A while back I posted a report from a creme de la menthe location called Chateau a la Mange Tout. This sanatorium sits on the same site, not bad having two half decent explores right next to each other, joie de vivre! I meant to post a report at the time but never got round to it. It wasn't massively photogenic so I only took a load of hand held shots but there was a fair bit of stuff inside. Bon appetit, as the French would say Last but not least we had a quick peek inside the morgue, no slab but some body fridges left behind. Tres bien ensemble
This one is from earlier on in the year during a trip to France/Luxembourg, one I thought worth posting up here!
Chateau Lumiere needs no introduction, a magnificent building with such grandeur its hard to believe its been abandoned. The huge glass skylight allows daylight to illuminate all the floors, making for wonderful lighting. During the last few years Chateau Lumiere become a bit of a tourist destination, with vandals smashing the large mirror in the big foyer. Luckily its fared well over its many years of dereliction and is still one of the most beautiful buildings I have had the pleasure of exploring.
Built in early 1900s, this house was owned by a tobacco tycoon from Switzerland. After the owner moved away in 1950s, the house was used for business purposes, and was sold multiple times before finally being left empty.
There isn't a confirmed date it was abandoned, but the general consensus seems to say its in the 1980s.
After finally finding the location of it and seeing it was a reasonable distance from Luxembourg where were staying for 2 weeks, it became a must do. We found a charming cheap hotel in the next town over and booked a night there.
Finally the day was upon us and were there, stood outside awestruck by the Neo-Baroque styling of Lumiere.
We looked for a way inside and quickly found a well beaten track round the back. As we approached I could hear voices inside.
We definitely weren't the only visitors that day, in fact there were loads of people wondering around inside!
Most other people were explorers like us, however some weren't there to take photos as it turned out a bit later...
We started with the basement and worked upwards. The basement actually had quite a bit of stuff still left there, unlike the rest of the floors that were bare to say the least. In fact the house was almost empty from the ground floor up. All the fittings and fixtures remained, but no personal items were left at all.
We photographed it from nearly every angle we could think of. The best thing about Lumiere is just how photogenic it is. Its hard to take a bad picture.
It was a fairly relaxed explore, until we witnessed a group of 12 year olds smashing the glass skylight and then coming downstairs smashing bricks onto the marble floor. The red-mist descended as I yelled down at them at them from one of the skylight balcony's while waving my arms around like a loony. I must have looked like a madman.
They didn't understand my English, I certainly didn't understand their French. Luckily they didn't stick around much longer to do any more damage.
With the drama over we got back to the explore, now alone in the house.
We spent about 3 hours inside in total, but you could easily spent much longer there if you wanted to photograph everything.
One thing that struck me was the quality of every little detail. Silly things like the latches on the windows still work flawlessly and feels better made and smoother than any modern window latch I've used before.
Anyway, on with the photos.
In the porch there is this notice, translates roughly too:
"Many of us have seen that you like this in all its splendor. Photographers, Models, Fans of Urbex, but some unscrupulous individuals do not respect...Alas!
Yet you are known everywhere for your splendor, and the sublime cliches that you have brought us.
Today April 19, 2015 we owe you this ... to give you a bit of sparkle ... after the vandalism that you have undergone.
Thank you to those who will preserve you forever
Respect this place as you would at home
Do not break! Do not vandalize it..
Do not leave rubbish, paper etc..
Bring your waste back with you.."
The entrance hall and foyer.
Sadly this used to be where the the large mirror was, but was broken in 2015.
A rather interesting choice of wallpaper...
Recent damage to the glass skylight.
Saw this in the loft and couldn't help but get a photo too
The local history for this one is a bit vague, so we’re going off a few dodgy sources here. One of those includes a local lad we met inside the building who happened to be ‘salvaging’ trophies. With that in mind, it is unknown when the International Social Club was constructed. However, judging by the style of the building, and the fact that the social club only traded for the past twenty years or so, it could be surmised that it was originally a three-storey house that was built at the same time as some of its neighbouring buildings. In its current form, the building has a four-room underground cellar, a snooker room and main bar area with a stage and dance floor on the ground floor, a lounge and bar area on the first floor, and a one bedroomed self-contained flat on the top floor. The property is currently on the market with a guide price of £175,000. The brochure advises potential buyers that the building is ‘suitable for residential redevelopment’ and ‘benefits from central heating’. As for the reason for it being derelict, according to the local lad we met, the building was condemned and subsequently shut down due to a rat infestation. This information comes from an individual who, apparently, used to frequent the club on the odd occasion when he fancied the odd Carlsberg or lager shandy.
Our Version of Events
With a bit of time to kill over in Liverpool, we decided to go check out the International Social Club. It was fairly close to a couple of other buildings we’d been scoping out, so we agreed it was a good idea to pop in on our way back to the city centre. We found it without any bother; however, it just so happened that when we rocked up, so did a local chav. Clad in his dark blue tracksuit, we caught him sneaking onto the grounds trying to enter the building. At this point, then, we assumed he was meeting a few other local yobs to drink a couple of bottles of White Lightning in the cellar or smash the place to shit, or both. Nevertheless, no sooner had we thought these things did he emerge from the building once again, looking a little lost. So, we decided to confront him and ask him what he was doing.
After a quick chat with the local youth, he declared his ‘interest’ in abandoned buildings but also admitted that he didn’t have any kind of torch or light with him. This was when he happened to notice that we were armed to the teeth with torches, so we shared with him our intention to enter the premises. Our new chavvy friend was elated at this news because we could now light the way for him. With the newfound knowledge he would be able to see where he was going, he led the way and showed us how to enter the building (which, as it turned out, was rather easy anyway).
Once inside, we chatted with our new chavvy friend and did our best to convince him that ghosts don’t really exist. We didn’t seem to do very well in that department, unfortunately, so we told him that real ghosts only haunt pubs and clubs that had a good selection of beer, which this one didn’t. This seemed to settle Chayse’s (we made this name up, but it seems suitable) nerves and, from that point on, he started to reveal his true reason for being in the social club. He was there to steal a couple of trophies. By the time we were finished taking snaps, we realised his tracksuit pockets were filled with the things. We were about to ask him what he was doing, and how much he thought he was going to fetch for the merchandise, when we heard someone run (presumably away from us) up a set of stairs. This startled Chayse and, after checking to see the stairs were clear, he made a run for it himself. We never saw him again.
Following Chayse’s untimely departure, we continued to explore the remainder of the building. All we really had left to check out was the top floor. Once we found the staircase that took us up there, we quickly discovered that the door was firmly locked. It turns out, as we discovered later when talking to two Liverpool-based explorers, that some guy is living in that section of the building, claiming it’s his home. In hindsight, then, it was probably this guy we heard bolting up the stairs, to make sure we didn’t wander uninvited into his personal living quarters. We did knock, but there was no answer, so, having explored the entire building at that point, we decided to call it a day and make our way back out.
Explored with A Local Chav.
“We’re excited at the opportunity to restore the Littlewoods Building and give it an exciting new lease of life that will put it on a national stage and finally give it the recognition that it deserves” Tim Heatley of Capital & Centric.
The former art deco style Littlewoods Pools Building, which is rumoured to have been designed by Scottish architect Gerald de Courcey Fraser, was constructed in 1938. It was run by Sir John Moores and his brother Cecil as the headquarters of their retail and football betting company, Littlewoods, that was founded in Liverpool, and originally used to process betting slips from the Football Pools. At the time, with almost twenty thousand employees, the brothers possessed England’s largest family owned business empire. It was also the world’s largest football pools business.
Following the outbreak of World War Two, the Littlewoods Pools Building, with its vast internal space, made a significant contribution to the war effort. When war initially broke out, the building’s enormous printing presses were used to print over seventeen million National Registration forms in just three days. The main workshop floors were later used to assemble Halifax Bombers and barrage balloons. The building also served as the nerve centre of MC5, the government agency that intercepted mail to break enemy codes.
After the war, the Littlewoods Pools Building resumed its normal pools operations, and later became the headquarters for the Littlewoods Printing Division, JCM Media. However, Littlewoods huge success came to an abrupt end towards the end of the 1990s/beginning of the 2000s. Subsequently, as the various branches of the company were sold off, the former Littlewoods Pools Building was vacated in 2003, after the lease was sold to the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The building has since remained unoccupied. For many years, the threat of demolition hovered over the rapidly deteriorating site. However, as of April 2017, the iconic building has been sold and is due to be redeveloped into a major film and television studio hub, to make it ‘the heart of Liverpool’s film and media industry’. It is anticipated that thirty-five million pounds will go into regenerating the site.
Our Version of Events
The old Liverpool Pools Building has been on the cards for a very long time. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve never been in Liverpool long enough to get it done. It was time to change this though, since we’d heard the building has now been sold and is due to be refurbished. With no time to lose, then, we made our way over there pretty sharpish.
Initially, we were rather worried that we’d missed out on our opportunity to explore this site, as several other explorers have recently reported that they had difficulty accessing it due to cameras and security guards. True to their word, when we arrived we immediately spotted a chap sitting in his car outside the site’s main entrance. He looked kind of like an authority figure, but we weren’t entirely sure. We also, inadvertently, found the camera with the speakers while we were scouting out the other side of the building, after a strange bloke walking his dog lobbed a stick at it. Needless to say, the speaker went mental and informed everyone nearby that the police had been alerted. It wasn’t a great start.
Despite the first few problems, we found accessing the Littlewoods Pools Building a doddle. So much so, we popped back the next day because we ran out of daylight while exploring it the first time. So, given it might not be an explore for much longer, any local Liverpool lads and lasses might want to pop by now while they still have the chance. We’d say it’s well worth a visit. Anyway, once inside we set about photographing the main halls, then moved on to the front reception buildings. Once we’d finished with those, we made our way over to the clock tower. Although it’s mostly stripped, it still offers some nice views looking out over Liverpool. There’s also a very photogenic room at the top, just before you ascend the last staircase to the tippy top.
It took a good few hours and two visits to cover the entire site – other than the underground bits. The underground section we did find was flooded, and we didn’t fancy getting wet. At the time, we weren’t that arsed we’d missed it out. However, in hindsight there’s a wee bit of regret that we didn’t venture down there, especially since none of us are local to Liverpool. Still, we’re glad we finally got the rest of the building under our belts.
Explored with MKD.