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WildBoyz

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Everything posted by WildBoyz

  1. UK Stratford Riverside, London - October 2016

    Cheers mate Thank man. It's a Nikon 10.5 f2.8.
  2. 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:
  3. Thanks mate. Yeah, we're happy with the purchase!
  4. UK Greenwich Peninsula, London - October 2016

    Haha, I guess it's just pure luck with these things. Frustrating climbing up to discovered it's locked Thanks Cheers mate.
  5. Belgium Boat tunnel (visited 07/2010)

    Nice, always like a good canal tunnel.
  6. Cheers mate. Indeed, we have. It's very different to use though, takes a bit of getting used to; these are some of the first shots taken with it. Always wanted to capture a wider angle in rooftop shots.
  7. History (Part One) The area where Brisbane is now located was originally discovered by European colonialists in 1799, when Matthew Flinders first explored Moreton Bay. He spent a total of fifteen days there before returning to Port Jackson. Before the area was seized, so to speak, a number of Aboriginal tribes resided in the area; notably the Jagera and Turrbal tribes. It was used as a seasonal settlement area and several camps capable of sustaining between 200 and 600 people would be erected each year, within the vicinity of the good fishing spots. Due to its suitability for farming, fishing, timbering and the potential use of other useful materials, a town was initially built on that land that would, in due course, become Brisbane. The first settlement, however, became a penal colony after free settlers in Sydney petitioned to have their worst convicts sent somewhere else. The first convict colony, led by Lieutenant Henry Miller, was established at Redcliff Point in 1824. However, by 1825 the entire colony was forced to move further south, closer to the Brisbane River – the current site of the Central Business District. The town grew steadily over a number of years, although it remained very primitive. There were no stone or brick buildings, only wooden huts, and the sole link to civilisation was the very occasional arrival of a ship from Sydney, which would dock in Moreton Bay rather than Brisbane River. As the settlement grew it was ascribed the name Edenglassie; a portmanteau of the two Scottish cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow. As expected, the name failed to appeal to those residing there and it was soon changed to ‘Brisbane’, in honour of Governor Thomas Brisbane. The first stone buildings started to appear in 1827/28, with the construction of the Commissariat Store and the Prisoners Barracks. The Commissariat Store, which still exists today, was built using stone quarried from Kangaroo Point, and lime, for mortar, through burning oyster shells taken from Amity Point. The barracks soon became the largest building in the settlement at the time and it had the capacity to hold up to 1000 convicts. The town of Brisbane was beginning to grow at a considerable pace, nevertheless, the colony still remained reputed for being a harsh place to work and live. Among the convicts, and indeed people outside the colony, it was known as a ‘prison within a prison’. Records indicate that in the period between February and October 1828 alone, over 11,000 lashes were inflicted on 200 convicts. Hundreds of convicts were reported to have fled into the bush in the first few years because of the brutal conditions. Although many perished, a few, such as Scottish-born James Davis, managed to succeed at living as ‘wild white men’ among the Aboriginal people. In addition to the threat of punishment inside the settlement, local Aboriginals also attempted to starve out the colony by destroying many of the crop fields. *More on the development of Brisbane’s drainage system will continue in the next report. Our Version of Events As you will have noticed, if you’ve been following some of the other reports we’ve posted from Sydney, much of Australia’s surface level abandonment gets trashed or demolished pretty quickly. That’s not to suggest that there’s nothing out there, they’re just few and far between and many become well-kept secrets. Anyway, having discovered this for ourselves, feeling a little disappointed, we decided to head up to Brisbane where there’s a large draining community, to try our luck exploring something else. Fortunately, we managed to contact a well-known explorer in those parts, who goes by the name of Darkday, and she was willing to meet up with us. So, after accepting her offer we decided to hop on the train and go check out what lies underneath Australian streets. The train journey wasn’t too bad, since all we had to do was sit there and eat Australian cookies, which I seem to have acquired a taste for. At the station we then waited for a car to pick us up. But, not knowing what Darkday actually looked like at that point, we had to poke our head inside random vehicles and simply ask for someone by that name. After a short while Mayhem seemed to get vibe and decided to hop into a car that had just pulled up. I climbed in after him, and after quickly glancing at the people inside, I deduced that they seemed friendly enough. It was only then though, while sat in the back; feeling a little awkward and uncertain that we hadn’t just clambered into some randomer’s car, that I remember to actually check that we were indeed in Darkday’s car… We were, so all was good. We had a good chat with Darkday on our way to the first location, and she explained that this was known as the ‘darkie’ of the city, Brisbane’s classic drain explore; something all major Australian cities have in the exploring world apparently. But, before we could get down and dirty, we were, following typical WildBoyz tradition, quite unprepared for getting wet, so we had to request a quick stop at a Woolworths (good old woollies survives!) to pick up some appropriate-ish footwear. After a quick pit-stop, and a change of shoes, we headed directly to the location. Inside, things were a little different to our drains. For one, the ovoid shape was rather unique. Second, Aussies don’t mind getting wet; they’re not pussies like most of us UK lot with our wellies and waders, so quite quickly we found ourselves wading through water. I did explain, in our defence, that it’s a lot colder in the UK. Third, following on from that last point, the heat down there was incredible: describing it as a sauna perhaps sums it up succinctly. I felt as though I’d shed a few pounds afterwards. And finally, the wildlife down there is starkly different to the creatures we’re accustomed to. Some of this included, but was indeed not limited to, cockroaches, big spiders, killer spiders, lizards called ‘dragons’ and eels – although we didn’t see any eels in here. The drain itself changes throughout, as we passed through brick sections which were built by the convicts (I’ll explain more about this in the next report, to avoid putting a huge history in this one), spray-over concrete areas and the standard modern concrete pipe. Towards the end we came across some of the ‘dragons’ Darkday has been telling us about, and we watched as she attempted to rescue them, to save them from an imminent death down inside the drain. She explained how they get trapped down there after falling inside. And that was our first drain in Australia. All in all it was great to see a part of Brisbane’s historic past, and to enter somewhere that’s well-trodden by the Cave Clan. The night certainly wasn’t over, though. Afterwards, we made our way to a public barbeque and, after a quick safety brew to uphold our English roots, a bit of food and a few bevvies, we made our way to the next drain on the list: ‘the Batcave’. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Darkday and Darkday’s Accomplice. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  8. Lmao, the style back then was awesome. I think this was slightly larger than this. We didn't have to stoop at all in any part of this. Plenty of headroom.
  9. History “Boys at King James had to war gorgeous uniforms of red and gold, and these were expensive… It had to be worn at all times outside school, and if we happened to pass one of the masters in the street, we had to salute him by touching the cap” (Alan Scott, former school attendee). In 1604, a widow named Anne Swyfte of Durham City, presented a petition to the King of England. She petitioned for the founding of a grammar school in North Auckland. The King, in his efforts to advocate royal absolutism, quickly agreed and on 12th April 1604 conferred the Royal Seal of approval, alongside a grant of £10 year to the Governors. Although the school was founded in 1604, as the funding acquired had to accumulate, the school that stands today was not built until 1864. Designed by Thomas Austin of Newcastle, the first rooms were a house and schoolroom. Further extensions were added by the same architect in 1873/4. The large two storey front block was constructed in 1897, in a Gothic Revival style using thin course of squared stone with ashlar plinth, quoins and dressings and a slate roof. The main entrance had steps leading up to a double doored entrance; a large carved stoned was positioned above this with the inscription Schola Regia ad 1605 Aucklandensis. In 1902, Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Laurel of Laurel and Hardy) attended King James I Grammar School. Since his parents were actors and therefore travelled a great deal, Laurel was sent to live with his grandmother for many years in the north east of England. He later moved to Glasgow and finished his education at Rutherglen Academy. It is rumoured that there is a 20th century plaque commemorating Laurel somewhere on the front of the main building. Currently, there are concerns among local residents and the council that the former school, which was severely damaged in an arson attack in 2007, has been left to rot. Many have argued that the council need to do more to prevent the listed building from becoming irreparable. As with any historic building though, there have been complications with several restoration projects that have been proposed. It is hoped that various fundraising activities will allow the Stan Laurel Community Building Group to take ownership of the school. However, as it is estimated to cost around £2 million to complete the project, the building continues to stand abandoned, with a metal fence, scaffolding and tarpaulin surrounding it. “The size of the challenge is immense, but that doesn’t mean to say it isn’t worth doing. I know how everybody feels about this building, so I say good luck to you” (Councillor Charlie Kay). Our Version of Events It was late, and we already felt pretty fucked, but we’d been putting off having a look at King James I Grammar School for a long time. Now, stood outside the front gates we realised precisely why we’d been putting this place off for so long. It looks just as fucked as us. Nevertheless, as the legendary Laurel attended the school, we wanted to be able to say we’d walked along the same corridors as he had. Waiting until the coast was clear, one by one we hopped the fences surrounding the rotting building. From there it wasn’t difficult to find a way inside; anyone taking a look from the outside will see why. Inside, the building looked even worse. We walked, tentatively, across the first room, after realising that most of the floorboards were so decayed they crumbled beneath our feet. It was mainly decomposing carpet that constituted the floor now. With each step a bittersweet stench stung our nostrils; strangely nostalgic and repellent at the same time, the odour hung heavily throughout the room. Further into the school, it was obvious that the entire structure was in a sorry looking state and, other than peeling wallpaper, crumbling fireplaces and stained toilets, there was very little by way of visual stimuli. None of this mattered though. After all, it is likely Arthur Stanley Jefferson had walked through these very rooms. Determined to reach the top floor, we continued with our slow pace. None of us suddenly fancied plummeting through the floor. Thankfully, the stairs, which were caked in years of grime and shit, were made of stone and concrete, so they seemed much more durable than anything else we’d seen so far. Step by step, we ascended to the uppermost floor of the school. There was no doubt about it, this was clearly where the fire had been back in 2007. A large metal support structure filled the entire room, and above we could see a large white tarp, clearly covering a gaping hole were a slate titled roof should have been. Fearing this floor more than the others we’d encountered, we decided to stick to the sides of the room as we made our way across. There was no real reason why we needed to wander around up here, but since Laurel had been here it seemed worth it. With the sound of Dance of the Cuckoos ringing in our ears, we thought we’d take a chance, doing a dance, because, well, I’m a cuckoo and you’re a cuckoo. Laa-laa-laa-laa-la la. And, now all the folks have gone wild, it’s time to bring this report to an end. As with all explores, an extraordinary amount of courage, or perhaps it was impatience, blanketed us. Needless to say, it took a fraction of the time to get back out. The taste of the fresh night air smelled good against our nostrils as we stepped back onto the cracked, chewing gum coated, pavement of Bishop Auckland. A couple of scummy looking chavs wandered past, stopping only to ask if we had a light. We didn’t, so they continued on their way, but not before Mayhem shouted after them, “Nice trackies, bruv, they match your trainers.” And with that, oh what a howdy-do. It is because two funny chaps taught them all something new? Explored with Ford Mayhem and Rizla Rider. King James I Grammar School King James Postcard Laurel of Laurel and Hardy 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  10. History “The decision has been made to dismantle the Bishop Auckland gas holder as it no longer serves a purpose in maintaining gas supplies to the local area. The ongoing costs of keeping the gas holder in good repair have become economically unviable” (Tim Harwood, Programme Manager). The former gas silo in Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland, was erected in 1951, to supply gas to the growing number of residents in the area. The heavy-duty steel container could hold up to three million cubic feet of gas, which is enough to supply approximately three thousand homes with gas for an entire day. Originally, the gas was made from coal at a local gasworks; however, following the discovery of gas in the North Sea many gas holders in the area were quickly made redundant. As gas pipes were upgraded, and new ones laid, most gas silos in and around Bishop Auckland were dismantled. The gas holder at Tindale Crescent remained in situ up until August 2014 as it was used to bolster Northern Gas Network’s supplies during colder winter months. Nevertheless, as a result of advances in technology, which substantially enhanced the capability of modern-day equipment, the gas silo was eventually rendered superfluous. To keep the demolition operation safe and environmentally friendly, long armed-shears were used to dismantle the old gas silo. All of the other surplus equipment on the site was also removed, including the solidified oily sludge that had settled at the bottom of the gasholder tank. All of the steel-based materials were later recycled. Presently, the land the former gas silo used to stand on remains barren and undeveloped. Our Version of Events After hearing that Bishop Auckland’s old gas silo was due to be demolished, we decided to have a quick wander over there early one morning, before we set off to tackle more challenging things in the afternoon. Access to the silo could have been extraordinarily easy, but for some reason we made it much more difficult than it needed to be. First of all, we decided to wander through a field of feisty ‘gyppo’ horses (the sort that charge at you if you dare to glance in their general direction). After that, we decided to risk losing testicles by climbing two palisade fences. These fences looked particularly pointy too, almost as though some pissed off fence worker had been having a bad day and decided to intentionally sharpened them. The solid steel spikes glistened dazzlingly beneath the sun as we precariously edged our way, one testicle at a time, over the top of them. From the top of the fence we had to jump, as another fucker had decided to place a large coil of barbed wire at the very base. It took several excruciatingly tense minutes until we were all safely inside the compound. The inside of the fenced off area was mostly covered in gravel, except for a few weeds poking through here and there. Directly in front of us was the gas holder itself, and some smaller pieces of equipment attached to the side of it. The main tank dominated the view in front of us; it was a lot taller than we’d first expected. It was at this point, however, that we noticed the small gate just behind us, and as it turned out it was already open... What this means is that if one of us had actually ended up getting castrated, it would all have been completely unnecessary. The gate was well oiled too, so it opened without so much as a squeak. Next, then, after that slight fuck up, most of us chose to climb over the fence guarding the main staircase leading to the top of the silo. Rizla decided not to join us, and instead made use of the large ladder-like rungs on the side of the tank. Needless to say, he managed to get to the top far quicker than the rest of us. It took the rest of the group a while longer to navigate our way over the slightly rusty steel barbs. Once we were all on the staircase it didn’t take long to race to the top and take a few shots though. Up on top, there wasn’t much to see. This didn’t surprise us of course; you’d have to be a very imaginative sort of person if you expect to find anything incredibly interesting on top of a gas silo. What did surprise us, however, was that the top of the tank was a lot less stable than you’d think. It was pretty sketchy edging our way of the top to reach the middle, and felt a lot like it was going to give way under our weight. Thankfully it didn’t, and we survived long enough to have a quick climb up one of the ‘ladders to nowhere’. This was quite a strange experience, since the ladder quite literally does just end. It’s a weird feeling standing at the top with nowhere else to go. On the whole, we spent more time on top of the old silo than we’d first planned. The views weren’t too bad after all. But, in the end the smell of gas made us come down. Although the silo seemed empty, after we’d played around with a few rusty dials, valves and industrial taps the smell of gas has become noticeably more pungent. We’re pretty sure the container was mostly empty when we first arrived, but to be safe we decided to leave. One slight spark and we’d all be flying mince, and none of us fancied a departure note of that description on our tombstones. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Rizla Rider and Subject 47. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20:
  11. History In spite of Dunedin’s falling population throughout the twentieth century, Kenmure Intermediate School was built in 1974. Like most other architecture constructed in that era, the school’s buildings are distinctly modernist; this means the structures adhere to design principles that are open to structural innovation, yet they make rational use of modern-day materials and limit the amount of ornamentation in any project. The school survived for less than twenty-five years, as it was later merged with Kaikorai Valley High on a nearby site in 1997. Presently, the site neighbours a former landscaping and nursery business, and some sort of truck depot which itself looks as though it is slowly turning into a graveyard. As for the school, it is rumoured that the local police armed offenders squad occasionally use it as a training site. Our Version of Events Realising that it’s been a while since we posted anything from New Zealand, we decided to quickly pop back over the water and see what’s going on in Middle Earth. As it turns out, very little has changed since we were last there, except for the few odd abandoned sites that have a habit of popping up from time to time. One of these is Kenmure Intermediate School, which we’d actually seen once before, but dismissed as being a collection of dilapidated sheds. You will see why when you get to the photographs. Access to the site wasn’t particularly difficult, although it did involve a fair bit of waiting around. Dunedin is one of those cities that seems virtually silent, until students decide to have a party in their veritable ‘ghetto’, or when it’s time to explore. Two guys in chequered truckers-style shirts gazed in our direction for a long while, until someone inside their house diverted their attention. Our patience paid off; with their backs turned we were soon inside the school which, bizarrely, looks nothing like a school. For the most part, the school itself is pretty trashed, and most of the rooms seem stripped. As you wander around the buildings, however, an increasing number of clues begin to emerge, which suggest that this site was in fact an educational establishment. Quite a few of the old classrooms still have blackboards (which are actually green) in them and, for reasons unbeknownst to us, there were rather a lot of seats left over, all scattered chaotically around the site. Unfortunately, there were few tables, so we weren’t able to get any lifelike classroom shots. All was going very well for the first hour (the site is surprisingly large), until the sound of a pneumatic drill began to ring throughout the buildings. The single pane windows rattled violently in their frames, as the juddering steadily became more intense. The door of a nearby fridge even swung opened. Wondering what the fuck was happening, we decided to have a quick look outside. Outside, we edged forwards, creeping up a steep hill made up of rubble and other random shit, to take a sneaky peak at what was on the other side. Sure enough, there was a guy on the other side with a large tool of some description, laying into the floor like Tigger on LSD. Surrounding him was some sort of large truck depot; although, many of the trailers and cabs looked as though they’d been there for a while. A long row of silver trailers sat parked to the left of us. Several moments later, a we noticed a second guy walk over to one of the trucks in the distance. We watched him climb inside and start the engine. A moment later it roared past us, heading towards what looked like an exit. Neither the pneumatic drill guy, nor the truck driver seemed to notice us, though, so we headed back inside the school to finish taking photographs. The sound of the drill thing began very intermittent after a while, and it seemed to get very close at one point, but we came across no one else inside the school. By the end of the explore we’d decided that the truck depot must still be active in some sense; perhaps used for long-term storage, or something of this nature. 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. History “This is somewhere that has been on the market for ten years with little or no interest… It has suffered terribly from vandalism and theft over the years and is likely to sit like this for another ten years if permission isn’t granted…” (Ed Alder, Regional and Land Planning Manager). Homelands Hospital was built on the outskirts of the small village of Helmington Row in 1903, as a fever hospital to treat diseases such as tuberculosis, typhus and smallpox. Its isolated location was ideal, and specifically selected to prevent the spread of disease to larger towns and cities. The location was also deemed suitable owing to the fresh air rural surroundings yield; during the early 20th century one of the favoured methods for treating lung diseases was to use nature as a form of therapy, to move patients away from the smoke and smog of industrious cities. A number of trees were planted around the buildings after the initial construction of the hospital, to increase the supply of oxygen and create a more picturesque setting. Today, the vast majority of the trees have preservation orders, protecting them against any planned demolition of the site. In later years, the facility was modernised and redeveloped into a general health care unit. Although the original buildings adhere to a municipal design criterion, the interior features of the buildings were altered extensively; all of the surfaces were covered by more hygienic materials that were approved by health and safety guidelines. Unfortunately, the hospital was closed in 2004. Owing to its rural location and the construction of much larger general health care units in bigger cities, Homelands hospital was deemed superfluous. Since 2004 the facility has remained derelict. In spite of the site costing £20,000 a year to maintain, and although several applications have been submitted to demolish the existing buildings and build houses, Durham County Council have, to date, rejected all plans. The main reason for the stalemated negotiations are down to local residents who have, so far, objected to every development proposal. Many have raised concerns around the trees and potential drainage issues. For councillors, there were further concerns surrounding the lack of affordable housing that would be generated from each of the suggested projects. Our Version of Events A couple of hours before visiting Homelands Hospital we did a little research to see if it had ever been done before. As it turned out, a couple of other reports had been posted back in 2011. To our disappointment, the buildings looked a bit fucked back then, and it also looked as though there wasn’t much inside them. However, since we’d already planned to head over that way, we thought there was no harm checking the place out… Having said that, the reports we did find all suggested that this was a hard place to get in and out of successfully – without getting caught anyway. According to one source, the place ‘[was] PIR censored up to the eyeballs, and set to a silent alarm’. With such censoring in place, we took a moment to remind one another not to use any bad language while out on this explore – after all, the wireless PIRs must have been place to supress all such activity, and we’d taken note that there was a silent alarm to try and catch us out. On top of this, ‘6-8 officers with 3 riot vans and the dog section’ – Crook’s entire police force – seemed to be on call if the alarms were tripped. Other reports made reference to some sort of control room, where guards sit and watch you on CCTV, so we knew some proper stealthy moves were of the essence. After finding a subtle parking spot, right outside the front gate of the building (because it looked like it was about to rain), we hoped no one would notice us and ‘masked up’, preparing our disguises to avoid the hardened security measures that were in place. Just before we hopped the front gate, Box phoned his grandma to arrange bail in the event we got caught. Thankfully, she agreed, and even offered to bring cheese and pickle sandwiches and a flask of tea if we ended up behind bars. Feeling much better that we’d secured our bail, we jumped into the main courtyard and attempted to imitate some classic 90s Power Ranger moves as we ducked and dodged the CCTV cameras. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out as well as we would have liked, and very quickly we found ourselves staring directly up at one of the cameras. Knowing that the clock was now ticking, and that we had around ’30 minutes’ left before certain capture, we made a mad dash across the site, frantically searching for a way in. Fortunately, we didn’t have to race around the site aimlessly for too long until we found a suitable way inside. By this point, however, we realised we only had around 20 minutes left before ‘the boys in blue’ turned up. We set about setting our tripods up as quickly as possible, hoping to get a few shots in before they arrived. As the last leg of my tripod clicked into place we could already hear the distant barking of what sounded like dogs – and they sounded pretty fucking big! Inside the central corridor leading to the wards, and, in fact, every other part of the site, security lights suddenly flashed across us, which was very strange considering it was daytime. The three of us quickly ducked and crawled along the old red carpet that’s mostly green these days. It squelched and wheezed, and emitted an incredibly foul-smelling odour, but we didn’t care – the dogs were right outside now, trying to sniff us out. The mossy damp carpet stench would cover our scent perfectly. Loud barks and growls filled the rest of the air around us as we desperately struggled to pull ourselves along the floor without scratching our lenses. At the bottom of the corridor we soon discovered that the PIRs were the least of our worries. It seemed that the previous explorers had failed to notice the ex-Soviet AK48 Russian bear trap that was preventing us from accessing the lowered buildings and, ultimately, our only means of escape. It was only then that we noticed the second ex-Soviet Russian AK48 bear trap to our left. It looked as though it was originally positioned to prevent access to a kitchen area, but another unfortunate urban explorer seemed to have fallen victim to the barbaric mechanism. Held inside the trap firmly at the legs, a fully clothed skeleton was lying on the floor, clutching a dark chocolate KitKat in its left hand. Clearly this explorer had stopped to take a break, and in their excitement to taste the splendid mix of chocolate and wafer had failed to see the deadly trap. It was a tragic sight, and a struggle to fight back the deep sense of sorrow that was welling up inside each of us. However, knowing that we couldn’t hang around long we decided to move on. Fortunately, Mayhem, having absconded from the Soviet Union back in the 80s, had some experience in safely dismantling bear traps, so he set to work disassembling it like a pro. Meanwhile, myself and Box were hungry, so we decided to make use of the leftover KitKat. We shared the last two sticks with one another. There wasn’t enough for Mayhem, and he was busy anyway, so we ate it swiftly before he had time to notice. After that, since Mayhem still hadn’t quite finished with the trap, we had a quick look inside the skeleton’s camera bag. Inside we found a 64gb SD card, which Box wasted no time in swiping, a packet of ginger nuts and a damp wallet. Gripped by a burning sense of curiousity, we opened it and took a peek. Inside there was £4.69 in change, a flavoured condom and some form of ID. A familiar name was displayed prominently on the ID, it read: ACID-REFLUX. The pair of us gasped in shock. Before we could grieve, though, a loud bang erupted from somewhere behind us. ‘The boys in blue’ were there, at least twelve of them too, all dressed in full riot gear. Fortunately, however, and we might add rather conveniently, Mayhem had just managed to diffused the trap, so we all made a run for it. I grabbed the ginger nuts in the brief second before I bolted; there was a chance we might need them for the journey home if we made it back to the car. Not a single one of us dared to look back, we kept running until we reached the car. Box fumbled with the keys for several seconds, but eventually managed to ram the key inside the lock. Everyone jumped inside, and a moment later and the car roared to life. ‘The boys in blue’ were exiting the building now, but Box hit the accelerator and we sped off down the lane. Only a thick cloud of dust appeared in the car mirrors now. Although we regretted leaving ACID’s skeleton behind, cheers and shouts of joy erupted inside the car as we’d managed to evade capture and hadn’t ended up inside a bear trap ourselves. In other words, nothing particularly interesting happened the entire time we were exploring Homelands hospital. Other than finding many toilets and sinks, there’s wasn’t an awful lot else inside any of the buildings. While various parts of the hospital are quite photogenic throughout, it’s probably only worth a visit if you happen to be in Crook or Helmington Row, perhaps visiting relatives? Indeed, we did come across some old CCTV cameras and a few sensors, but, as far as we could tell, none of them appeared to be working. Having said that, we did come across an alarm panel which was still switched on, and the words ‘armed’, or ‘active’ (something along those lines), were contained in the display panel. So who knows, maybe our stealthy skills paid off in the end… Explored with Ford Mayhem and Box. *ACID-REFLUX was not harmed in the making of this report, we did not steal his ginger nuts, and to our knowledge he is still alive and well. 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:
  13. History “I was born over the road in Beacon Hill in 1942, and it was run down when I went down for eggs as a kid… It was never a posh place, but it was occupied by some old time farmers – lovely people” (Malcolm Hall of Kirklevington). Although it was originally a village, Little Burdon is a small Hamlet located just outside Darlington, near the village of Sadberge. Most of the Hamlet consists of a Grade II listed farm that was constructed sometime in the 18th century (mid-1700s). It is rumoured that the Little Burdon estate once belonged to the Burdon family; a well-established gentry family who were widely dispersed across County Durham from the late 14th century. The Burdons were originally granted land by the Bishop of Durham in 1337 and, subsequently, they were able to build their first house. Like most families who were given land, they prospered, and before long they had several properties across Durham. The farm was built much later by notable Burdon descendants, but it served well to extend the small Burdon ‘empire’ and the villages that bore their name – Great Burdon, Little Burdon, Old Burdon and Town Burdon. A recent report suggests that the last residents of Little Burdon were two brothers, Harry and Gordon Barron. Gordon was well-known for breeding prize-winning Clydesdale horses; many of the horses Gordon bred won the stallion class at the Great Yorkshire Show. Unfortunately, however, in 1995 a band of masked robbers ransacked the farmstead after tying the Barron Brothers up at knifepoint. This was the first robbery ever recorded at Little Burdon, and it was also one of the last times the Barrons of Burdon were ever mentioned in any form of archive. While both of the brothers survived the attack, they never returned to their home after the incident. Consequently, after the turn of the millennium the farmstead had deteriorated badly. Described as ‘an extensive renovation project’, the property was later sold at auction in 2013, for £175,000, but no work was ever started to try save the buildings. As for Harry and Gordon Barron, sadly two deaths under their names were registered in 1996 (Harry – aged 82 years old) and 1997 (Gordon – aged 77 years old). Our Version of Events Little Burdon seems to be one of those places you rarely ever stop at. Since the A66 runs past, and there’s no obvious reason to get out of the car around this area, you can easily miss the old Grade II listed farmstead that is slowly falling apart. We have noticed it many times before, but have also ignored it on every occasion. This time, however, we decided to have a quick poke around because, recently, we’ve been trying to cover more places that are closer to home. It’s really easy to overlook them, but sometimes the things on your doorstep can be quite interesting and more often than not they are worth checking out. Given that the old farm is in the middle of nowhere, and it no longer has any windows or doors, access wasn’t very difficult at all. Other than an empty car parked outside the main farmhouse, the place was silent too. After stepping over some rubble to enter the site, we chose to start off in what appeared to be the former courtyard. From here we were able to access the stables, old storage areas, sties and finally the farmhouse itself. From the offset we weren’t expecting to find anything amazing. It’s pretty clear from the roadside that the building is absolutely fucked. Nevertheless, as the site has some interesting history attached to it, we felt it was worth a quick look. All in all, some of the rooms are fairly interesting, and there are a couple of photogenic fireplaces, but, aside from that, there’s very little else inside. It was only afterwards that we discovered there is a famous lead firemark positioned on one of the walls inside, which signifies that someone took out an insurance policy with the Globe Insurance Company in the 19th century. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear in any of our shots either, which is a shame, but we ‘borrowed’ a photo of it to show you all and save us having to go back. After spending twenty minutes or so on the site, and pretty much ready to head back to the car, we were suddenly aware that someone else was nearby. We could hear some loud rustling in the grass around the corner from us. This is how it usually goes of course… You’re exploring the worst derps imaginable and someone happens catches you snooping around. Rather than hide or slip away, though, as we might have done on a site that wasn’t falling apart, we decided we’d be sociable and go talk to whoever it was; perhaps they’d know a little something about the place? As it turned out, however, we’d simply stumbled upon the owners of the car parked outside the front of the farmhouse. An embarrassed-looking couple were emerging from the bushes around the back, just as we turned the corner. The guy did a quick check of his fly as he properly clocked us, and his female companion appeared to be straightening her jacket. That’s what it looked like anyway. Both appeared to be very smartly dressed too – not quite the attire you’d expect for walking. We can only wonder what they were up to, hiding there in the bushes together… Explored with Ford Mayhem and Box. 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:
  14. History As a previous report detailing our clock tower explore noted, the town of Newton Aycliffe was constructed after the Second World War in an effort to tackle Britain’s ‘Five Giants’: poverty, disease, homelessness, ignorance and unemployment. The government at the time, which introduced the concept of the Welfare State, had largescale plans to rebuild the whole of Britain according to the Newton Aycliffe design. Prior to the development of the town, however, the moors in the area had been identified as a very useful site since the marshy moorland was ideal terrain for hiding munitions factories during the war. As the landscape was often shrouded in dense fog and mist, it offered ideal protection against Luftwaffe raids. A further advantage of using this area stemmed from the fact that it was well connected by railway lines; the first railway in the world to operate freight and passenger services with steam traction was built nearby during the 1800s, and since that time it had been extended to join a multiplicity of other railway lines. To begin with, a large ordinance factory that was no longer needed was converted into the first factory. As the war continued, more ammunition was demanded, and more land was subsequently required. Yet, because much of the land which had been identified as being suitable for ammunitions manufacturing was boggy, owing to the amount of clay in the soil, and inhibited by several small streams and becks, some of it had to be drained. A number of the streams were culverted initially using brick, so that additional roads and factories could be constructed on the surface above. The military were careful to avoid draining too much of the land during this development period though, to avoid losing the misty conditions. Once the factories were completed they were largely operated by local women; they were known as the ‘Aycliffe Angels’. In the years following the war, the munitions factories were replaced by manufacturing buildings, and the area gradually became known as the ‘Industrial District of Newton Aycliffe’. Many companies, including Great Lakes Chemicals, Eaton Axles and B.I.P (now Inovyn), moved into the area and they quickly became the biggest employers for the rapidly expanding town. New companies continue to base themselves in the exiting industrial estate today, including Hitachi who brought £82 million railway rolling stock factory to the area. As many of the former culverts were deteriorating, some had to be replaced with reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) during the mass factory expansion era. More recently, additional sections of some of the local streams have also been encased in RCP so that further development and expansion can continue. Our Version of Events Prior to exploring the clock tower in Newton Aycliffe, we had a few hours to kill because we were waiting for darkness to fall. After spending an hour or so cruising around the town, we deduced that there isn’t much abandonedness going on it Newton Aycliffe, so we decided to have a look around for some underground stuff instead. Luckily, we discovered that our waders were in the boot of the car, so we didn’t have to worry about getting wet. After a fair bit of wandering around, we finally uncovered a nice little culvert that hasn’t, to our knowledge, been done yet. To be honest, by the look of things no one has been down there in a long while; although the stream is fairly wide, the overgrowth getting to it was incredibly thick and brambly (not good when you’re wearing waders and forgot your quick-fix bicycle puncture repair kit!). For a long while, as we were walking along the river, we became certain there wasn’t going to be a culvert; we seemed to do a lot of walking, and other than some sort of abandoned bridge, came across nothing for ages. Eventually, however, four small portals appeared in front of us. Our perseverance had paid off… Sort of. At first, looking at the tiny portals in front of us with fast flowing water pouring out, none of us seemed too enthusiastic about the prospect of crawling through a back-breaking tunnel. But, since we’d come this far, we decided to have a look inside anyway. Once inside the stoopy fast flowing fucker, the first twenty metres or so were completely spider infested. We were forced to wave our tripods around in front of us, like heroic champions ready to slay dragons. Of course, we didn’t look like heroic figures, as we flapped at our hair, sleeves, hoods and various other places when we felt that all-too-familiar crawling feeling you get when you encounter hordes of eight-legged creatures. Having said that, these spiders were bold fuckers and seemed keen to give chase when we were forced to pass beneath them. Fortunately, further ahead there was a bit of a junction where we could stand up. We all squeezed into a space that was less than a metre wide, but tall enough to stand comfortably. As you can imagine, a group of lads sporting waders, all crammed into one small space isn’t too pleasant, but the feeling of relief in the old back muscles felt incredible – so it was worth in that respect. What is more, at this point we appeared to have outrun the majority of the spiders, so the junction thing we were standing in had far fewer legs and eyes. There was only one way to go after resting in the small junction, that was right. We splashed our way, groaning in agony the entire length of the next section which, as it turned out, was very long. Finally, we reached a sort of waterfall, where we were able to stand once more. The climb up the ledge, which was around average head-height was an interesting obstacle that made the explore all the more entertaining. Once past that, however, we realised we’d reached a dead end. Just ahead of us was a large grill, fully clogged with many years of Newton Aycliffe’s shit (not shit in the literal sense). Water poured through a few holes here and there, but for the most part the rubbish and decaying foliage was functioning very well as a dam. This last chamber was clearly pretty old though; since it was constructed out of brick it was perhaps one of the original culverts that were built during the war. We spent a lot longer in this section, taking photos and prodding the make-shift dam, in an effort to postpone the inevitable journey back for as long as possible. Eventually, though, we decided to get it over with and head back to the surface. We ran the entire way back in the end, to save our backs, and didn’t take a single shot. Funnily enough, it didn’t seem as long going back, and we were quickly enjoying the taste of fresh air much sooner than we’d expected. Explored with Ford Mayhem and Husky. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11:
  15. Thanks everyone, cheers for looking and commenting
  16. Indeed. Couldn't last more than an hour here anyway, the dreaded hayfever was setting in with all the damn fields around
  17. Yeah, a bit fucked all in all, but the truck made it all worth it lol.
  18. Cheers mate. Pass me your address and £20,000 and I'll ship her over to you
  19. It certainly has. Cheers mate
  20. History Tanfield culvert was built in 1723 as owners of nearby coal mines needed a way of moving material from their pits to the Tyne (see Tanfield Railway). From the river it could then be loaded onto ships and transported to large industrial cities in the South. As the surrounding land was not suitable for a canal, and two sections of the Causey Burn had to be crossed, the mine owners were forced to build a wagon way to reach the river. At one of these sections, the culvert was constructed; it was dug out by hand, and the land above was raised higher by manually adding thousands of tons of soil. This ensured it was capable of supporting a railway line. Later, in 1725, at the second problematic section of the stream, a large single span bridge was constructed using the Roman compression arch concept, alongside large abutments to the valley sides. Today, the surviving Grade I culvert and archway are, in effect, open to the public; the former is a road, while the latter is a pedestrian walkway. Both the culvert and the archway were built using the same sandstone. If entered from the Western portal, the first part of the culvert comprises an arched stone section. Further on, wooden support beams, which were placed inside the tunnel to help prop up the rock and earth directly above, are still in situ. The floor is largely uneven and rocky throughout, until the wooden boardwalk section is reached at the halfway point. Finally, towards the end there is a large modern concrete structure, presumably created when the bank required reinforcement work, when the railway was replaced with a road. Our Version of Events Back in the safety of the north, and away from the chaos of London, we decided to return to the Tanfield area and check out an old culvert a couple of us had spotted there many years ago while climbing near Causey Arch. We arrived bright and early (early for us at least) and wadered up in a nearby car park. From there we walked over to the stream. As there were a few walkers around giving us confused looks, we played the ‘we’ll pretend to be fishermen’ card. However, our plan didn’t seem to work at all; if anything, they stared even harder. At the stream’s edge, the sun was beginning to come out from behind the world famous overcast cloud that often seems to be a permanent feature of the North East. It was a pleasant change from all the rain we’d been experiencing of late. Unfortunately, however, our time getting a tan was cut short as the number of people watching us was growing at an alarming rate, to the extent that a small crowd was beginning to form. So, wasting no time, we jumped straight into it and headed directly for the Western portal to get out of sight. The first section was incredibly rocky, so going was slow to avoid falling over and filling the old waders up with water. A couple of sofas also lay ahead and required a spot of climbing; they made a perfect gathering place though, while we waited for the welly-wearers among us to catch up, as it offered some convenient seating. Of course, we did fail to take into account the fact that old sofas don’t fare well in wet conditions, and as we made the mistake of using them for their original purpose we very nearly ended up in the drink. After our near-mishap, we avoided the seating and chose to stand as we watched the others. They were struggling hard to avoid breaching their wellies; the water was millimetres away from spilling over. They almost made it too, until an unexpected drop cause an unavoidable deep area. Once we were all past the sofas, the stream suddenly became much shallower and less rocky, and our progress through this section quickened. From this point on we found ourselves beneath archaic wooden supports. Water trickled from the ceiling and the beams, causing sporadic droplets to fall on us as we walked. It smelt earthy and damp in this part, and there’s something oddly satisfying about that combination, it smells good. The odour continued right up to the boardwalk section, where old wooden sleepers have been lain out perfectly on the floor. We were surprised to find a floor like this; you would have thought the floor would rot very quickly being in a river, and yet, it’s been there for years. The final section of the tunnel finished with the large concrete arch. From memory, the ceiling felt much higher in here and, although it’s modern, there is something about it that gives it a dramatic sort of feel; there’s the sense that’s it’s a bit boring, but somehow it’s also very impressive at the same time. If you don’t like spiders, however, you might find this section less appealing because, for some unknown reason, there were hundreds of them here – all different shapes and sizes, and lots of legs and eyes. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, The Hurricane and Box. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19:
  21. Thanks, Andy. Cheers for commenting
  22. History While records are relatively vague, it is reported that St. Anne’s school was constructed sometime in the 1800s. The school is likely to have been constructed during England’s Industrial Revolution as Bishop Auckland became a large mining town following the arrival of the railway to the area. The railways meant coal could be transported to the coast and shipped abroad much more easily; however, more miners were obviously required to meet the growing demand for the fossil fuel. Subsequently, the population in Bishop Auckland increased rapidly; the population increased from 1861 in 1801 to 10,000 in 1891, and to 16,000 by the turn of the twentieth century, and more facilities such as schools were suddenly required. It is well known that the town’s history surrounds its links with the Bishops of Durham, and despite causing controversy with the local aristocracy, a number of them were keen advocates for improving education for the poor, to improve their social, financial and moral circumstances. As with any powerful authority, the influence of the Bishops and their attitudes towards education continued long after they were stripped of their power in 1836, meaning the area remained a great centre for Christianity (on account of the Saints the region produced), learning and arts. To emphasise why their influence, ethics and morals lingered long after they were gone, for most of their reign the Bishops of Durham were given power equal to that of the King of England. In other words, they could hold their own parliament, raise armies, appoint their own sheriffs and Justices, administer laws, levy taxes, issue charters, collect revenue from mines, salvage shipwrecks, administer the forests and mint their own coins. Unfortunately, the early years of the twentieth century brought a decline in the area’s booming industry, as coal reserves were starting to become exhausted. Colliery employment had halved by the 1920s, and, equally, the railways which supported the mining industry were also cut back as fewer were needed to transport coal. With lower employment opportunities, the once prosperous town faced a declining population, resulting in the closure of schools, businesses and other facilities. While St. Anne’s survived throughout most of the 1900s, the school was eventually sold and became Durham County Council’s Education Offices. The offices were moved in 2010, and since then they have been left to deteriorate. Plans to demolish the site, to make way for a housing project, were revealed in 2015. Despite the vandalism, anti-social behaviour and rats the derelict building has attracted, many locals have opposed the decision to bulldoze the former school, stating that the buildings are of an innovative architectural design. Our Version of Events Realising that we’ve been focused on a lot of underground and train related stuff recently, we decided it would be good to spice things up a bit and have a look inside a few local ‘derps’. One of these was St. Anne’s school which has been on our doorstep for years. As with all buildings that look completely trashed, it’s easy to set them aside and cast them off as being empty and shit, but as we’ve found out many times in the past, sometimes you can be surprised by what you find inside. Unfortunately, though, St. Anne’s school wasn’t one of those buildings; instead, it turned out to be completely stripped, to the extent that there’s virtually nothing inside. Access to the building wasn’t particularly difficult, as anyone who’s stood outside will notice, and after a quick scout around the outside we soon found ourselves inside – free to roam the old corridors and classrooms. As noted above, the building has deteriorated badly, so we had to watch our footing here and there. For the most part, however, the building is easy to navigate. On the whole, we were incredibly disappointed to find that there’s nothing left inside, but we did try to take advantage of how photogenic some of the decay that’s managed to spread throughout the building. It only took around twenty minutes to cover the entire site, but we were glad we took the time to visit a fine looking building that’s been completely ignored for too long. Like the entry, exiting the building was a smooth affair. We managed to get out again without attracting much attention (we think), and decided to have a walk down to the local shop to grab a bite to eat. Exploring is hungry work after all, and, as the Shreddies advert taught us many years ago, it’s important to keep hunger locked up till lunch. On the way, however, we encountered a few of the locals as they flew past in their chavved up automobile. In typical Bishop Auckland style, they decided to lob a chicken nugget out of the window, presumably in the hope that it might hit one of us… Well, we just thought we’d let those local goons, who were most likely the result of some chemical spillage that occurred in the area in the late 1980s, know that you missed. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and Box. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17:
  23. History Highgate Station was constructed in 1867, by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway, in a deep cutting that was excavated from Highgate Hill. The two tunnels penetrating the hillside from either side of the station were built some years before the station itself. Highgate Station was designed so that it had two side platforms and three tracks between them. A station building was constructed to the south end of the platform, along with a covered footbridge which connected the two platforms. The entire station was rebuilt in the 1880s, and a new central platform with two tracks flanking either side was constructed. The island could be accessed via a ticket office located in the middle of the footbridge. The station was altered again in 1935, as part of the ‘Northern Heights’ project that sought to incorporate the Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace lines into the London Transport Network. The first stage of the project involved the construction of tube tunnels underneath Highgate Station. To provide an interchange between the new deep-level platforms and the existing surface platforms, a subterranean pedestrian network was built immediately beneath Highgate Station. Stairs and escalators were installed to connect the existing platforms with the new underground ones, and street entrances to the concourse were built on Archway Road and Priory Gardens. As the pedestrian footbridge was no longer required, it was demolished along with some parts of the original buildings. The remaining sections of the older buildings were redeveloped, together with the surface platforms themselves which received some minor alterations. Following World War Two, plans to improve Highgate Station were never fully completed. As other sections of London’s Railways required urgent maintenance, and were deemed more important as they were more central to the heart of the city, Highgate became less of a priority. Despite being labelled as ‘under construction’ for years on various maps, by the early 1950s passenger services at Highgate’s surface Station ceased, but freight traffic continued to pass through the station until 1964. After freight traffic ceased to operate on this section of the line, it was used only for occasional London Underground rolling stock transfers between Highgate Depot and the Northern City line; however, since it was never electrified the stock had to be pulled over the lines using battery-powered locomotives. All activity ceased on Highgate’s surface lines by 1970, due to the poor structural integrity of some of the nearby bridges. Presently, one of the original 1867 buildings still stands; this is rumoured to be used as a residential building. As for the station itself, a number of the older buildings were demolished, leaving only the 1940s structures standing. Plastic sheeting was used to cover the old track bed after the rails were removed, to prevent water from seeping into the northern lines concourse which lies below. Much of the old route between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is now part of the Parkland Walk; however, this bypasses the station for health and safety reasons. Our Version of Events Getting into London by car wasn’t quite as bad as we’d imagined, but finding a spot to park was an absolute nightmare. As we toured the city for a bit, looking for somewhere to stop the car, we noticed that people seem to squeeze into any spot available; there were mere centimetres between some of them! Finally, after much searching, we found a space (thankfully) that wasn’t too far from Highgate Station. Judging by some of the cars that were parked near us, and the moss growing on their rooves, a few of them seem to have been there for a long time. Having witnessed this, we think we now understand, a bit more clearly, why there’s such a parking problem in London. Since we’d heard the station was situated in a hillside and surrounded by trees, we imagined finding it would be a bit of a challenge. As it turned out, however, we were wrong – it’s very visible. Gaining access wasn’t difficult either, which we were also surprised about given that there’s a busy station next door; we had gauged that it might be difficult to slip onto the old premises without being seen with such a high volume of people around. Once again we were mistaken in our assumption, as no one seemed to give a shit that we looked slightly suspicious milling around an abandoned site with tripods and cameras, meaning we were able to wander into the station very easily. Once onsite, even though people could probably see us quite clearly from the live station and a public footpath which runs alongside the platform, no one glanced our way; instead, everyone seemed more intent on rushing to wherever it was they were going. After a quick wander around the site it was obvious that there isn’t much there, and all of the tunnel portals are sealed, together with the additional doorway we found down the staircase on the main platform. The station itself was less impressive than it looked from old pictures we’d found of it, but it felt very odd, in a good way, being in part of the City of London that certainly didn’t feel like a city at all. Inside the small gully it was peaceful and we encountered trees and foxes – three things we never thought we’d find in the capital. The next fifteen minutes were spent taking in the quiet atmosphere and a few photographs, before we decided to head off to the next explore we had lined up. Overall, then, the site is perfect is you’re passing through the area, especially if you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle, but it’s probably not worth travelling from further afield to visit it. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and Husky. Looking west at Highgate Station in 1868, when it first opened. Highgate Station in the 1880s, looking west, when the two side platforms were replaced. The station in the early 1940s. The old 1800s toilet block was retained and incorporated into the overall design at this point. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22:
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