The Margate caves are situated at one end of Northdown Road in Margate, and run for a reasonable distance underneath the site of a one time vicarage and church, both of which were destroyed in WWII - and the site is now a car park. Origenally they are thought to have started out as a denehole, but have had many uses in their past including a prison with dungeons that can be seen today, a secret place of workship buring times of religious persecution, and as a hideout and storage for smugglers with passeges to and from the sea.
The caves fell out of use at some point and got forgotten about until somewhere near the end of the 18th Century, a man named Francais Forster built a large house called Northumberland House, and around 1798 his gardener re-discovered the caves by accidently digging into them. A private entrance into the caves was made, and it was during this time that most of the murals and paintings you can see in the caves today were created. According to local history, the paintings were all done by a local artist named Brazier, who unfortunitely destroyed many interesting aspects of the caves contruction when the walls were smoothed over to create a surface for his work.
In 1914 a new entrance was cut from the cellar of the vicarage, which is the entrance that is still used today. In the making of this entrance, one of the murals (The Thanet Hunt) was destroyed.
The Caves were opened as a tourist attraction, but were eventually closed to the public in 2003 amid 'safety concerns' and the council has put forward plans to have them filled in and housing built on the land above on more than one occassion. Each time it's been blocked and thus they now sit there today doing nothing. (Quite honestly there's nothing unsafe about them they just need cleaning up a bit, but of course caves don't really make councils any money, but land for housing does! )
There have been proposals recently to re-open the caves as part of the Margate Regenration scheme, but as far as I know at the moment no real progress has been made on this.
Explored with Fortknox0, Obscurity, Frosty, Gizmo and Townie.
Thank for Looking!
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.
Visited with Shadow, Frosty and Muffie.
This place has been in my mind for years, but it's only recently since moving to Faversham that I went and checked it out, and today being snowbound a local explore was called for. I expected the remaining buildings to be totally stripped, which they pretty much were except for one end of the back building which still housed some of the origenal equipment and thus makes it worth posting.
Firstly a little history.
Founded in the early 1700s by Edward Rigden. Registered in 1902. Merged with George Beer & Co (Canterbury) in 1922 to form George Beer & Rigden Ltd, when the Canterbury brewery was closed and brewing was then concentrated at Faversham.
George Beer & Rigden was then acquired by Fremlins Ltd (Maidstone) in 1948. Brewing ceased at Faversham in 1954, but was resumed in 1961 to meet increased demand. Following the takeover of Fremlins by Whitbread in 1967, Fremlins' Maidstone brewery was closed. Finally, Whitbread closed the Faversham brewery in 1990 and transferred brewing to Cheltenham.
A large portion of the buildings were converted to a Tescos supermarket in 1996, but there's still 2 or 3 buildings left un-used which we were able to have a peek at.
(History from http://www.breweryhistory.com)
Outside Shot. The building housing Tescos is to the Right of this building.
Inside shot, a majority of the buildings look like this, lots of structural re-enforcement. I understand from a friend one of the clauses when Tescos converted the first building into a supermarket was that they made the other buildings safe and re-enforced the structure.
Just behind that blockwork wall is the Tescos cafe.
Success, there's just about enough left to make it worthwhile.
At one end is this dodgey as staircase, but it's worth climbing.
Top of the stairs
Right up in the top of roofspace.
So there we go, not the most amazing place in the world, but another one ticked off the list.
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!
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.