Jump to content
mookster

Five Years of Urbex (Text & Picture Heavy)

Recommended Posts

So here I am. Half a decade after my first ever explore on a beautiful summers day, June 12th 2009. I can remember that day like it was yesterday, it was the day after my last AS-Level exam and I had been looking forward to my first proper explore for some time after finding out a good friend of mine I'd known for years through another of my hobbies had been doing this stuff since the late 1990s. Hellingly was the goal for us and two of his other friends that sunny afternoon and little did I know how dramatically my life would change. I can still remember the feeling I got when I first climbed through one of the many smashed out windows and set foot inside a derelict building for the first time, I can remember the sounds, the smell and the feel of it under my feet like I am there right now and that is something which will stay with me forever and part of the reason why Hellingly is my favourite out of all the Asylums I have managed to do so far.

Looking back since that day five years ago I can't believe how far I've come, from starting out with what at the time was already a four year old Fujifilm point and shoot camera and no tripod, to the setup I've got now. If someone asked me five years ago where I thought I'd be now I'd never have been able to answer it, as I never envisioned I'd have explored over 200 times all over the UK, as well as four trips to the continent and another coming up in July, as well as the biggest trip of my life to the USA later on this year being planned as I speak. I've gone through finding and losing love in abandonments as well as losing my best ever explore buddy to a woman, meeting so many awesome people I never would have encountered otherwise some of whom have become close personal friends and others I wouldn't say no to exploring with again if the offer arose, and others I'm shamefully still yet to meet up with! I was part of a now infamous encounter with Beardy, had three car accidents, outran police dogs pursuing us, met the hottest policewoman in the whole of France, encountered the worlds angriest farmer in rural Belgium, had two very narrow escapes from serious injury as well as so much else I can't even begin to describe it all here...in short I've had five amazing years of generally being where I shouldn't with equally amazing people and long may it continue. Thanks to everyone I've met and explored with over the last half decade and to all others for helping me with related stuff, I couldn't have done it without you. Literally. Had my mate not introduced me to this properly chances are I'd still be an armchair explorer like I was for a good four years prior to 2009!

So five years and 254 explores later (don't even ask me to work out how many individual sites!) I am going to let these pictorial highlights and personal landmarks do the talking (well maybe with a little bit of narration....). This has the added bonus of you being able to see just how far I have progressed photographically as well!

Genesis....Hellingly June 12th 2009. My revisit in November 2009 is still to this day one of my favourite explores ever.

3629672952_a32a54eb8e_b.jpg

But it wasn't until I visited West Park six times between August and October 2009 things really took off for me...the visit in early September was marked by us encountering the odd fellow wearing only a red lacey vest top and womens underwear running out of the adjacent forest shortly after a policeman had driven off...

5733701367_ba766ba1c3_b.jpg

5734303530_8e5c9eedab_b.jpg

5734318190_30a4fdeee2_b.jpg

Wispers School in Haslemere in December 2009 provided probably the biggest adrenaline rush and one of the closest calls I have ever had exploring, about half an hour in we heard car noises outside and dogs barking, so we hid upstairs listening to people and dogs moving around downstairs, before we moved and ended up in the old servery, I reached out for a door handle and as I touched it a tremendous amount of barking erupted directly behind the door which made us totally leg it, we flung open a tiny inset door built into one of the bay windows and didn't stop running until we reached the road, it was about as intense as things have ever gotten for me. Later it transpired the police used to use the place for dog training...

4170133524_556a7f5cb1_b.jpg

Fairmile in the snow December 2009

4205814155_51922d5f5d_b.jpg

RAF Upper Heyford January 2010, here I would meet someone who would later become both my girlfriend for much of the year as well as an awesome explore buddy to boot. I revisited RAF Upper Heyford in March 2010 with Landie Man and TBM and got collared by the fuzz who searched us, but as we are good boys nothing came of it.

4279729848_52ac8834ce_b.jpg

Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford April 2010

4548428836_84527312ab_b.jpg

Pyestock, June 2010...I made four visits to Pyestock in 2010 and this was the most successful, but the experience in April when we were probably the first group of explorers to encounter the security with their new Land Rover Defender was bizarre, as a game of cat and mouse underneath the Weir Road bridge ensued with them parked on the road on top of us then backing off then coming back repeatedly.

4688187917_9f774c7845_b.jpg

GT July 2010, only a couple of days after it first surfaced.

5535547976_a3d9c3aa15_b.jpg

BIBRA, Carshalton August 2010. Barely anyone got into this place because of how well secured and alarmed it was, it's the only place I have ever been which has given me a really bad feeling, the whole atmosphere of the place was heavy and hard to stomach. We set an alarm off and got the hell out of dodge as we knew it was wired straight into the local police station...

4927701878_9ece79fbed_b.jpg

Abbey Mills Pumping Station November 2010, we turned up not knowing it had been very recently sealed up after some braindead morons left the access open, but by a massive stroke of luck we ran into a contractor who was milling around outside waiting for a delivery, and instead of chucking us out like we expected him to he said 'how'd you get in, over the back?' to which I replied yes we had, and then to all our surprises he let us in and gave us a guided tour! Very shortly after my visit a huge eff-off fence went up around the entire place.

5185112505_120ff32679_b.jpg

Reading Courage Brewery December 2010

5231702077_3cfd14971d_b.jpg

Centre for Human Sciences Farnborough January 2011, I made four visits to this woefully under explored site just down the road from Pyestock, which featured some truly awesome sights including the enormous climatic cold chamber, dummy fighter plane cockpit rigs and more

5364423431_cc36dcd76b_b.jpg

Crane, Oxford January 2011...my first and so far only crane climb

5368511121_f319fa5d5e_b.jpg

Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals Basingstoke March 2011. Organised as an 'official' tour after closure by the actual staff and members of the security team, this was a fantastic afternoon to see what was there as any attempts to get in unofficially would have been met with complete and utter total failure!

5528046540_0d985b8b79_b.jpg

Mitchell Grieve Needle Works, Coalville, March 2011. My favourite factory of all time.

5688178979_1fb7e947f0_b.jpg

Hanging a giant England flag from the local Grain Silo, April 2011

5645503993_4dbf62fb16_b.jpg

Denbigh April 2011, the infamous group visit which resulted in Beardy speeding out onto the public road and allowing his dog to attack one of us

5674839107_4301973e4d_b.jpg

That house I wish I'd never found, June 2011

5816035276_4f287f5128_b.jpg

RAF Upper Heyford Hospital Boiler House, the place that tried to kill me with stupidly difficult access but was worth it as barely anyone got to see this part of UH, hence it's totally untouched nature!

5894408551_72eeb68d09_b.jpg

RAF Greenham Common GAMA Site, a lifelong dream of me and my fellow urbexer was finally realised on the 2011 August bank holiday weekend. Simply one of the most amazing mornings of my life watching the sun rise over the missile silos.

6085782937_0edc7ced60_b.jpg

Mobil Oil Grease Blending Plant, Birkenhead October 2011, the culmination of my first ever multi-day urbex roadtrip and another favourite.

6233943342_14348e8d2c_b.jpg

Malvernbury Care Home October 2011

6258863524_7761ef4c67_b.jpg

RAF Upper Heyford Commissioned Officers Club October 2011. The best bit of the massive Upper Heyford site by a long way and only doable with permission as it was right behind the still open base police station....

6286135403_79b93ebb61_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mansfield General Hospital April 2012, a true great of the UK urbex scene. Managed to evade capture by the police in here too, hiding in a tiny room for about half an hour. Then met the security guard who was a lovely guy and who let us stay as long as we needed!

6908740626_5193459c04_b.jpg

Pembroke Defensible Barracks April 2012. My great-grandfather was killed here in 1942 by a mine explosion during a training exercise, me and my family along with families of the 18 other men killed that day were invited to the 70th anniversary ceremony held at the Barracks, and afterwards I couldn't not sneak off and wander round much of the largely derelict barracks. The family who own it organised the ceremony and at the time of my visit one of the wings was already converted into their own private house, with the others to follow.

7121811571_21099fe864_b.jpg

Grands Moulins de Paris, my first ever continental site May 2012. And still by far the most dangerous place I have ever explored.

7191062034_156bd02baa_b.jpg

ECVB Musem Side May 2012...perhaps in hindsight jumping the fence without realising 20 metres from where there are contractors cutting the pipe you just landed on to bits wasn't the best plan, but for some reason they didn't seem fussed....

7196425972_f361b9df3d_b.jpg

IM May 2012, still the best industrial site I have ever done, back when it was a mintaaaa

7208408776_85ec652200_b.jpg

That other sad house I found, June 2012. Later became known as Beekeeper's House when the inevitable tourbus found it.

7449857408_5cfd685be1_b.jpg

7511051368_b638b5420d_b.jpg

7511051530_bf10d249f1_b.jpg

Just an ordinary house in an ordinary street July 2012

7625013672_da6f74d379_b.jpg

7625019372_e22df75bb3_b.jpg

Downings Malthouses Gloucestershire November 2012, almost fell through the top floor here, after I heard a very loud crack from underneath me and the floor sink it's fair to say a little bit of poo may have come out as I quickly hopped backwards!!

8216945057_1c74d59a2f_b.jpg

GKN December 2012, I had made numerous visits to here beforehand but this one sticks in my mind as the most ridiculous, it was pouring down with rain outside so all the rain was draining into the tunnels through holes, the sound was absolutely amazing.

8323181948_f7d52c9dfa_b.jpg

Sleaford Bass Maltings February 2013

8501494580_b5652b64ec_b.jpg

Maison Boon March 2013...the first day of my biggest trip to date, a week long roadtrip around Belgium. And of course it was the day me and my mate got attacked by the angriest farmer I've ever had the displeasure to meet, and then find out his wife has been busy letting down our tyres. And after the guy vanished a shotgun fires over the house. I've had an aversion to isolated houses ever since.

8562030900_ea1b197492_b.jpg

Mechanics Institute March 2013, a place I had always wanted to see ever since I began this.

8570349442_fb736c9dde_b.jpg

SCPA Lab, March 2013...the coldest explore I have ever done! 2 foot deep snow and 6 foot drifts, a temperature of -9 celsius plus the wind chill factor which made it feel more like -15 celsius!

8574272193_1707111600_b.jpg

IM Cooling Tower March 2013

8577363075_a617419e50_b.jpg

Upper Heyford Hospital April 2013

8624578651_539b6428e6_b.jpg

GT April 2013, in a bad bad way

8624669053_7588b3509c_b.jpg

Grands Moulins again, July 2013...slightly bad idea going in at night, although meeting a lovely welcoming party of nine French Police officers a couple of hours later was a surprise, as it included one complete and utter babe of a police woman.

9290074503_abb4f16e9b_b.jpg

Willington Cooling Towers August 2013

9585701914_85c05a89cc_b.jpg

CH Brickworks November 2013

10888303544_177a7de942_b.jpg

Chateau Congo December 2013

11270683313_4d684a8b78_b.jpg

Tone Mills March 2014, I first visited on a freezing cold day at the beginning of 2012 but this was a little bit warmer!

13092295045_7c7f13c49d_b.jpg

Hartford Mill Oldham, March 2014...a real nice oldschool explore until some little scrotes set fire to it while we were in there, in broad daylight on a weekday! (Phone photo)

13110071343_e3c112e484_b.jpg

Sheffield Ski Village May 2014. piloting Landie Mans death sled down here is a shedload of fun!!

13921441689_c9cde04326_b.jpg

Cannon Brewery Sheffield May 2014, another place I had wanted to see for quite some time indeed ticked off.

13921483319_86746b5e76_b.jpg

And lastly, the last site I did at the end of my last roadtrip in May which was the last explore before today. Sileby Maltings.

14145759643_ac8b5debbf_b.jpg

If you made it this far without getting bored or fed up cheers for reading my wafflings and roll on the next five years!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was an enjoyable read! You have been to some lovely places, and heres to another 5 years and more :beer:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Absolutely top rate... what a story! You've had some seriously epic adventures and all I can say is... that letter...!!! Very touching...!

It's the only thing I've ever found in all my time exploring that has literally stopped me in my tracks, such a sad story associated with that house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's pretty cool. Definitely not too text heavy at all…it's nice to hear epic/scary stories distilled to a few lines - anyone who's been out exploring can imagine what it was like, no need for reams of text! :thumb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Similar Content

    • By little_boy_explores
       
      following the decline of industries Sheffield offers plenty interns of urban exploring... from abandoned breweries, redundant steel works and leisure sites. It's difficult to experience all this in a single outing therefore I have compiled this into three years of exploring the city. Having started out at relatively low level explores and advancing this further to more harder to reach buildings here are some of the most important abandoned buildings Sheffield offers. If not for the buildings themselves Sheffield's street art is an important part of the explore. Often explorers take to photography for the art which is of a high standard coming from a far to experience this. Historically the buildings offer more than the art its self... the buildings often dating back to the victorian era give great scope to capture real history of the city. Often buildings have either been destroyed or are in the process of this. Been able to capture the buildings in their original state albeit a derelict one captures the cities past... and more importantly the history of British industry. 
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
       
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
       
       

       

       
      END
    • By little_boy_explores
      History
       
      Officially opened by the Earl of Scarborough in 1957, it was built the year before for £350,000 as headquarters for Leeds chemicals and dyestuffs firm Brotherton and Co and was at the heart of a new business area at the Westgate end of The Headrow. It was named in recognition of the famous Leeds city benefactor family, after the Brotherton Library and Collection at Leeds University, the Charles Brotherton engineering and chemical laboratory, the Brotherton Wing at the Leeds General Infirmary and the Brotherton Charity Trust.

      It was dubbed as the design of the future with the “latest external and internal structural techniques, automatic ventilation and ceiling heating”. Its ceilings were reported to be “acoustically perfect”, and its floors covered in highly-polished parquet. It was in 1965 – long before the merging of local police forces and the establishment of the current West Yorkshire force, that the old Leeds City Police took over part of the building and ultimately established its administrative headquarters there.

      In addition to the then Chief Constable and his Assistant Chief, numerous other police departments have been based at Brotherton House over the decades including senior CID, Special Branch, Fraud Squad, Regional Crime Squad, Firearms Registry, Aliens Department, Force Prosecutions, Special Constabulary, Training, Photographic and Fingerprint departments, the then so-called Policewomen’s Department, Pay and Accounts. Most notable investigations to have been carried out at Brotherton house was the notorious "Ripper squad" which was applied to a group of investigators and was the term used by the media for the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Including George Oldfield the man in charge of the investigation. Today, the building – which has largely been vacated – overlooks the Leeds Inner Ring Road and is described by its agents as a “substantial high-profile office building with a significant presence.”
       
      Explore
       
      A day out in Leeds, driving on the ring road I noticed a building covered in green fabric... on closer inspection we found out by locals telling us that the building was abandon. Mostly the building is in good condition with a large amount of original features untouched.. the main hall is really something with original parquet flooring and a grand stair case leading into the main building. Corridors lead to open staircases on both sides of the building which offer access to the buildings six floors including rooftop.
       
      Pics
       
      1.

       
      2.

       
      3.

       
      4.

       
      5.

       
      6.

       
      7.

       
      8.

       
      9.

       
      10.

       
      11. and 12
       
       
      13.

       
      14.

       
      15.

       
      16. and 17.
       
       
      LE FIN
    • By little_boy_explores
      "Wallpaper paper peeling heaven"
       
      History
       
      Eastmoor Secure Unit for Children, located near the small village of Adel in Leeds West Yorkshire opened in 1857 as the Leeds Reformatory for Boys by the Leeds Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders, on a site deliberately chosen to be removed from the temptations of the city. Reformatories were distinguished from Industrial Schools by taking young people who had actually committed offences such as begging, wandering, consorting with thieves and prostitution, opposed to those who were merely destitute or neglected and in danger of falling into crime. 
       
      There were around 50 boys at the school in 1858. The south-east range and headmaster’s house was added in 1860, when the attic floor of the initial range was converted to dormitories. The workshops of the north-east range, built by the boys in 1859, were rebuilt in 1881 after a fire, and a separate chapel to the south was added in 1882, The swimming pool beyond the north-west range was added in 1887 and roofed in 1896. A boiler room between the north-west range and the pool was inserted in 1899 to heat the pool. It was used by community groups as well as inmates, and swimming and life-saving were taught. (This swimming pool is now one of the oldest in the country.) 
       
      The buildings continued in use as an approved school named Eastmoor School from 1933 and then a community home when it was taken over by Leeds CC on 1st April 1973. It was then known as Eastmoor CHE, that is Community Home with Education. A number of separate houses were constructed around the core site from the 1950s onwards, but there has been little change to the buildings externally.  In 1993 a secure unit for young offenders was built on part of the site, the Eastmoor approved school which housed some of the countries most dangerous child criminals including one of the Bulger Killers, Jon Venables. The site was leased to Leeds Metropolitan University from the late 1990s when the surrounding houses were used for student accommodation who left when a new campus opened in Headingley in 2003. It has been unused since c2004 and has been marketed for housing development.
       
      Explore
       
      Little hard to find this one and is some distance from the centre. Having trailed through woodland, through peoples back gardens (sorry) and then finally walking a further distance we came across this desolate hospital. The x-hospital sits next to a brand new secure unit for children, which gives the place a surreal feel. The building is in an extremely poor condition most of the upper floorS have gaping holes through to the lower floors and there is a high presence of asbestos. In the courtyard someone as gone to the trouble to spell out 'HELL IS PCP' using huge stones that have been piled in the courtyard, guessing building works commenced at some point. Theres a lot of atmosphere in the building and a few times we were sure there were others camping around the building. Worth an explore just watch the floors and the local addicts... oh and there a bar in the building (unfortunately not selling beverages) most probably installed for the students. 
       
      Pics
       
      1.

       
      2.

       
      3.

       
      4.

       
      5.
       
       
      6.

       
      7.

       
      8.

       
      9.

       
      10.

       
      11.

       
      12.

       
      13.

       
      14.

       
      15.

       
      16.

       
      17.

       
      18.

       
      19.

       
      LE FIN
    • By Andy
       
      Another exploration from the past.
       
      History
      In the area were several mining operations in the 19th century and many of the miners suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis.
      Therefore, in 1897, a sanatorium for the patients with lung disease and anemia was founded. In 1975, this sanatorium was converted into a rehabilitation clinic with physical therapy centre. It was closed in 2002.
      In January 2009, the former clinic was vandalized for the first time. Unknown people broke into the building and sprayed several fire extinguishers. The police search for the perpetrators remained fruitless.
      After many years of vacancy, there are plans to convert the building into apartments.
       
      My visit
      The large, L-shaped building had four floors and a newer extension. Exploring the interior was fascinating. The kitchen was almost completely furnished with stoves, large pots, cookware and much more. In many areas there were still furniture and interesting details, and on the lower floor the bathrooms and a swimming pool. I spent several hours there; it was lonely and quiet, and definitely a really worthwhile visit.
       
       
      1

       
      2

       
      3

       
      4

       
      5

       
      6

       
      7

       
      8

       
      9

       
      10

       
      11

       
      12

       
      13

       
      14

       
      15

       
      16

       
      17

       
      18

       
      19

       
      20

       
      21

       
      22

       
      23

       
      24

       
      25

       
      26

       
      27

       
      28

       
      29

       
      30

       
      31

       
      32

       
      33

       
      34

       
      35

       
      36

       
      37

       
      38

       
      39

       
      40

       
      41

       
      42

       
      43

       
      44

       
      45

       
      46

       
      47 - Title: What Everyone Should Know about Sexuality and Potency  

       
      48

       
      49

       
      50

       
      51

       
      52

       
      53

       
      54

       
      55

       
      56

       
      57

       
      58

       
      59

       
      60

       
      61

       
      62


      63

       
       
      Thanks for watching.  
       
       
    • By Andy
       
      I wanted to visit the building for more than two years, but I was never before in the area of this country. And I would probably not flew there this summer, if would not have been reports that the building is to be restored soon. Meanwhile, I doubt this message; but at least the rumor has had the consequence, finally to realize the visit.
       
      Currently, the former casino can only be visited with permission. Even at night a guard was present.
       
      The building was commissioned around 1900 and it was built between 1904-1910. Because maintaining was too expensive, the casino closed in 1990.
      Allegedly, already in 2013 the EU has approved 10 million € for the renovation. If this is true, it is surprising that nothing has happened within the last three years. I asked the town council by email  whether there are plans for a renovation in the near future, but I'm still waiting for an answer.
       
       
      1

       
      2

       
      3

       
      4

       
      5

       
      6

       
      7

       
      8

       
      9

       
      10

       
      11

       
      12

       
      13

       
      14

       
      15

       
      16

       
      17

       
      18

       
      19

       
      20

       
      21

       
      22

       
      23

       
      24

       
      25

       
      26

       
      27

       
      28

       
      29

       
      30

       
      31

       
      32

       
      33

       
      34

       
      35

       
      36

       
      37

       
      38

       
      39

       
      40

       
×