No doubt it's probably completely trashed now. Not been past this place in a while.
  13. History The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, originally known as the Otago Wool Stores, was built in stages between 1872 and 1885 by notable architects Mason and Wales and R.A. Lawson. The initial project was financed by an American merchant and businessman, Henry Driver, who settled in Dunedin in 1861 and established the Wool Stores company in 1871. The site was selected as the perfect location for a wool store because of its close proximity to the harbour. Although construction of the two-storey building was expected to be swift, progress was delayed due to concerns about the stability of the ground since the foundations would rest on part of the old sea bed. This problem was rectified by 1872 and by 1873 the first part of the building was completed. At the time, the tide would surround it at high water; however, over the years additional land has gradually been reclaimed, so the water’s edge now lies approximately forty metres away from the premises. By 1885 the premises comprised a main warehouse, several offices, a stable and engine house, and was described by many as being ‘the finest building of the kind in New Zealand’. As with other key structures in Dunedin, the main building itself is constructed of stone that was mined from quarries at the water of Leith and the Town Belt. Additional stone for the piers, windows and doors was excavated from quarries at Port Chalmers. As for the roof, it had thirty-nine skylights of rolled plate glass originally, and the remainder of the roof was lined with Bangor slates. Inside, at some point in its early history, a railway gauge was laid through the centre of the building to improve the efficiency of the service area. The tracks allowed goods to be moved to the main railway lines that ran parallel to the main building. A number of trapdoors and hoists were also installed, to move bales of wool between floors. Towards the end of the 1800s, the Otago Wool Stores were taken over by the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, with Henry Driver appointed as the manager of the Dunedin branch. It is reported that the company was ‘a prominent London-based pastoral finance concern’ with links to the Bank of New Zealand and the Colonial Bank of New Zealand. At the time, it was one of the largest companies in New Zealand and one of the key sellers and distributors of wool, grain, animal produce and other stock. Being a London based company also meant that money could be borrowed and distributed more easily. After purchasing the building, the Loan and Mercantile Agency Company altered the design of the premises so that a number of ‘handsome, classically-styled’ offices could be housed inside. During this time the roof was also altered, and a raised saw-tooth design was selected to replace the original skylights and slate tiles. The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company owned the building up until 1961. Following a financial crisis throughout the country, and the fact that there were too many stock and station agents (which were warranted because railways and roads were still being built across New Zealand, and such companies were vital in managing the transportation of goods to and from farms) the company merged with Dalgety, becoming Dalgety & New Zealand Loan Ltd. From the 1960s onwards, Stewart’s Transport purchased and occupied the building. Various alterations were made inside at a cost of $31,000, to create 6,000ft of office space and a board room. The original 100,000 square feet of warehouse space was retained. In later years, the upper storey was let to a clothing manufacturer, Sew Hoy and Sons Ltd., and the ceiling space to an indoor go-karting company who also set up a small arcade in parts of the ground floor of the premises. The go-karting business was the last to vacate the building at some point between 2008 and 2010. Since the early 2000s, though, the building as a whole has fallen into a dilapidated state. One by one its windows were gradually boarded up, and the masonry has started to crumble in several places. Currently, the future of the building remains uncertain; although, there is evidence that some restoration work has been carried out in the last few years. Our Version of Events Dunedin’s a place that’s often described as still being a bit ‘Wild West’. The main shopping precinct, for instance, is found down the main road of the city where there are old-fashioned shop fronts with canopied pedestrian walkways on either side. The chances of catching a train are so slim you’d find it easier to find a horse to ride to the next town or city. And beneath the surface and overall façade, much of the architecture is wooden and very colonial. In many ways then, the former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company building fits the general theme that’s going on rather well, as it too has a certain Wild West feel about it. So, bearing that in mind, we can continue with the story. It was just before midnight, when two silhouetted riders appeared on the horizon. Their horses whined and reared; they were tired after a hard night of urbexing and in desperate need of rest. Their riders, however, were keen for one last explore, so they spurred their animals forward, towards the remains of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company. Outside the building, the pair quickly dismounted and tied up their faithful steeds: Passing Wind and Mary Hinge. Their boots clanked loudly against the ground as they walked towards a nearby window. Pulling out his six-shooter, Nillskill blasted it three times. Access isn’t a problem when you carry around Smith and Weston Schofields and Winchesters. At this point, though, we should warn new ‘urbexers’ that carrying around such equipment counts as being equipped if caught by the police, so it’s likely you’ll get arrested for breaking and entering. Or worse, you’ll be done for being caught in an enclosed space with ‘tools’. Anyway, back to the story. With the window pane successfully shattered, the pair of dusty desperados climbed through the wooden frame with relative ease. Inside, the building was still. Only the curtain by the window stirred the silence as it flapped in the breeze. Undeterred, however, the pair moved on into the corridor. Their boots resounded on the hard wooden floorboards. But otherwise, the eerie silence prevailed. However, turning the next corner revealed something unexpected. The pair found themselves inside some sort of make-shift saloon, called Rosie O’Greedy’s Bad Time Bar. Without further ado they demanded whisky, and using a deep husky tone advised the bar tender to leave the bottle. Ignoring the no-smoking sign displayed prominently over the bar, Nillskill pulled a small packet of matches from his saddle bag. He withdrew a single match and in one swift motion brushed it against the hard stubble on his face. The match erupted, baring a bright orange flame. Each of the bandits leaned in over the match in turn, using it to light their partagas (strong Cuban cigars, for all those English pipe smoking folk reading this report. I say, what ho! Pip pip). A cloud of thick smoke filled the room. For a while the pair laid down their Nikon D3100s, and other gadgetry, choosing instead to revel in the moment. After several undisturbed moments of smoking, bucket spitting and drinking, a spicy little thing dressed in a black corset and matching suspenders wandered over. Her auburn hair was long and wavy. She walked over to Nillskill and, resting her foot on the base of his stool, started to adjust her stocking. Extending her other arm over the bar, she reached for the ashtray. For a brief moment, she held her cigarette holder above it, until finally she gave it two firm taps causing the ash to fall. She leaned over to Nillskill and whispered into his ear, seductively. The other desperado couldn’t quite hear what she was saying, so had to piece together the information he could hear: ‘upstairs… $18 dollars… whips and chains… handcuffs… bad boy…’. In the end he got the gist of the conversation. All of a sudden, however, before this report could become anymore raunchy, the Wild Bunch burst through the doors of the saloon. Captain Bill, Black Jack, Big Jim, Emmett Tibbs and Indian Joe entered the room. New on the block they were trendy kids who prefer to post video reports. Each of them were wearing ‘proper’ urbex attire: clown masks covered their faces, and they each wore dark hoodies – with their hoods up. Captain Bill spoke first, he seemed to be their leader, while the others hastily updated their Instagram accounts and Twitter feeds. “This urbex ain’t big enough for the both of us, WildBoyz”, he growled. Nillskill spat into the bucket one last time, and pushed the scantily clad whore to one side. She would have to wait until later. As he moved he withdrew his tripod and lobbed it in their general direction. It caught Emmett Tibbs on the side of the head, smashing into his GoPro which, in turn, caused him to stumble. It did no damage unfortunately, and merely served to piss the Wild Bunch off even further. Each of them withdrew their pistols and a shootout ensued. WildBoyz leapt behind the bar, taking cover to avoid the onslaught. Bullets shattered the bottles above them, and liquor splashed and erupted everywhere. A mirror suddenly exploded, covering the sheltering pair in jagged shards of glass. Defending themselves, they returned fire, releasing a volley of rounds toward the Wild Bunch. Emmett Tibbs, the unlucky bastard, caught another blow, this time to his chest. Blood and other essential inside bits of him exploded from his chest. He collapsed knees first, before finally crumpling to the ground in a growing pool of crimson blood. Using Tibbs as a distraction, as Black Jack and Indian Joe were desperately trying to send a Snapchat of the chaotic scene, WildBoyz decided to move. The pair raced towards a nearby trapdoor and hurled themselves inside. Everything around them turned dark as they fell for what felt like an eternity. They hit the ground with a loud crash, but with little time to check for injury continued on towards an empty mine cart. They’d landed in the cellar of the building, and decided that their best means of escape was the old railway network. Above them, as they leapt inside the cart, Captain Bill and his gang fired their pistols and rifles like frenzied wild men. They too were starting to jump into the cellar though, so the two bandits didn’t have long. Nillskill fired a round at a nearby lever and the cart they were in slowly started to move. It creaked and rumbled loudly as it gradually picked up speed along the rusted tracks. Several moments later and WildBoyz were being pursued by the Wild Bunch, who had found a second cart. Bullets and camera lenses whizzed past heads, and sparks sprang from the tracks as the carts flew around tight bends in the depths of the cellar. Aiming his pistol carefully, Nillskill’s trusty partner fired a shot. It caught Big Jim right smack in the face. Jim’s clown mask exploded into hundreds of tiny pieces, along with his face. Despite Jim’s unfortunate end, the Wild Bunch continued their pursuit. With the end of the line in sight, the two desperados needed a distraction to shake the remaining Wild Bunch boys. With some quick thinking, Nillskill, using the flash on his camera to temporarily stun the pursuers, allowed his partner to fire several more rounds and throw a stick of ACME TNT. Unfortunately, all of the rounds missed, but, unexpectedly, Indian Joe caught the TNT. Unsure what the strange sparkling stick was, because he was born and raised out in the desolate plains of Sunderland, where the way of life is more culturally deprived, he mistook the stick for a candle. Captain Bill tried desperately to wrestle the stick from Joe, but he wasn’t having any of it. He smashed Bill squarely on the jaw with the butt of his Winchester lever-action repeating rifle, and sent him tumbling over the side of the cart. Bill screamed, but quickly disappeared from sight as the carts rocketed towards the very end of the track. Only his clown mask hovered in the air for a second, before it too tumbled into the abyss below. Suddenly, an eruption of flame and smoke appeared from the Wild Bunch’s cart. It exploded and sent shards of metal and debris towards WildBoyz. The pair ducked, as a large chunk of railway sleeper sailed across their heads. Behind them, where the second cart had been, lay splinters of metal and wood and the crumpled remains of Indian Joe and Black Jack. Right now, Jack really was was living up to his name. Before they could stare in awe any longer, however, the first cart smashed into a solid wooden barrier – they had reached the end of the line. Both explorers were flung into the air as their cart broke apart. They landed with a crash into a small building at the far end of the cellar. The pair laid on the floor, surrounded by debris and a cloud of dust, until the silhouette of a small man appeared before them. It was Deputy Sheriff Kum Hia Nao. As acting security for the site, he demanded to know what the pair were doing. After explaining that they were there only to take photos, Kum Hia Nao decided to escort them off the premises, making it clear to them both that they were lucky the police hadn’t been called for their wily act of trespass. He did, however, thank them profusely for ridding him of the five clowns that had been taking bondage photos of each other while tied to chairs for the past few nights. Explored with Nillskill. *There may be several slight exaggerations in this version of events. The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28:
  14. Haha. Gotta spice these things up a little Looking forward to seeing your Yorkshire report. These random places can be a decent wander sometimes.
  15. UK Greenwich Peninsula, London - October 2016

    Thank you.
  16. Thanks Andy. I wouldn't worry about reading the full report, most of it is absolute nonsense
  17. History The construction of Caversham Tunnel, now a disused railway tunnel that was cut through a solid sandstone embankment, began in September 1871 in the Kaikorai Valley. Cutting work began on the Caversham side around the same time, but construction of that side of the tunnel did not begin until March 1872. Both sides were joined in almost perfect alignment on 26th September 1872. The 865-metre-long tunnel was fully completed by late February 1873, and a celebratory dinner was held to commemorate the occasion. The tunnel was officially opened for service by Sir Julius Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand (prime minister), in December 1873. A party made the first excursion of the line from Dunedin to the Green Island terminus which was located near the coal pits of Messrs Sampson and Brown. A celebratory luncheon was held in a nearby field on the same day. The first passenger service was run on the line in July 1874, from Dunedin to Green Island terminus. A one-way ticket cost fourpence, while a return-journey cost sixpence. Additional links, such as one to Balclutha via the Chain Hills, were later opened at the end of the 1870s. For the time it was operational, however, the tunnel is said to have claimed a total of three lives. In 1876, a Green Island police constable named Henry Vernon was hit by a train while walking through the tunnel. Later, in 1897, a farmer named Kenneth Kennedy fell from a train while it was passing through. And finally, in 1900 an assistant guard named Robert Burns slipped from the train while moving between carriages in complete darkness inside the tunnel. In spite of the seemingly high mortality rate, the service was used up until 1910, when a larger replacement dual line took over all rail traffic. The replacement line sits a few hundred metres away from the original Caversham Tunnel. Over the next few years the tunnel remained closed to the public and was almost forgotten, until there was a flood in 1923. Unfortunately, the deep cutting and tunnel provided a drainage conduit for the Kaikorai Stream which had burst its banks. As a result, the water was guided straight into the large flat areas of South Dunedin. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes, and many lost valuable possessions. It is reported that drainage issues with the tunnel were addressed at the outset of World War Two, when the tunnel was fitted out as an air raid shelter that could be used by the public in the event of an attack. After the war, ownership of the tunnel passed to the council. It was used during the sixties to lay electrical cables and sewage lines; however, the structure itself has since been left to slowly deteriorate. Lacking any means of proper drainage has resulted in the tunnel filling with thick mud and water, and it is now deemed a dangerous structure. To keep people out, the council erected a barbed wire fence around the Kaikorai Valley side, and a large gate on the Caversham portal. Although there have been talks to convert the tunnel into a pedestrian walk/cycleway, with locals offering to pay for the lighting, all formal proposal have been rejected due to ‘theoretical cost estimates’ and ‘drainage problems’. Our Version of Events After a long night of drinking ale and whisky, we were hungover as fuck as we made our way over to Caversham to seek out the legendary ‘secret tunnel of Dunedin’. According to local legend, the tunnel was said to be nestled among trees and concealed by the motorway. It took a fair bit of faffing around to find the exact location of the tunnel, and a little bit of running along the motorway (thankfully the motorways here are a lot different to European ones). With no footpath and a sharp drop to our right, we had to carefully choose a quiet moment and hit legs. With our vision slightly blurred, and everything swaying ever so slightly, we tried to keep our focus on the white painted line on the road as we jogged. With the taste of ale steadily returning to our mouths, jogging is all we could manage. By the time we reached the entrance to the tunnel, sweat was dripping from us. The post-alcohol effect was in full swing, but we were keen to get the tunnel under our belts. I stood in front of the wire fence and gazed up at the barbed wire fixed across the top for a while. I was waiting for it to stop moving so I could perhaps think about climbing over. The fence was spinning a little bit too, and no matter how hard we held it, it just wouldn’t stop moving. Eventually, though, we managed to get onto the other side. We headed down a set of old decayed wooden steps. They were covered in foliage and, consequently, we stumbled our way down them as some of them had completely disappeared altogether. At the bottom we reached a large number of pipes poking up from the floor, and a small hut just to the left of us. These, as we quickly discovered seemed to be part of Dunedin’s sewage system. Unfortunately, it was at that precise moment we became sober enough to notice the bubble-guts syndrome had begun. We were going to have to make this a quick explore, before nine pints of arse soup demanded to be set free from the trap doors. Stumbling over sewage pipes seemed to bring the sensation on ever more, so it was time to squeeze the cheeks together, tightly. One slight stagger over a pipe or tree root and that would be it. Disaster. Entering the tunnel itself wasn’t difficult from here. But, the reports about the mud certainly don’t exaggerate. The sludge was incredibly sticky and we very nearly lost our boots to it. The floor in the first sections resembled a swamp, and in parts was almost at welly breaching point. It’s was almost as if the sewage pipes were leaking… Things got a little easier further on though, for some of us. With the help of a very handy handrail on the right hand wall, The Mexican Bandit was able to climb onto a ledge of raised mud that seemed to have solidified. Using the slightly rubbery feeling ‘handrail’, which was caked in years of slimy grime, he made quicker progress. He continued like this for quite a few metres, leaving us swamp dwellers far behind, until something caught his eye. Squinting, to properly focus his vision in the dark conditions, he could make out a sign plastered onto the ‘handrail’. It read either ‘DANGER 600 VOLTS’, or ‘6000’. In the heat of the moment, his vision was playing tricks on him, adding zeros to the situation, but he swiftly let go in any case. Apparently wellies are excellent at preventing electrocution, but I guess he didn’t want to test that theory out. For the most part, Caversham Tunnel is a bit samey throughout. It’s a very different style to the railway tunnels we have in England though, so it felt quite unique being all natural rock rather than Victorian brick. There was a small brick section around 400 metres into the tunnel though, and for a very brief moment excitement made the hangover subside. Upon discovering that the brick section was more like an underground bridge, however, disappointment set in and the battle to hold the ale inside ensued once more. There were other interesting features of course, such as the millions of seashells which littered the floor (the swamp ends halfway through, and the remainder of the tunnel is relatively dry). They were all different shapes and sizes, but I have no idea why they were there. The final interesting feature to add to the growing list would be the sewer we found that runs beneath the main passageway. We’d managed to stumble across a semi-broken lid, so decided to have a peek inside to see if there was anything interesting. And behold, there was: Dunedin’s shit floating about right beneath our feet. And to be perfectly honest, whatever you’ve been eating Dunedin, you need to stop… Explored with Nillskill and The Mexican Bandit. South Dunedin Flood (1923) 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  18. Cheers for the comments guys, and thanks for looking
  19. History The Stratford Riverside (an apartment block) is a ‘prestigious’ new riverside development situated on the Waterworks River, near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Once fully completed the project will be 29 storeys high and it will have a ‘striking’ glass façade. The building, which features balconies/terraces in every one of its 201 apartments, will offer residents fantastic views of London’s skyline, where it is possible to view the financial powerhouses of the British economy to the west, and the modern towers of Canary Warf to the south. Alternatively, people can also use the expansive roof garden on the 7th floor to gaze out at the city. Additional features of the development include a resident’s only gymnasium, a hotel-styled foyer with concierge and a café/bar. The developers describe the building as a ‘world of luxury’, suggesting that it will quickly become an enviable address in one of London’s fastest growing areas. Stratford itself is said to be a vibrant district of London, which offers everything you need for a ‘superior lifestyle’. For anyone who is interested, prices for a two-bedroom apartment start from £465,000, while three bedroom dwellings start from £680,000. Our Version of Events Looking for another night of fun in London, we decided to have a wander around Stratford.We’d noticed some development going on over that way a few evenings earlier, so thought it was worth a look around. After spending a few moments eying up various sites, we finally settled on the Stratford Riverside development; it looked reasonably high, and offered views over the Olympic Stadium. As always, it took a little time to figure out how to get onsite. Eventually, though, we found a suitable way into the site and ended up inside some sort of bush. As it turned out, this wasn’t the best way inside and Mayhem quickly discovered that the bush wasn’t weight bearing. There was a brief moment it seemed to take his weight, but a second later several large cracks erupted from beneath him and he was sent tumbled downwards. His life flashed before his eyes as he plummeted towards the ground below, and, as he told us later, he could see the bush above him steadily disappear as it grew smaller and smaller, as the distance between it and himself grew larger. Mayhem landed with a sudden thud, into an enormous pit of thorns. Feeling for his arms, legs and other essential parts, to check everything was where it was supposed to be, he glanced around to see where he was. As he began to come to his senses, he quickly realised that the fall had been a whopping metre. He could see a large hole in the bush above with moonlight pouring through. He was lucky to be alive. Using the light to find a way out, he attempted to crawl out of the pit where there were fewer thorns. A sudden pain shot through his body as he tried to move. Quickly he reached for his arse and it was then that he found a large spikey thorn wedged between his crack. Taking in several deep breathes, he grasped it firmly between both hands it gave it a good yank. A stifled scream escaped his tensed lips as the barbs very nearly extended the diameter of his anus. After breathing a sigh of relief, he managed to crawl his way out of the bush to join the rest of us who were waiting patiently. Next, we raced over to the buildings just ahead of us. At least most of us raced there; those less fortunate were forced to adopt a cowboy strut with their legs wide enough apart to prevent chafing. A few moments later and we were all gathered as the base of the building. From here we had to do a fair bit of ducking, a little bit of dodging and some diving to get to the top of the Riverside development. Had we been wearing leopard-skin leotards and headbands, we would have looked an 80s aerobics class in full swing. At the top of the Riverside development we immediately set about taking photographs. The view was pretty good, and once again we could see for miles. Unfortunately, it was blowing an absolute gale up on the rooftop, meaning it was hard to keep the tripods steady. It was brass monkeys up there too, so we didn’t stick around for too long. After facing the blizzards and hurricane force winds that were battering us harder than a granny with a washing bat, it wasn’t long before we were forced to retreat. In the end, we’ve managed to salvage some of the shots, but we were a little disappointed with them overall. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Slayaaaa and two anonymous individuals. Stratford Riverside 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13:
  20. UK Stratford Riverside, London - October 2016

    Cheers mate Thank man. It's a Nikon 10.5 f2.8.
  21. History Chelmsford is the county town of Essex; it was granted city status in 2012 and is now a key location for redevelopment. The City Park West site is one of those developments, located on the land that was home to the Anglia Ruskin University Central Campus. Most of the campus was demolished in 2010 and since then a number of residential and commercial buildings have begun to appear in its place. Three historic buildings still remain and have been completely refurbished: The Anne Knight, Frederick Chancellor and Law buildings. The site was specifically selected as it is adjacent to the train station, and reasonably close to the bus depot. The company, Genesis, managed to obtain planning permission for the development. As far as their plans go, City Park West will be a contemporary mixed tenure build with one and two bedroom apartments on offer, along with three additional townhouses that will be available to rent. The company suggest that the ‘state-of-the-art’ apartments will feature all the style and quality customers are looking for. Some of these features include balconies, designer kitchens and dimmer lighting controls throughout each property. It is expected that over five hundred homes will be available when the project is finally complete. Additional office, retail and community units will be constructed in phase two of the development. Our Version of Events It was a mild night in the City of Chelmsford, just perfect for a spot of climbing. With a decent sized white crane in mind, we met up with Slayaaaa (and his friend), who we’d already arranged to meet up with a few days earlier, and made our way over to the City Park West construction site. Without too much fucking around, we managed to get onto the site and were instantly greeted by thousands of tons of fresh concrete. We did our best to stick to the designated safety paths, but there may be an accidental footprint here and there. We apologise, Genesis, it was dark and we didn’t fancy shining our torches around for fear that you might try to stop us climbing your crane. If it’s any consolation it was a very deep wet patch, so the next day I woke up to find that my shoe had transformed into something that’s now pretty heavy duty. Anyway, after navigating our way through the concrete swamp, we finally managed to reach the base of the crane. Looking at the tall structure close up, it became obvious quite quickly that this was one of the cheaper pieces of shit. The ladders were light and bendy, and once we began our ascent the entire structure felt as though it was moving ever so slightly. After a long, non-stop, climb upwards we emerged at the top, slightly breathless. I always forget about the problems a tripod can pose when trying to climb anything, and as usual it was a right bastard the entire way up, catching itself on every possible piece of metal there was to get caught on. Nonetheless, as we stood for a quick moment, looking over of Chelmsford as we caught our breath, we were greeted by fantastic views, so the all the problems on the ladder were instantly forgotten. All in all, it wasn’t the largest crane in the world, and it was a little cramped on top, but I guess that was to be expected. We set about taking as many snaps as possible for the first fifteen minutes or so. After that we pissed about a bit on the rear ballast (it functioned well as a decent seat) and main jib, and spent a fair amount of time just taking in the view. As always, it didn’t take too long to get back down. Even the concrete swamp seemed easier to traverse as we were making our exit. Explored with Slayaaaa. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21:

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