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Found 199 results

  1. Campina Youth House Haven't seen this one posted anywhere so I decided to chuck a quick report up on it. I would say this particular location could be described as disused rather than abandoned, as it looked like there was redevelopment work going on when we arrived. Hence why it is so nice and pristine. Anyway, onto a little bit of history I found.. History The Youth House was orginally built as a leisure centre in Campina. A city situated roughly around the South East of Romania. It was constructed by local authorites in order to create a space for young people to participate in a range of sporting activities such as: aerobics, matrial arts and boxing. It was also established in order to promote culture and education and the house provided various facilities for the arts. The Youth House hosted a large auditorium to showcase fairs, exhibitions, conventions, concerts and festivals. Visit Visited with @darbians and Gina on a long weekend trip to Romania. We were driving past and saw what we orginally thought was a hotel and decided to check it out. Finding this place was defintely an unsuspected susprise and I'm very glad we decided to pull over. I really enjoyed photographing this one and I espiecally liked the mosiacs which reminded me of the ones at Buzludzha I had seen the previous year. I hope you enjoy my report! When you find a window open on the top floor, gotta get a few photos from the roof Thanks for reading!
  2. Made by a bunch of Melbourne Cave Clan members and used by even more Melbourne Cave Clan members. It was so much fun. Definitely worth doing on a waterway near you It's a bit epic, but maybe someone out there will enjoy a look.
  3. History Butternut is a foulwater storage tank in the suburb of Saint Henri. It was built in the 1980's with the increasing population of the local area. Essentially this is two long box sections, divided by pillars every 7 feet and split into 3 sections by 2 trenches for the soup to flow back into the sewerage system. Explore By this point in the week, our numbers were dwindling. Still a fun evening which was finished with mimosas on a friends balcony, before sleeping on said balcony. Although being entirely made of concrete, this was very photogenic. There was plenty of evidence of it's purpose on the floor, but the worms didn't seem to mind. There were hundreds of them. Great end to an epic week. (1) (2) (3) (4) Cheers for Looking
  4. History The Canada Malting complex was designed by David Jerome Spence, and was built in 1904. On the west side of the complex there are nine violet coloured silos. They are covered in treated clay tiles that were manufactured by the Barnett and Record Co. of Minneapolis. These silos are rare examples of using this technique to cover and insulate silos. The cement silos on the other side were added in the 1940s, and were used to store the barley used to produce the malt. The barley was germinated and dried in the buildings that lined Saint-Ambroise Street. The factory had an enormous output of 250,000 pounds (110,000 kg) of malt per year, and distributed it to distilleries and breweries. The closing of the Lachine Canal in 1970 forced the company to transport its malt by train only, and around 1980, the building was actually too small and the transportation costs too high, so the company abandoned the site and moved into a new malting complex located at 205 Riverside and Mill Street, Montreal. The building was then sold for $500,000 and became a soya and corn storage facility for Quonta Holding Ltd, before it was abandoned in 1989 when Canadian National ceased its rail line service to factories in this area of the canal. The original clay silos are now protected as part of the Lachine Canal National Historic Site. They have been so battered from both the elements and vandalism, that it is no longer possible to restore them. There have been applications for it to be converted to accommodation, but all plans have been refused so far. Since being abandoned in 1989, the factory has been covered in graffiti on the outside as well as the inside of the building. Construction of the original silos in 1903 Explore After a little trouble getting through customs, I was here 3 hours after first stepping foot on Canadian soil. I spent my first two nights sleeping here, one helping set up, another partying. Sadly my experience with customs was more costly than I initially thought. After guiding me to a search room, they tipped the contents of my rucksack out and my lens got damaged. £150 for the repair, and they had loads of questions regarding the contents of my luggage. *Note to self, don't take waders next time*. After an hour and a half, I was on the bus to my friend's apartment. This place is massive. When we returned a few days later, the 4 of us spent around 4 hours in here and only covered about 3 quarters of it. Sadly, I can see this lasting just a couple of years more before it gets knocked down, or it goes down of it's own accord. While on the rooftop we looked at the façade of the main building, and the wall is coming away at the corners. The local explorers have done an admirable job making this their own. They've cleared areas for social events, clear walkways for people to get around safely and have added features, like a wood burner and a bar. Considering I usually prefer underground stuff, I really enjoyed this place. The rooftop is among the best I've seen, it looks over downtown Montreal and Mont Royal. This is somewhere I would return to. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) Cheers for Looking
  5. History It's been pretty hard to find history on this one, especially with all the information being in French Canadian. Located in the Villeray-Saint-Michael-Parc area of Montreal, Saint Bernadine de Sienne was a Catholic church built between 1955 and 1956. As well as providing religious services and confession, the church served as a hub for the local community. It provided room for nurseries, sunday school, youth activities among other community services. With the local community changing, less people regularly attending church and the rising cost of maintenance, Saint Bernadine de Sienne closed it's doors for the last time in April 2017. Explore This was one explore in a week of shenanigans. With 3 Brits, 2 Canadians, an Aussie and a Slovenian, this was very much an international affair. Access was laughable. While in there, photos happened, then we spent a couple of hours pissing around. This is probably the most relaxed I've ever felt in a derp. This is a beautiful building, it'll be a shame if it fell into disrepair or got torn down. I'm not a big fan of religion, but religious structures like churches, temples and mosques can be stunningly beautiful. For a twentieth century church, this was mesmerising and very photogenic. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Cheers for Looking
  6. When I started urban exploration 27 years ago (I'm getting old ... ), I always wanted to discover forgotten pianos in abandoned houses. It took some time to get the first piano in front of my lens. In the meantime I have found several ones and I still like them a lot. Here is a little selection of my photos of pianos and other instruments. 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 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41
  7. Did you ever went to an Island full of creepy dolls??? NO??? Let me take you with you! On my holiday in December 2017 to Mexico I heard about this place so I had to go. There is no holiday without finding some decayed stuff! The story goes as followed: The guy who lives on this Island found a girl who was drowned around the island. He also found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl so he hung it on a tree as a sign of respect. After he did that he heard whispers and foodsteps around his hut where he lived. He started to collect and hang more and more old dolls to calm down the spirit of the drowned girl. In 2001 the owner of the Island died and was found on the same spot where the girl was found. When I wanted to go to this place I had to find someone who wanted to bring me there because it was hard to reach according to people around there because of latest hurricanes and earthquakes . After a lot of negotiations I found someone with a little boat to go there and to be honest it was worth the whole trip!! I hope you liked it! Let me know what you think! Marco Bontenbal https://pixanpictures.com
  8. Hey everyone! It's been a while since our small Belgium/Luxembuorg/France-Roadtrip in September, but now I finally had the time to recall this one and edit some of the images. As I'm totally new to photography, I would be very delighted to hear your opinion on the photos and processing! (: 1st day:Usine Barbele The entrance was quite easy. The place where the hole in the fence should be seemed to have been closed a few times already; but everytime a new hole was opened just a few steps further. Arriving at the heart of the plant, we quickly made our way up to the rows of coking furnaces. It was a rather dark day, clouds hanging heavily in the sky, and we stopped many times when some loose parts made loud crashing noises, moved by the wind. We did not feel comfortable here, it seemed like we were not welcome. After taking some portraits at the big fans, my girlfriend told me she was hearing engine sounds, and we decided to rush into a small cabin at the side of the road and hide. And really, she was right: A black Dacia made its way slowly around the plant, passing the shed where we were hiding. We heard it stopping somewhere, opening and closing it's doors again, and we were in complete agreement we should leave this place as fast as posible. Hiding behind everything we found, we fled along the side of the way, stopping and quietly peeking back every now and then. 2nd day: HFB We decided to be quick with this one when thinking back to the day before. We made our way to the blast furnace, took some photos and left again. We'll have a look at the rest of the site on our tour in march. ET Phone Home I found this one online just the day before, and after a short research, I had the coordinates. After having a stop at a small park to have a look at a sculpture we wanted to see, we quickly headed over the fields toward this one. We arrived at sunset, and after strolling through high grass and climbing the small fence, we stood in the middle of those antennas. I really liked the view, but I'm not at all pleased with the pictures I made. Maybe we'll repeat that one someday. 3rd day: Diesel Power Plant Not much to say. The door that was said to be open was closed again, so we moved on to the sea and did not any exploration that day. 4th day: Salle des Compresseurs We made our way in from the west. According to the parts we found in this wasteland, it used to be some kind of power station. There are also some basement structures where you can still find some electrical gear. The compressor house was a nice little place - nice machines looking like ducks, rust, peeling paint, plants. Beautiful. 5th day: Power Plant X The access to this one was said to be "a bit dirty", but i really enjoyed it. We took some shots in the boiler room and moved on to the pumping room in the next building. Sadly we didn't get to see the big hall with the gas motors as renovation work was going on - the space was lit up like a soccer field and plastic sheets were covering windows and machines. Let's hope it gets well preserved for the posterity so they can enjoy that view too! Terres Rouges This one was easy. We heard stories of police driving around and were careful, but luckily nothing happened. The place isn't as impressive as HFB or Usine Barbele and in a quite bad shape, but there were some nice perspectives. It was raining cats and dogs, so we didn't have much time to shoot the nice reflections. That's it for now. There aren't so much images as we also did a bit of sightseeing and I sorted out a bunch that I didn't like or weren't able to process to the point where I could post them with a good feeling Hope you still like them! If you like to see some (but that's not THAT much) more images, you can hit up my flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152392524@N08/albums We'll do another tour in March (Be, Lux, Fr, Es, It, Ch) and hopefully we'll come back with more pictures. Maybe I'll also add some of my older images. And of course, thanks a lot to the people that helped me with the locations and confirmed my researched coordinates - it's really nice to know how to get in and somebody has been there recently. I won't publish the names here so that you don't get flooded with requests, I hope that's ok. You rock! best wishes from Germany, Nico
  9. This development is about half an hour from my home in Sharm..never realised it was totally abandoned so only had a look round the outsides but I will return...bit of history for yous: A most ambitious hotel this..a former Five star hotel complex comprising of three hotels,Moon,Star and Sun.Raouf gifted this hotel to his american wife who managed and used her artistic touch to decorate the place.The complex comprised a dozen pools,a casino and cinemas,however,there seemed initially that the business was a success but bookings dropped off and eventually the Moon hotel closed followed by Star then the Sun..now,the beach lies abandoned with parasol umbrellas and sunbeds piled up near a beach bar and the entire complex is now abandoned..even the locals give it a wide berth for some strange reason. Only a few pics of interest so....this is the state of the beach No longer busy Pool bar with quite a view. This water ride ran between two hotels Pretty impressive pool Massage anyone? If nothing else,I have brought a few sunny pics to your shore!
  10. Hi everyone! I'm looking for people to visit locations together, somewhere in Belgium, NL, Luxembourg, France, or nearby) I'm rather experienced with urbex, but I don't really like doing it alone and it's hard to find people who also understand what they're doing at locations. I'm mostly interested in metro/underground stuff and roofs. Soon I'm planning to search for some roofs in Brussels and Amsterdam, and check out local metro. If you'd like to join me - let me know!
  11. Welcome to the Grand Hotel S. which was built from 1840 to 1842. It closed its doors in 1999 and is abandoned since. #1 DSC05761 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #2 DSC05762 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #3 DSC05763 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #4 DSC05787 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #5 DSC05744 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #6 DSC05745 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #7 DSC05746 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #8 DSC05747 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #9 DSC05748 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #10 DSC05751 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #11 DSC05752 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #12 DSC05753 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #13 DSC05755 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #14 DSC05756 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #15 DSC05766 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #16 DSC05773 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #17 DSC05776 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #18 DSC05777-Bearbeitet by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #19 DSC05779 by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #20 DSC05771-Bearbeitet by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #21 DSC05769-Bearbeitet by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr #22 DSC05783-Bearbeitet by Ghost-Scooter, auf Flickr
  12. Too lazy to walk down stairs or straighten my camera.
  13. This Airbase was the largest underground military base and airport in all of the former Yugoslavia. The property is located on the current border of Bosnia and Croatia. The complex was built in 1948 - It was codenamed 505. The construction was completed 20 years later. The purpose of the facility was to establish, integrate and coordinate the nationwide early warning network of the Socialist Federated Republic of Yugoslavia, similar to NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). There were semicircular concrete shields, spaced ten meters apart to reduce the impact of the attack on the object. The complex had an underground water source, power generators, crew quarters and other strategic military facilities. Aircraft was used in 1991 during the Yugoslav War. Yugoslav People's Army During the withdrawal, it destroyed the runway by detonating explosive charges. In order to prevent any further use of the complex, Serbian troops detonated 56 tons of explosives. During exploration, a possible meeting of the police, the border guards of Croatia and the army should be reconsidered. The tunnels are buried, due to the underground connection with Bosnia, which would constitute a "wild" border crossing. Link to my fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/urbexdestruction/ [/url]
  14. I recently found this huge abandoned hotel in a sorry overgrown state. So I thought I would wizz the flying camera around it. I didn't go inside unfortunately as the perimeter fence looked rather harsh, with lots of no entry signs. plus it was way to hot. The Penang Mutiara Beach Resort in Jalan Teluk Bahang has been left totally abandoned since it shut its doors in 2006. Thanks
  15. The abandoned mining hospital, located in Hungary, dates back to the nineteenth century. A coal mining company in 1898 began construction of a small mining hospital, which began operations with the approval of the Minister of the Interior on December 17, 1900. The hospital. According to descriptions, it has been adapted for 50 beds. There was a surgical, internal and infectious department. The building was full of lighting, sewage and bathrooms. The facility was one of the most modern hospitals at the time. The care was extended to include the epidemic (1909) and the pharmacy. In 1911 the number of residents increased to such an extent that the hospital was no longer able to meet this number. In 1911, a new hospital was started, which started operating in 1912. The necessary buildings were built in the courtyard of the hospital (morgue, a section of the hospital, a chapel, a house for doctors and nuns, a horse farm). The three-storey hospital had 129 beds for patients who were placed in 23 units. The mining company was responsible for maintaining the hospital, covering all personnel and all costs. Despite many years of change, the mining hospital developed with the development of mining. The hospital was relocated in 1998 to a new hospital complex. Hungarians are tightly attached to the old building and have been trying to save one of the oldest buildings in the city for several years. It was sold for approximately HUF 276 million ($ 1 million). I am planning a rehabilitation center, an oncological center and a nursing home. I invite to visit my site on facebook. Link to the full album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/urbexdestruction/photos/?tab=album&album_id=143007552995318 [/url]
  16. Details in video. DeScent drowned tragically (is there any other way) in a Brisbane drain as a result of a flash flood. [youtube=
  17. This 1 minute clip was shot yesterday. Better with audio.
  18. Vozrozhdeniya Island (Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya, which translates as Rebirth Island or Renaissance Island), was an island in the Aral Sea. The former island's territory is split between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In 1954, the Soviet Union constructed a biological weapons test site called Aralsk-7 there. The main town on the island, where scientists and employees of the complex lived, was called Kantubek, which lies in ruins today, but once held approximately 1,500 inhabitants. The official Soviet name of this city was the same as the weapons complex itself: Aralsk-7. It contained simple infrastructure that consisted of a social club, a stadium, a couple of schools and shops. After the Soviet Union dissolved, the idea of mass destruction lost its relevance; Aralsk-7 was closed in November 1991. All people who lived on Vozrozhdeniaya Island were evacuated within several weeks; civil and military infrastructure were abandoned and Kantubek became a ghost town. Many of the containers holding biological agents were not properly stored or destroyed, and over the last decade many of these containers have developed leaks.
  19. A one-minute insight into my lunch break.
  20. History The Miramar Peninsula, which is located on the south-eastern side of Wellington, has a rich and especially fascinating underground history. The area is perforated with many coves and caves, and even more interestingly old military bunkers that date back to the late 1800s. However, information about these subterranean worlds is quite often fragmented or simply non-existent. What is known, though, is that for many years the peninsula was occupied almost entirely by the military, until 1907 at least when the northern section of the peninsula was linked to the rest of the city by tram. The peninsula has always been an important component in the defence of Wellington; its very name, Miramar, means ‘sea view’ in Spanish. The strategic position of the land was thought to be ideal for the construction of observation posts, coastal guns and emplacements. These were installed to prevent the approach of Russian enemy warships and subsequent attacks. Further additions to Wellington’s defence were made between 1933 and 1960, when Palmer Head was selected as the site for a new battery. Guns were installed in 1936 and by the outbreak of World War II it was operational, although not at full efficiency because some facilities had not yet been constructed. One of the fundamental problems was accommodation; however, this was eventually resolved with the erection of temporary huts. These were later replaced with more substantial buildings. A radar station was the next facility to be added to the installation in 1941 and remnants of this can still be found today. Later in that same year, following the completion of the radar station, it was decided that the site would be expanded once again. This time secret underground military plotting and wireless rooms were to be constructed. The development included the construction of an access road, an access tunnel, two plotting rooms, an engine room and two wireless rooms. Only two entrances for the secret facility were built, one to the north and the other to the west. Palmer Head was decommissioned in 1957, along with every other battery in New Zealand. The advent of air warfare and the threat of a nuclear apocalypse rendered these outdated forts redundant. Nevertheless, the guns were not removed and scrapped until 1961. Thereafter a widespread demolition exercise was put into effect. The original idea for Palmer Head was that it would become a new housing estate, and preliminary plans were drafted. In the end, though, the land was never actually set aside for this development. It was decided that the project could not go ahead due to the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) facilities in the area. Despite the rejection of the development project, the demolition plans for Palmer Head still went ahead and it was dealt with in two phases. By the end of 1970 most of the Palmer Head site had been reduced to rubble. As for the old plotting rooms and wireless rooms, though, they were never destroyed because they lay inside a fenced-off compound owned by the CAA. It is reported that for many years the old ventilation ducts to the rooms were left exposed and they were not buried until the 1990s, when several alterations were made to the compound. The Moa Point Radar station at the top of the hill also survived as it was being used by the CAA in the 1970s. Today, the forgotten secret rooms are once again accessible; although, finding the hole in the hillside is no easy task. Our Version of Events It was almost time to leave Wellington and head off in search of more abandoned places elsewhere in New Zealand, but as we had a little bit of time left on the last evening we set out to get one final explore done. Thanks to a young wizard who goes by the name Zort, we’d received word of some old plotting rooms deep inside a hillside somewhere on the Miramar Peninsula and they sounded particularly interesting. A good old historic underground explore would be a perfect way to end the trip. We drove as close to the site as was possible, but had to ditch the car and walk the rest of the way. So, armed with our cameras and torches, we entered the bush. For the most part, we were walking blindly, not quite sure exactly where the tunnel entrance would be. But it was good fun and we spotted a fair few wētā along the way. In the end, we actually came across the way into the underground rooms a lot quicker than we’d expected. For once there was a minimal amount of fannying around, so everything went smoothly much like a well-oiled machine. Getting into the rooms was, as we’d expected, a tight affair. Basically, if you have any Christmas padding around the midriff, or aspire to be a Hercules lookalike, you’re not getting into this site. With that in mind, we crawled flat on our fronts for a fair few metres until the tunnel gradually widened enough to kneel. From there we had to scramble down a pile of rubble and drop into a long concrete corridor. At this point we could stand up straight and see, quite clearly, that the only way we could go was forwards. So, we followed the tunnel and passed a few empty rooms to the left and right of us. One of these looked like it might have housed the engine at one time. As for the others, it was impossible to tell what their original purpose was. At the end of the corridor we found two larger rooms that were connected by a small window and a left-hand turn. We explored each of the rooms which have a few bits and pieces metal lying in them, and then made our way back to the corridor which turned out to be flooded in the next section. It wasn’t too deep to begin with, but the further we went the higher it got. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant pool of water either; it was slightly green and stale looking. Eventually, we reached the limit of our gumboots (wellies) and couldn’t quite reach the end of the tunnel where there was a large metal gate and more rubble. This forced us to turn back the way we came. After that we faffed around for a while trying to do a bit of light painting, before we finally decided it was beer O’clock and time for some food. To get back out we returned to the pile of rubble and, once again, suffered the tight squeeze back through sand, rubble and concrete. Explored with Bane. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16:
  21. History Barrett Street Nurses’ Home, which is a two-storey roughcast building, was designed in 1918 by the firm Messenger and Griffths. At the cost of £16,089, it was constructed between 1921 and 1922. It was officially opened on 14th March 1922 by the Minister of Health at the time, Mr. C. J. Parr.Further additions were added by Frank Messenger in 1928, 1936 and 1945. One final part of the building was also modified in 1950, five years after Messengers death. The nurses’ home was one of the many buildings at Barrett Street Hospital that the Messenger and Griffths firm designed; the others include, a doctor’s residence, storage buildings, a children’s ward, the ambulance garage, a laundry block and the Board offices. As indicated in our report of Barrett Street Hospital, in August 2012 the legal and illegal tenants of the Barrett Street site were forced to vacate the buildings with immediate effect due to assessments that had revealed their poor structural integrity. In other words, the entire site was deemed earthquake prone. What is more, the assessment also revealed that there were extremely high levels of asbestos throughout most of the old buildings; therefore, the entire site has been marked as posing a health risk to the general public. As things stand in 2017, demolitions plans are said to be imminent, starting with the removal of asbestos. However, it has been reported that the old nurses’ home, which is now a Category A heritage building, will not be demolished. Having said that, though, no decisions have been made concerning what will actually happen to it. Our Version of Events As indicated in our last report, we’d already spent much time trying to get inside the old nurses’ home and, as far as we could tell, it seemed pretty inaccessible. Nevertheless, after having something of a group ‘lightbulb moment’, we decided to have one last crack and check out a part of the building we’d previously neglected to thoroughly examine. It’s a good job we did have a look there too, because that ended up being our way inside this incredibly historic building. Once inside, it was quickly very obvious that the place was almost completely stripped. Admittedly, this was a little disappointing, but, as we would soon discover, the building had much more to offer in the way of aesthetic features. It didn’t take us long, then, to realise that this building was much different to the rest of the hospital we’d already wandered around. Rather than adhering to a traditional medical-style design, this place was heavily cladded in dark brown wood. The floors, too, weren’t your average concrete base, or plywood; there were solid hard wood boards covering them. The place was fantastic, especially with the lingering smell of the wood in the air, which was a bit like the mouth-watering aroma you get when you bake a joint of ham. Are we all hungry now? Ignoring the sudden craving for ham, we cracked on and made our way through a long corridor towards a sizable wooden staircase. From here building only got better and better. Down on the ground floor we came across several large rooms that reminded us of being inside a traditional English pub, or a fancy teaching college. Take your pick. Then came a large grand hall, the old laundry room and a traditional-looking kitchen. In hindsight, the place could easily become a small museum, not unlike some of the buildings you can find in Beamish. The final interesting feature we uncovered in the building was a strange metal contraption that looked a little bit like an incinerator. In fact, there was one in every single bathroom we’d wandered into. However, we couldn’t be sure they were incinerators, all we know is that we’ve never come across anything like them before. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time left to investigate them too thoroughly as we didn’t have a spanner on hand, and we were rapidly losing daylight. It had taken us that much time to explore the whole hospital, and all of its buildings, that it was almost time to find a pub somewhere in New Plymouth. You can probably guess what we did next, then. With that thought firmly planted in our minds, it was time to pack up the camera equipment and get back to the car. Explored with Nillskill and Bane. 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:
  22. History The year is 1918 and the cold, motionless, body of Michael Dravitzki is being moved into the New Plymouth hospital morgue. His small frame is covered with a white sheet. It is believed the young boy has fallen victim to a very potent strain of the Spanish influenza virus. The medical staff at the hospital are overwhelmed with the increasing number of patients who are suffering from headaches, sore throats, breathing problems and high fevers. Many fear for their own lives as, day after day, patients and staff begin to dribble red froth from their lips and fall into a state of unconsciousness. Once this happens it is not long before each of their faces gradually darken purple, and then brown before they finally die. Many of the patients had been in good health and going about their everyday business only hours few hours ago, but now they are gravely ill; no one has ever seen anything like it before. To help contain the deadly virus and free up beds for those who desperately need them, the dead are swiftly removed from the hospital, to join the young boy, Michael. There is mass panic spreading throughout the facility and New Plymouth as people fear today could be their last; in many ways, the fear is just as potent as the virus itself. Despite the odds, however, Michael lived (up until he was 89 in fact), along with many other New Zealanders. An elderly lady whose job was to assess the bodies in the morgue later discovered that he was still breathing. All in all, though, 8,600 died from the virus (of those 2,160 were Maori). It is thought that the severe form of influenza arrived on the Royal Mail liner Niagara on the 12th October 1918. According to witnesses, even though there were several cases of the influenza on board, two key figures, Prime Minister William Massey and his deputy, Sir Joseph Ward, refused to be quarantined. Therefore, the ship is said to have docked in Auckland and this led to the subsequent release of the virus. However, alternative sources suggest that the case of influenza on board the ship was assessed by health authorities as being ‘ordinary’ and the same as that which already existed in the city, and that Massey and Ward took no part in making quarantine decisions. They argued, instead, that it was the war that caused the deadly pandemic. Yet, regardless of the conflicting stories and the uncertainty about the true cause, one thing is certain and that is that the pandemic that hit New Zealand was very real. Barrett Street hospital in New Plymouth – the major city of the Taranaki Region – played a major role in trying to treat the unfortunate victims of the outbreak. In point of fact, Barrett Street Hospital had originally been built in the 1860s to tackle increasing cases of typhus fever, scarlet fever and diphtheria in New Plymouth. It is for this reason the facility became one of the largest in New Zealand; it had more, equipment, suitable medical supplies, beds and staff to take care of patients. In the end, the hospital treated thousands of people and managed to save a large proportion of them. Of the 81,000 people in the area, only 635 died between October and December 1918. The number of fatalities could have been considerably higher without the hospital and its dedicated staff. After the flu pandemic, Barrett Street Hospital continued to grow and serve the general public. The first major addition to the site was a home for the nurses. This was constructed in 1905; however, another storey had to be added a year later because it was not large enough to accommodate the expanding staff. By 1916, though, the standards in the nurses’ home were deemed wholly inadequate and substandard. This resulted in a new accommodation block being constructed in 1918. The history on the nurses’ home, which still stands today, can be found in a supplementary report. Following the successful construction of the new onsite accommodation, the hospital expanded further as new offices, an out-patients block, a dedicated children’s ward and a tuberculosis ward were added to the site. Nonetheless, the ‘glory days’ at Barrett Street Hospital were numbered. In 1950 the Hospital Board revealed plans for a new, larger, hospital that would be located in Westown, as the existing site could no longer be extended due to the detection of unstable foundations. The hospital very gradually wound things down for the next forty-six years, and, in the end, the original hospital did not actually close until 1996; only by the end of the twentieth century was it completely empty of medical supplies and equipment and sold to the Government for $1 million. It was reported that many people, including staff and nearby residents, were sad to see the eventual closure of their historic centre of medicine. But, many of those people did also admit that the old hospital was getting too old and worn, and that the corridors and wards were too large which meant finding your way across the premises entailed a considerable amount of walking. Surprisingly, though, despite these unpopular features, new life was injected into the hospital as a number of legal (New Plymouth School of Gymnastics and Carrington Funeral Services) and illegal (squatters) tenants moved in. The year is 2012 and several heavy knocks coming from the front door have woken a group of squatters. Bleary eyed and slightly hungover from last night’s cans of Tui, several squalid-looking individuals take a minute for their surroundings to come into focus. Most of the windows have been shattered and the glass is strewn over the floor. A mixture of psychedelic colours sting their eyes as they struggle hard to open them. It’s the graffiti, which mostly consists of scruffily written names in red and green spray paint that is scrawled over all the walls in the room. One of the group coughs, retching as the taste of beer and vomit suddenly rises and stings the back of her throat. The glass on the floor crunches loudly as she struggles to stand up right. Three more heavy knocks ring out loudly throughout the room, followed by a loud, authoritative, voice. “Come on, open up. We know you’re in there. We’re Ministry officials, open the door!” The door opens and the Ministry officials enter the foul-smelling room. The hospital is to be evacuated. According to recent surveys, the entire site has been deemed earthquake prone. In addition, a large amount of asbestos has been discovered throughout the premises, making it extremely dangerous to enter any of the buildings. One by one the illegal tenants are rounded up and kicked out of the hospital, along with the gymnastic school and funeral company who had been using the old morgue to store their bodies. They are warned not to return, otherwise the police will be called. Just as the officials are about to leave, everyone present is informed that the fate of Barrett Street Hospital is imminent demolition. Our Version of Events Our journey from Midhurst continued up to New Plymouth, where we decided to check out the historic Barrett Street Hospital.It took hours to get there, but bangin’ tunes and beer kept us going. When we finally arrived, the sun was shining and the temperature was twenty degrees, so things were looking good. It was time to get the pasty guns out and set up some tripods and cameras! Looking at the building from the outside, it looked as though it was going to be a right doddle getting inside. We were feeling confident. Several hours later, however, and we were still trying to find a way inside. If anything, we can say we were persistent… In the time we’d been there, we’d already bumped into a group of New Zealand’s equivalent of inbred chavs, two ladies (former nurses) who wanted to gain access to the old nurse’s home and a random guy who was checking out the local attractions as he’d just moved to the area. Perhaps we were a little too confident when we boldly told them, “we’ll find a way inside”, despite the metal sheeting that was covering every possible way of getting into the hospital. In the end, though, we did in fact manage to gain access to the main hospital, after failing miserably to get into the nurse’s site. Access was incredibly innovative and a wee bit ballsy to say the least. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Once inside the good old smell of rot and damp filled our nostrils. No doubt there was a bit of asbestos in there too, spicing the whole experience up that little bit more. Nice and content we’d finally managed to worm our way inside we began the usual activity of walking around aimlessly. When you think about it, it’s a bit weird really, waking around an entirebuilding for no other purpose than to see its rooms and take photographs. Nevertheless, this is exactly what we did, and this led us to discover the largest corridor any of us have ever seen. This thing was fucking massive, and it can be blamed for wasting many of our valuable minutes. At one point, we did think about giving up trying to find the end, but after thinking about it we decided that we might as well reach the other side to tell everyone about what it was like walking down the longest corridor EVER. As you might imagine, it was much like every other corridor. It had lots of adjoining doors, lightbulbs and terrible wallpaper. After walking around a good proportion of the hospital, we came to the conclusion that each of the wards were identical so we decided we weren’t going to get any shots that differed from the ones we’d already taken. In other words, it was all becoming a little samey. With that, we headed for our innovative entrance/exit. On the way, though, we chatted to one another once again about the old nurse’s home, and how it would be a shame to miss out on seeing it. It seemed like it was worth another shot at getting inside, especially since it’s the most historic building on the site and its future is uncertain. As we recalled, although there are talks to try and save it, based on its heritage value, there is no firm plan in place to guarantee its survival. Explored with Nillskill and Bane. 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:
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