Visited with Frosty, Shadow, Muffie and Vanishing Days,
Mid Kent College Horsted Campus was originally built to be a government training center, it was left for nearly two years until it was actually opened as the Medway College of Technology. The campus originally opened with these original subjects, Building, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, and Science. From walking around the site now, it is clear a lot more subjects were available and a few of the buildings look to be of a much more recent time. The campus was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1955, when he also met a few of the students and staff.
This place is much more interesting that you first think it's going to be. There's around 10 seperate buildings on the site, we managed to explore 2 of them fully, and most of a 3rd one before being distrubed by a pikie with a rather large crowbar in hand - we decided a hasty exit was called for. There's soooo much more to see however, and I don't think we've seen the best of it yet.
Unfortunitely the pikies are ruining it inside very quickly, it won't be long before it's a total mess. At the moment there's quite a lot of interesting bits and pieces to see.
View along the front of one of the buildings
Not worked out why I like this staircase so much yet.
Evidence of Science and engineering all over the site with lots of big bits of equipment left in situ
They also did Drama and performing arts by the looks of things in the curious round building which had this studio at the bottom and dressing rooms etc. all round the 2nd floor.
Absolutely mint lecture theatre
Interesting specimen in the Biology Lab
More labs - there were loads of them
There's definitely more to find here.
It's been a long time coming this, I've had my eye on this place for years (literally) just waiting for the right time to crack it. Well the time was right this weekend!
After several recces of the site over the last few months, and a close study of the plans we were ready to give it a shot. The origenal plan was to do it in a week or so's time, but Shadow and me decided to stop on our way to Nottingham, as we were driving virtually past it on the way it seemed rude not to - it was well worth it! Just a shame we were pushed for time as the light was fading and we also needed to get back on the road if we wanted to get to shadows house at anything resembling a decent hour so we only spent about an hour on site. I had already explored the tunnel on the site with CaveZombie a few months ago, and the tunnel door which was wide open when we visited is now welded shut, so just as well we grabbed the chance to look at that when we did!
The CEMEX plant at Halling is the last of the cement works on the Medway to close. While the main production plant closed in 2000, a small team has continued to grind clinker (cement in lump form) brought in by road from elsewhere. The clinker grinding operation is now planned to end when CEMEX UK opens a new 1.2 million tonnes per annum grinding and blending facility on the Thames at Tilbury. I believe the tilbury plant came online late in 2008 (or at least it was scheduled to) which makes the facility at Rochester redundant - although when we were looking round the site some of it did look very live still. However a vast majority of it is being cleared by demolition crews.
The plans are, yep you guessed it, houses! 550 of them to be precise. For those who are interested there's more information on the CMEX website. http://www.cemex.co.uk/su/pdf/Cemex_Panels.pdf The developers have had to reduce the number of houses from the origenal 700 they wanted to build to 550 due to local objections. The planing permission was only formerly applied for in September last year as stated in this document for those that like to read these things; http://www.medway.gov.uk/ddc20080903r.pdf so it's going to be a while before development startes properly I think.
Anyway, on with the photos;
1. The plant looms out of the distance
2. As you get closer you realise how massive this place actually is.
5. Inside the buildings, the lights are still on
7. The cement rotory kiln all still in place, just as I hoped!
9. Look up and this sight greets you, pipes, tanks, valves and switches all over the place
15. Underneath the massive rotory kiln
16. Cimmney closer up - it's 375 feet high - took me friggin ages reading a 1974 planning document to find that information. I don't think it's climbable thou, or if it is I don't know where the ladder is!
There's a lot more of this site to see, but we just didn't have the time to do it on this occassion. We saw the main bit thou which was much more complete than I thought it would be given it's been standing for 8 years+ now. There is also a 600 metre long tunnel on site, which used to have a conveyor running through it. The door to this has now been welded shut, but if you want to see my photos from inside it that were taken a month or so back when the door was still open, they're here viewtopic.php?f=12&t=842
Thanks for looking!
Explored this place (finally) tonight with Swamp_donkey.
This cinema has changed hands more times than my car! It started life as a Ritz Cinema in 1934, and was billed as "Kent's most luxurious cinema" with 1600 seats. It then become the Essoldo in 1954 and it was subsequently split into two screens, although both the stalls and the circle were kept intact, leading to a surprisingly large Screen 1 in the original stalls, rather than 2 smaller screens downstairs with a bigger one upstairs as usually happens. In 1972 Classic acquired the cinema and added a third screen in the restaurant area where, as music folklore has it, David Bowie's parents met each other. This screen had the odd arrangement of a pirescope contraption in order to project the films, as there was no room for a projector room. It was also tiny for a cinema!
Cannon took it over along with the Classic chain in 1982. Subsequently it became an MGM, briefly a Virgin and finally an ABC in 1996, becoming obsolete in 1999, when Odeon (by then sharing a parent company with ABC) opened their multiplex outside the town.
Sadly now the place is a total mess, it's due for demolition any week now once the planners sort out their dispute with Railtrack. Why railtrack? Well a railway tunnel runs directly under the cinema, I can verify this as we could hear trains in the tunnel about every 20 minutes while we were there, a very eerie noise that is. Railtrack have haulted any work on site until the demolition company can garuntee that it won't affect the integrity of their railway tunnel. Bonus for us, because it was supposed to have gone by now!
(External shot and historical information from http://oldcinemas.webplex.co.uk/tunbridgewells/)
Leading to the cinema screens, and what was formely the refreshments and snack shop.
Screen 1 looking forward
We were able to get under what would have been the stage area and there were all sorts of interesting bits and pieces stashed away
Ladies rest room, possiblly the most un-touched room in the place (apart from the druggy needles in the sinks )
We then ventured into the projector room for screen 1. This had all sorts of stuff scattered everywhere. Sadly no complete projectors, part of one remained thou.
Yes that does say 'Billion Dillar Boner' on it. Subsequent googling has revieled it to be a woody woodpeker cartoon, and not a porn film
Screen 2 upstairs in what would have been the circle area.
Through the modern suspended ceiling the building reveils a glimse of it's former glory.
Then we find Screen 3, which was the former restaurant. This was tiny for a cinema screen, and had a post in the middle. Doh!
You can still see the remains of the piriscope projection device on the ceiling, which was very crudely made from steel bars bolted together. I didn't venture too far into this room, the floor didn't look good.
Lastly we needed to find the second projection booth, very odd this as the only access was by venturing out onto the roof, there was no internal door linking it to the rest of the building.
It was stripped totally, apart from this amazing pannel of swiches and dimmers, which must be origenal from the 1930's when the cinema opened.
And finally, popcorn anyone?
Although it's trashed, I still liked it
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.
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.