Not the most inspiring of places, but it's quite remarkable because of how quickly it got trashed. It closed in june that year, and by ocotber it was royally trashed. It's now been flattened and the land is still for sale.
The weird thing about this place was remembering it from when I was a kid, was sad seeing it so trashed.
Well it was a pretty foolish decision to try this one really, but it was just too tempting since the rumors of it being wide open and security not giving a damn just made it too tempting to try, and we desperately wanted to see inside this place before it gets stripped by pikies or burnt to the ground, which is probably what will end up happening unless something drastic is done to keep people out the building.
It was about 9:30 in the evening when Fluff, Ryda and Impact arrived at my house. From there we took the supercav to Buckmore, which was surprisingly deserted - there wasn't a soul around. So we grab our stuff, and walk through a gaping great big hole in the fence up one of the main tracks towards the deserted leisure complex.
We had a few heart stopping moments on the way up the track which turned out to people racing up and down the road outside, so we pushed on towards to complex, all of us a little bit on edge and uncertain of what we would find at the other end. Slowly the building loomed out of the darkness. Still nothing, no security, no lights just an eerie stillness. We quickly start walking round the building looking for an entrance point, we didn't have to look long at there are loads of them, smashed windows, forced doors, open fire exits - the place has more holes in it than swiss cheese.
In we go, we ended up in the climbing wall area. No sooner had we got into the building when we heard noises, then saw torches. Shit, we can't be busted already surely? Luckily (or un-luckily as it will pan out) it turned out to be some people from Essex, infact it turned out to be quite a few people from essex, about 20 of them in total just wondering around being far to noisey for my liking. This did two things 1. it made us a little more relaxed as if there's 20 of them in the building and they've not been busted, if there are any security they can't be doing a very good job. But it also made us a tad nervous since these people wern't your typical urban explorer type, I think Essex boys and girls sums it up nicely, and they were doing a nice job of smashing every beer bottle they came across, and breaking the remainder of the windows
The main hall where the rave was
At this point we contemplated leaving after only taking a few photos, as the essex boys and girls were becoming a liability, but we hadn't come all this way to just give up, oh no! So we lay low for a bit in one of the smaller rooms, took a few photos of corridors and had a cup of coffee (cheers ryda ) The noise had subsided, it was safe to come out, so we did, and started doing what we do best.
Remember this place was absolutely mint just a week ago.
At this point we managed to get split up, and try though we might we just couldn't find fluff and impact anywhere, so me and ryda just carried on looking round the building trying to find the swimming pool area, which we managed to do just in time to see headlights coming up the main road leading to the centre. Fuck, security - duck down, so we hid behind the small pool while security shone lights though the windows round the pool area. Boy are there a lot of windows in that pool area. After what felt like hours, they had got far enough away for us to make a dash back into the changing rooms, where we hastily packed away our camera gear in preparation for possibly making a run for it.
We still had no idea where fluff and impact were at this point, although we had seen them through a window earlier being lit up by security so we knew people were onto us. We sat in the changing rooms for a bit before hearing a shout 'come on out, we know you're there' from outside in the corridor. This corridor was the only exit, so we decided to just give ourselves up in the hope that they'd just give us a ticking off and let us walk off site.
Little did we know at that point that half of medways finest were already on site looking for us, they had dogs, vans the lot. The other half of medways finest were still on their way, in total at it's height there were about 20 police personnel on site. We just went quietly, not a lot else we could do, although I did protest a little at being arrested for buglary, afterall we wern't stealing anything. We still didn't know where fluff and impact were at this point. We were later re-united at the police station.
I have to say the police were very professional at the way they handled the situation, and once we were back at the police station (They took us all the way to Tonbridge because the nik at Medway had a powecut ) they were actually quite friendly and seemed to show an interest in what we were doing. We were held in the cells for the rest of the night, and were all interviewed this morning, then the entire thing was dropped as we were expecting. We were then left with a problem, how the hek to we get back to the car? The police arn't that well known for providing a taxi service. Lady luck must have been smiling down upon us today however, because the officer who interviewed us managed to get the go ahead to drive us back to where the car was. Thank you very much officer, you saved us a fortune in taxi fayres.
All in all a very eventful night that none of us will be forgetting in a long while. All's well that ends well, no harm was done and we even got to keep our pictures. The irritating thing about the whole thing is if it hadn't been for the other group of people on site, we wouldn't have been in so much trouble. Apparently the police were called because of a large number of vehicles being seen around the area. Fearing another rave or simelar kicking off they scrambled all available cars to the area, just to arrest the 4 of us as the people they really wanted were long gone.
One last word. Stay away from buckmore, you will end up in a shite load of trouble if you're caught. They are going to be locking the building up tight, we all said at interview how easy it was to get in, and it needs to be sealed up. The officer in charge is going to see that this happens. I know it's a shame that we won't be able to explore it, but that's Â£15 million of building there just getting slowly more and more trashed. It's not beyond saving quite yet, but given a few more weeks of abuse it very soon could be.
Many thanks for reading
Location - BAE Systems, Rochester, Kent
Date Visted: February 2008
Curent Status: Has now been demolished
Future Plans: Redevelopment.
BAE systems Rochester was primerily involved in the manufacture of Electronics and Integrated solutions. The buildings form part of Rochester Airport, and were used by an RAF flying school and the Shorts Brothers prior to being used by BAE systems.
The older part of the complex dates from the 1930's and was probably built when No 23 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School took over use of the site in 1938. The newer part was probably built in when GEC (comprising Marconi and instrument makers Elliot Automation) took over use of the site in 1979. BAE aquired both of these companies in the following years, and continued operations a Rochester until the site was vacated in 2004.
Rochester airport itself is now run on a care and maintenance basis by a group of entusiasts, who are currently negotiating with Medway council over a long term lease for the site. The buildings ajoining Maidstone Road are the ones we visted; they are currently being demolished and the land is set for redevelopment. As you can see there's not a lot left, but it was still interesting to look round none the less.
If you have an electric panel fetish, then this is the place for you.
Thanks for looking
Location - Crest Packaging, Gillingham
Date Visited - January 2008
Present Status - Demolition in progress
Future Plans - Proposed Distribution Centre
Crest packaging was origenally known as Bowaters packaging. The origenal factory and admin block were built in the late 50's/early 60's, the factories primary purpose was the manufacture of flexible packaging primerily for the food industry. Bowaters packaging was brought out by the Crest group in 1985, and the factory traded as Crest packaging from then until it closed in 2003 following the collapse of the Crest group, leaving opver 200 people out of work.
The site has now been demolished and rhumor has it a large distribution centre is due to be built there.
There's not a great deal to show what the place did, as all assets were sold off when the company collapsed, however it was still a good explore and there were lots of interesting bits in the admin block.
Enjoy the photos, and I apologise for the quality as they were taken on a very old fujifilm camera.
Factory Floor, Completely stripped bare
Bridge linking factory to Admin block. Apologies for poor photo, handheld shot on an old camera.
Missing government data
Obligatory phone shot
The admin block is set out over 4 floors, mostly empty boring offices, until you get to the basement levels.
Amazing walk in safe
Safe within the walk in safe. You could say it was a safe safe.
Store room, I think they stored samples of all their packaging in the woodern draws, as there was some still in them
Really old franking machine. I wish I'd saved this, it was an amazing piece of engineering.
Up in the roof space. Lift motor.
1950's origenal lift controller
I'm the king of the world!!
Kinda had to be done
One last one, looking at the factory from thr roof of the admin block.
Unfortunitely this place is now rubble, but it was a pretty decent explore while it was standing.
Thanks for looking
Thought I'd post up photos from my visit here in April this year.
This location is very under-valued in my opinion, it is in fantastic condition inside and makes for a really interesting couple of hours explore. The building is pretty big inside, many offices and little back rooms to be found, as well as two projector rooms (Projectors sadly gone) with 3 cinema screens and lots of other random rooms. There's also a fair amount of origenal features and detailing in the building, which is fantastic!
The cinema closed its doors in 1999 (I think) when the multiplex odeon opened down the road at lockmeadow. It has laied empty ever since, although someone must maintain it, as it's surprisingly clean and tidy inside, and the ventilation/heating system is still on (as the bingo hall underneath share the same system)
Apologies for the quality of these pics, they were on my old camera and were mostly handheld as I didn't posess a tripod back then!!
Going up . . .
Pop corn anyone??
To the Cinema Screens
This is Screen 2, Screens 1 and 2 are virtually identical mirror images of each other where the origenal audatorium was split in 2.
Motors that powered the screen curtains and shuttering.
Screen 3 was the most amazing room with the most fantastic plasterwork in the ceiling.
And this random room, who knows what it was used for, but there were lots of period features in it, and a bloody strip light right in the middle spoiling it all!
Random rooms everywhere with all sorts of bits in
Some projector room equipment, but no projectors
And a couple of images from the roof looking over maidstone
It was an amazing place to look round, nice and warm and dry for a change as well.