This one required an early start, but the morning adventure to The Kings Hall was worth the effort. Visited with Zombizza.
"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"
Started nice and early, and managed our entrance fairly incident free...if we don't count the massive tear in my trousers..
It's a pretty spectacular place with a wonderful blend of natural decay and marvelous original features/architecture. With little to no daylight, we decided to wonder round the back rooms while the sun came up before the spending too much time on the main attraction, the large auditorium.
The rooms around the back are a weird mix of new and old, some of them being more disgusting than others. One room was so pungent that I took 2 steps in before bailing out.
There was also one room that was filled with beds, old food packets and needles. Looked a few years old, but squatters for sure.
The larger rooms consisted of meeting rooms, prayer rooms and teaching rooms. All of them had funky wavy flooring where the wooden floor tiles had expanded with moisture.
Eventually the sun came up and the auditorium started to flood with the golden morning light.
After a few hours we left, although the exit was hilariously unsubtle.
This extravagant castle was originally built in 1605 to a more simple design. During the 19th century it underwent an Arabian style makeover which took 40 years to reach completion. No attention was spared to detail, with each and every one of the 365 rooms given its own identity. During the second world war it was looted by the Germans. After that it became a luxury hotel until it closed it's doors in 1990. Since then various plans have fallen through and a very recent sale attempt was upheld by Italian courts so its future remains unknown.
I visited here with @Miss.Anthrope, a place we'd both had firmly at the top of our wish lists for some time. We could've spent hours in here but decided to air on the side of caution and keep our visit relatively short as we'd been asked to leave the area by security the day before. I guess it was pretty obvious what we were up to with camera bags and tripods peeking over the fence and we'd been spotted on cctv. On our return we made sure not to make the same mistake as they are definitely keeping an eye on the place. Derelict buildings don't come much more stunning than this.
Villa Sbertoli was built in the early 1800s by wealthy merchant Agostino Sbertoli. According to some sources he decided to turn the villa into a psychiatric hospital because he had a disabled son, whom he tried to cure all his life. On his death bed he decided to devote all his possessions to a charity for the mentally ill, even their, so that his son could feel at home. It was inaugurated as a psychiatric hospital in 1868.
During World War II it was used by the Nazis to hold prisoners but afterwards was sold to the province and used as a psychiatric hospital again. In 1978 "Law Basaglia" (a reform of the Italian psychiatric system) was passed and the hospital was forced to close. By 1990 it was abandoned completely.
Really liked it in here, the main hall is stunning and there are a few medical rooms upstairs. Perhaps a bit staged in one or two of them but interesting all the same. The building next door had some nice bits as well. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start by bumping into Jonny the security guard. He seemed like a really nice guy but it was difficult to communicate with him. Luckily @Miss.Anthropewas on hand with her mystical ability to understand everything a foreigner says in a language she doesn't speak. He wanted 20 Euros off each of us to let us inside, and that's why he was being so nice. Now I'm not really into paying for explores so we told him we had no money on us. He didn't like this predicament much so we eventually reached a settlement of 5 Euros for the both of us. A sum we could happily live with!
Nice one bruvva
Ouvrage Latiremont is a gros ouvrage (large work) of the Maginot Line – a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles and weapon installations built by France in the 1930s to deter invasion by Germany. The site of Ouvrage Latiremont was selected and approved by the Commission d’Organisation des Régions Fortifiées (CORF) in 1931. It cost eighty-eight million francs (approximately twelve million in pound sterling) to construct the fortification. The design of Ouvrage Latiremont is known as a casemate fortress – a fortified or armoured structure, also referred to as a vaulted chamber, from which guns are fired. Once completed, 75mm and 81mm guns were installed and a second phase was planned, to add additional 75mm and 135mm gun turret blocks. However, the second phase of the development never went ahead as the funding was allocated elsewhere.
Latiremont has two main entrances and six combat blocks (three infantry blocks and three artillery). It also comprises more than five kilometres of underground tunnels and galleries; these are at an average depth of thirty metres. A small narrow-gauge railway system, which was connected to a regional military railway system, once linked all six sections of the fortress and it was used to transport supplies, such as equipment, food and ammunition. There were said to be several stations inside Latiremont which were large enough to service and store large trains. Once fully operational, Latiremont was placed under the command of Commandant Pophillat. Pophillat had twenty-one officers and five-hundred and eighty men of the 149th Fortress Infantry Regiment at his disposal.
Following the 1939 invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Thereafter, between the September 1939 and June 1940, Latiremont fired over 14,4 52 75mm rounds and 4,234 81mm rounds at German forces. The fortress, though, was not directly attacked until June 1940. On the 21st June 1940, the German 161st Division led by Colonel Gerhard Wilck, which brought 210mm howitzers and 305mm siege mortars with them, launched their attack against Latiremont. While the attack was underway, a small number of German units moved to the rear of the Maginot Line where they were able to cut power and communications. Despite heavy resistant from Latiremont and nearby fortress Fermont, firing ceased on 25th June and both garrisons surrendered to the German forces on 27th June. For the remainder of the war, the area was used for a German propaganda film, to document the June 1940 attacks, but it did not see any further significant fighting.
In 1951 the French government attempted to restore many of the northeastern ouvrages, to defend against a potential advance by the Warsaw Pact. However, following the establishment of the French Nuclear Strike Force, the importance of the Maginot Line diminished. Latiremont was subsequently abandoned by the military in 1967. Today, the fortress remains abandoned and has suffered heavily from water ingress.
Our Version of Events
Aside from drinking beer, this explore was our reason for being on the other side of the English Channel. We weren’t certain at all if the place would be doable, but after reading about it we decided it was probably worth the risk. Nonetheless, towards the end of our trip there was a sudden drop in team morale. This resulted in us taking a vote in an Aldi car park, over French bread and Biscoff, on whether or not we should crack on and drive for three more hours to reach Latiremont, or turn tail and check out a few old manors as we headed back to the ferry terminus. With the votes all in and tucked nicely into a hat, we made a short ceremony out of revealing the results. In the end, the remainers won, four to two, so there would be no leaving Europe just yet.
We finished off our Biscoff and spent our remaining Euros on food in Aldi before we set off for Latiremont. Our combined wealth got us a couple of tins of beans, a box of mushrooms and some spices to sprinkle on top. Someone did offer to buy our car in the car park after we got the supplies in, but we had to insist we really needed it to get home to England. The potential buyer still didn’t seem to see that as a problem though. It was quite a mission to shake him.
The drive over to the border of Luxembourg was very pleasant. We played some banging tunes and arrived at the location with plenty of time to spare. At first, we had anticipated that finding the fortress in the forest would be quite a challenge, but as it turned out we stumbled across it within ten minutes of being there. Gaining access to the gros ouvrage was a little more tricky of course – it is a military fortress after all!
Once inside, we found ourselves in a standard-looking bunker. There were signs and evidence that guns had been positioned in here, and at first we thought that was that. Most bunkers we’ve entered have been fairly compact and bare, and you can usually get through all the rooms very quickly. Our minds were blown, then, when we discovered a lift shaft and, after peering down to see how high it was, realised we couldn’t see the bottom. Obviously extremely excited at the point, at the prospect the place was going to be absolutely huge, we began to make our way down a staircase next to the lift shaft.
We made our way down the steps, which went on for a long, long time, until we reached the bottom where we found ourselves in a cold tunnel surrounded by enormous blast doors. It was at this point we realised we’d underestimated how big this place really is. For the next few hours, then, we made our way through different snaking tunnels, and explored many side rooms and chambers leading off from them. One of the best parts of the explore that we came across was some sort of old gun turret. There were plenty of others things to see as well though. This place was certainly a bit of a time capsule. The only problem, however, was that we started to lose track of where we were inside the fortress. It’s very easy to get lost in the labyrinth-like corridors and rooms and we’d eaten all the bread earlier in the day, so making a breadcrumb trail had been out of the question. Eventually, we felt as though we were well and truly lost so decided it was time to find a way back to the surface. It took a little while, and a few false turns, before we found a tunnel that sort of looked familiar. We followed it and, thankfully, ended up back where we started.
All in all, then, this explore was absolutely fantastic – certainly one of the best military fortifications we’ve ever explored. It’s also steeped in interesting history about the war. Anyone who happens to find themselves near Luxembourg should definitely pay this place a visit. You never know your luck after all, you might find a way inside like we did.
Explored with Ford Mayhem, MKD, Rizla Rider, The Hurricane and Husky.