Unfortunately I couldn't find a great deal of history surrounding this location but from what I have gathered it was built at some point during the late 19th century. The former occupier owned a large cement factory in the same town. I would imagine the family were quite well off, as it was very grand and exquisite building. The design of the villa shared various similarities with the Art Nouveau style of architecture. Featuring a stunning staircase, a beautiful skylight and an decorative greenhouse.
Visited with @darbians and @vampiricsquid on our tour of Italy last summer. As soon as we arrived outside, we knew it was going to be a good explore. Hope you enjoy my photos!
Tiny bit of history:
This was once the most expensive house built in Britain, costing 25million, as lovely as it looks from the outside this house should never have been built. It was only built due to a council blunder with allowed the build to continue without planning permission.
So the explore began with a quick scout of the area, once we located a good way to scale the 12ft fence, the climb began, slipping and a near miss with my manhood on the spiked fence we was in, we headed straight for a way in.
inside the house itself is very empty and looks like a few raves and parties have been held inside,
below are a few photos from the explore
Big Credit to urban loan wolf for the find
W. T. Henley was a cable/wire company that was founded in a small London-based workshop in 1837. William Thomas Henley is famous for having converted his old lathe into a wiring covering machine which was used to cover wire with silk and cotton as this was in high demand at the time for electromagnetic apparatus. It is reported that Henley’s company progressed at an impressive rate and that he pioneered the submarine cable field (laying cables on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean).It was Henley’s dream that all of civilisation would eventually be linked together telegraphically.
As WT Henley’s Telegraph Works continued to prosper, Henley decided to purchase a factory at North Woolwich beside the Thames in 1859 for £8,000. It is said that this development led to the laying of the Persian Gulf telegraph cable which is 1615 miles long, for the Indian Government. As a result, by the end of 1873 Henley’s Woolwich site had spread to cover some sixteen acres and his company also included three cable laying ships and a four-hundred-foot wharf to allow five-hundred-ton ships to load and unload their cargo. Sadly, Henley died in 1882; however, his company continued to grow in his absence and went on to form branches across the country.
By 1906 work on a new factory in Gravesend was completed. The new factory is said to have been an impressive development and it included extensive, purpose-built, laboratories and a modern reinforced concrete air-raid shelter under London Road that could hold approximately two-thousand people. The tunnels were built into old caves within the Rosherville Gardens – an area of land located between the cable works and the cliff face. It is likely that the air-raid shelter was factory-owned but also open to the public as Henley’s company did not actually own Rosherville Gardens at the time and it featured a number of amenities and six entrances. Henley’s company continued to thrive as the Victorian era ended; however, its success can be linked directly to the Great War as it was a catalyst for technological and industrial development and change. By the Second World War, Henley’s company was publicly praised for its contribution towards King and Country – particularly its contribution to ‘Operation Pluto’ (the construction of petrol pipelines across the English Channel). Despite this success, a decision was made to close the main Henley factory at Woolwich due to the repeated damaged it suffered during the war years. A new factory was subsequently built at Birtley in the North East due to its reputation for being a ‘misty valley’ that made it difficult for the Luftwaffe to target factories, and this was completed in 1950.
Sadly, a change of events occurred in 1958 when AEI acquired Henley’s company, having already taken over Siemens Bros in 1953. However, AEI is now the world’s oldest cable company and recently celebrated its one-hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary. Unfortunately, Henley’s Gravesend site was closed in 2008, though, due to it being ‘no longer viable to operate because of strong European competition’.
Our Version of Events
Not much by way of events for this one. It’s been a very busy few months and we ended up here to take a break after doing a spot of house viewing. Since we’d spent all day and most of the evening looking at damp, shitty rental properties that all looked as though they ought to be photographed and placed as reports on here, we arrived outside AEI in the early hours of the morning. Armed only with the essentials, our tripods, cameras and cans of Stella Artois, we made our way over the epic bog that you have to cross to find the entrance to the old shelter. We really underestimated how muddy this bit of wasteland was going to be to be honest and very nearly ended up taking a cold midnight mud bath several times. Nevertheless, we eventually made it across, with all our beers intact you’ll be happy to know. From this point onwards, getting into the old shelter was pretty straightforward.
Once inside, we immediately set about taking our snaps. There was a shared feeling among us that the heavy feeling of tiredness was impending so we wanted to get the hard bit of the explore out of the way quickly. It didn’t really take long to photograph the place in the end though, once we’d worked out the general layout of the structure which is a grid-like setup. This left us with plenty of time to each pull up a chemical toilet and enjoy a few bevvies. And that’s how it ended. The tins were cracked and we sat wondering what it would have felt like to hear explosions outside and the thunder of guns shaking the paint and dirt from the ceiling. In reality, all we could really hear was a superb silence and the odd drip coming from a room to our left. What better way to finish an explore, with beers in hand and an abundance of chemical toilets at the ready.
Explored with Ford Mayhem.
By Banshee =}
i have visited this place several times now ... love the place but so run down and unloved
now for a bit history on the place
Built in 1899 by the famous shipbuilder and entrepreneur William C. Gray, the son of Sir William Gray also of shipbuilding fame, it was the Gray family’s main residence, though they did also own similarly sized properties in Yorkshire and Devon. As well as William C Gray and his wife, 7 other members of the Gray family occupied the building for nearly 30 years, with a staff of 12 to make sure their every need was looked after. Even with all these people in there the mansion would have seemed spacious and luxurious with its 30 rooms, ballroom and indoor swimming pool. It was put up for sale for many years with no buyers eventually was opened back up as a training centre. This was short lived and closed its doors for the last time in 2006, and swiftly became the target of many vandals and arsonists and still is to this day unfortunately and stood empty ever since to this day and is on at risk register of grade 2 buildings
Now for the best bits hope you like
Ball room number 1
Ball room number 2
Former swimming pool
The End till the next time
First vid upload for a while, although I have not stopped exploring.
Should be more videos coming up soonish
This gothic mansion was once owned by a doctor who released a mental health patient who sadly went on
to stab an 11 yr old girl to death. I believe he was pretty much chased out of his home by locals (they may or may not of have had burning torches)
Nice place though, there used to be more cars, but sadly there gone now.
The car is a 1964 humber super snipe
and yes I know I spelt doctor wrong on the vid title god knows why