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This was my first ever trip down a mine. So a massive thanks to @EOA for making it happen and another massive thanks to @monk and his daughter for being excellent guides. It was bloody awesome, I could've spent all day poking around the sheds at the top tbh. Underground however was just amazing. It's bloody big this place so a return visit over a couple of days with many more mine beers is a must. History copied from the ever faithful Wikipedia. Obviously. Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex. In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following year. During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear. In 1908 the company leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there. In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd quarry and reaching agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws. Modern untopping operations at Maenofferen. The uncovered chambers of the Bowydd workings are clearly visible In 1928 Maenofferen purchased the Rhiwbach quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953. When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946, Maenofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962 slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in use until at least the 1980s. The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use. Anyway onto my poto’s My first ever photo down a mine.
Having seen some older reports on this place and being a sucker for old theatres, it’s one that has always been on my list. Taking the long drive back from work (Bangor to Stockport) I get an email with info that this place is open and doable. I decided to pick @eastyham up and take the 1.5hr trip over to Donny. Ideally I’d of gone during daylight but I didn’t want to miss out on it. So complete darkness it is. Had a bit of bother of some goons who work in the shopping centre but still managed to sneak in another way. Really enjoyed it in here. The floors are mega dodgy towards the front of the building but it is rather lovely along that side where the old dressing rooms are. I particularly loved the fly loft level with the old painted signs and poster remains. History The Doncaster Grand was constructed in 1899 and originally stood on a prominent site in a shopping street facing the main railway station. However, town centre improvements robbed it of any sensible context and it is no longer in a street, but attached rather indirectly to the Frenchgate shopping centre. It still faces the station, however is separated from it by a busy inner ring road which comes so close that it has actually snipped off a lower corner of the stage house. It was threatened with demolition until an energetic local campaign and Friends group secured statutory designation in 1994. The frontage, which, with an improved setting, could again become a local landmark, is three-storeyed. Baroque in treatment, with a complex rhythm of bays articulated by coupled and single pilasters and groupings of arched windows and doorways all rendered. There is a large broken segmental pediment over the three central bays with date 1899. It retains an intimate auditorium. Two well curved balconies with good plasterwork on fronts, the upper gallery is benched. Single pedimented and delicately decorated plasterwork boxes in otherwise plain side walls, flanking a decorative plasterwork rectangular-framed 7.9m (26ft) proscenium. More decorative drops to the ante-proscenium walls, bolection mouldings and plasterwork panels to the stalls and ceiling. Deep central oval ceiling dome. The Grand could quite readily be restored and reopened. It could offer amateur and community drama and musical productions, small scale touring and other activities to complement Doncaster's new venue, Cast. Pics It’s so weird seeing a building as grand as this just surrounded by utter tripe. The old dressing rooms. There was some pipework from the old gas lamps remaining in here. And then the newer porcelain roses with brass? Conduit. This whole side of the building was rotten. It looks like the flat roof bit behind the grand façade is holding water and pissing in when its bad. one of too proper cool dated bar areas. My idea of heaven. A theatre brewdog. For the la la la la LADZ Not sure if this was a ticket or a newspaper clipping? This tiling reminds of any sort of leisure site back when I was a kid. The other bar on the top level. This was suoer cool for me. Not looking good for itself here. Some great art deco styling on the seats. Im guessing this upstairs part was shut off for years whilst it was a bingo hall. LBL? and some old pictures I found on google from when it was a bingo hall.
King’s Hall Southall Visited with @GK_WAX and @Lavino. This was a long arsed day but a good un non the less. The lads picked me up just gone midnight for the long drive down south. I’d been to a gig and I was smashed hoping to get some sleep in the car. Fat chance of that. After nailing some greasy takeaway on my way back from town and downing a crate of redbulls I was pretty awake, sobered up and ready for some derpingz. After gaining access, which was very straightforward we found ourselves a lovely skanky little room to chill out in for a couple of hours whilst we waited for sunrise. Bumped into two other explorers in there who gave @GK_WAX a heart attack LOL! It’s a pretty cool place this, a lot bigger than what photo’s you see online, but all of the rooms at the back are pretty much the same old derpy office/classroom type and not much character to photograph. It’s amazing that this place hasn’t been shut for as long as it looks because it’s super fooked. Absolutely hammered with pigeons and mountains of their shit. Plaster falling down from every possible point, the floors are all warped like some big shit parquet Mexican wave, but still it is a pretty unique building with some lovely tiling and worth popping over to if you’re around this way. After here we tried a few other places in the area and on the way back, sadly to no avail. You can’t win em all eh. So yeah long arse drive home just in time to watch the footy order a pizza and get back on the beers. History Located in Southall, Middlesex, in the west of Greater London. The King’s Hall was built in 1916 and was designed by architect Sir Alfred Gelder of Hull. The King’s Hall building has a 3-storey red brick and stone facade. It was operated by the Uxbridge and Southall Wesleyan Mission and it was soon screening religious films. By 1926, it was operating as a regular cinema, still managed by the Methodist church. The King’s Hall Cinema was closed in 1937. It then reverted back to a Methodist Church use as the King’s Hall Methodist Church. They vacated the building in January 2013. Pics