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Bridge House Hotel, Catterick - June 2016

WildBoyz

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History

Bridge House Hotel is a Grade I listed building, set alongside attractive gardens adjacent to the River Swale. The building was constructed sometime in the 15th Century and therefore provided a historic atmosphere inside and out. After being redeveloped into a hotel in the 1900s, the lower floors were converted into dining, bar and lounge areas. The upstairs was divided into bedrooms, and ensuite bathrooms were installed in each room. The hotel was popular as it is located close to the A1 road and Catterick Racecourse; it is also relatively close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the vibrant city of York. Unfortunately, however, a fire destroyed part of the building in 2014. Six fire crews were called to attend the scene after flames were spotted coming from the roof. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but no one was injured during the incident as the premises was closed as it was undergoing renovation.  

Our Version of Events

For the past few days, Bridge House Hotel has been the cause of a wee bit of drama in the North East of England. So, sit down and we’ll tell you the story before someone else steals it and tries to make a film out of it. 

A couple of photographs of the Bridge House Hotel popped up several days ago on Facebook and, despite knowing the person who posted them, he wouldn’t spill the beans as to where we could find the building. He’s under the impression all yobs, thieves, vagabonds, unsavoury sorts, hooligans and graffiti artists regularly monitor 28dayslater 24/7, all biding their time as they wait for new locations to ruin. As far as we were concerned, the fact he didn’t want to share details was fair enough, he wasn’t obliged to share anything with us after all. As for posting on 28days, we tried to explain that these places get trashed eventually anyway, regardless of posts on the forum; of course 28days posts probably speed the process up occasionally, but so do snaps on Facebook and every other social media website... Even if you don’t post the name of the site, or the specific location, people will find it eventually. The person concerned is also under the impression that all 28days forum users are ‘egotistic dickheads’, and we’re part of that crowd apparently because we post on the site, so we’re not permitted to hang out with ‘proper’ explorers who prefer to ‘protect’ abandoned places. 

After that brief incident, we spent the next day or so researching the damn hotel, trying to find every single abandoned one in the North East and North Yorkshire (we guessed the pub was somewhere around these parts), mostly to prove the point that all locations are discoverable without the name and place; as we said before, the photo on Facebook is enough. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to protect these places, but posting publically and then heavily criticising 28dayslater folk for revealing the name is, in our opinion, wrong. Posting images of any building on any site without a name doesn’t ‘protect’ them, it shows the world it’s out there and makes it desirable. It also doesn’t preserve the site for other explorers – one of the other arguments that was thrown at us – it does exactly the opposite. If anything, many more 28days users have their hearts, and mind-sets, in the right place when it comes to exploring and sharing amongst likeminded people, because they are willing to share and converse with one another. 

Anyway, eventually, after much internet trawling, we found the blasted place! It dawned on us at that point that we’ve driven past the fucking thing quite a few times, but we’ve always fobbed it off for being a shitty pub. We quickly grabbed a couple cameras and torches; whatever was lying around really, and immediately bombed down to the hotel in a rushed effort to beat the fading daylight that was hot on our tail. In hindsight, this wasn’t the best plan, as we only ended up bringing one SD card along, and half charged torch batteries which would inevitably run out during the explore. 

As we pulled up outside the hotel, we expected the ‘Facebook Clan’, armed to the teeth with cricket bats, spears and potato guns, to be guarding the premises. In anticipation that we might have a wee bit of confrontation (we all know how exploring folk like to hang around new explores they think they’re the first ones to ever enter), we recited the classic Braveheart speech: “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom…” and decorated our faces with blue stripes. Our efforts were all in vein, however, because, as it turned out, the place was silent when we rocked up. 

It only took a minute or two to find a way inside. A moist but pleasant derpy smell greeted us. At first glances, the place looked mostly intact and just as awesome as the photos had depicted; the bar and dining rooms were virtually untouched. Even more interestingly, though, the beers taps still worked, proving free glasses of slightly dated beer, and the wine cellar was still partially stocked. Having said that, there were far fewer bottles than the ‘Facebook Clan’s’ photos show. This could mean only one thing, the Greenpeace styled protectors weren’t protecting the place at all, they were drinking the bloody booze! Of course, this theory is entirely speculative, we have no evidence to support these claims – other than the diminished stock in the cellar and half empty (or were they half full) pint glass everywhere. Back upstairs, it also occurred to us that various objects had been moved around; the place almost looked as though it was staged, with armchairs, sofas and plant pots arranged in nice places. We’d assumed that professed protectors of sites like these might have put things back where they left them, to ‘preserve’ the place, but it seems this is a bit of a grey area. Again, however, our claims are entirely speculative; yobs could also have moved the furniture to make a temporary drug den or a brothel of some sort. 

Upstairs, most of the bedrooms were still in situ, and there was plenty of fresh linen. You could easily still grab a good night’s kip at this hotel. All the toilets still have their pipes too, which was a nice surprise. Unfortunately, though, it appears the yobs – or is it in fact the ‘Facebook Mob’ (a little rhetorical question right there) – have moved in, discovered what a Sharpie Permanent Marker can do, and started to tag the place. We found a fair bit of graff in a couple of rooms, especially in the kitchen. Caught in the moment ourselves, we must confess that we too became ‘wild hooligans’ for a moment, when we decided to rub the chalk board with the ‘Facebook Clan’s’ names on it a little bit with a Kleenex tissue. To our surprise, all the names rubbed off. It’s fascinating how easily chalk rubs off a board. After that, we may then have, purely accidently of course, scrawled our name in chalk over the top a little bit. Anyway, to move things along a bit, this little jovial act seems to have pissed a few exploring sorts off in our parts and subsequently shit has hit the fan, so to speak. As a result, anyone exploring in the North East may come now across some anti-WildBoyz graff, or graff that looks like it’s by our hand. To be clear, it’s not us, it’s ‘Facebook Clan’ ‘propaganda’. The moral of this story then folks: Thou shalt not piss off thee Clans of Facebook, or they shall feel the almighty wrath of the three Flickr, Twitter and Facebook kingdoms. 

Finally, to conclude this rant, we were originally going to post this report in a non-public thread, out of respect for certain people’s desire to keep it under wraps, but it hardly seems worth it since it’s all over Facebook now… Nice one ‘Facebook Clan’! As for the rest of you, go take a look at this place while it lasts if you’re in the area. All in all, while it’s certainly not worth a massive drive up, it’s a decent explore and we’d rather people saw it than pretend to keep it under lock and key. As we said to ‘the Clans in the North’, in a bit of an online dispute, exploring is about capturing a bit of history and sharing places with one another, it’s not about bitterness, jealousy and inhibiting everyone else from seeing them. 

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Box and Husky.
 

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Maniac

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I'll let your tongue  in cheek write up remain with your little digs at whoever the "facebook clan" might be, but please don't bring any dispute onto the forum. (y)  (At the end of the day it's just a derpy hotel so not big deal) 

Saying that, nice building and free beer is a bonus (although you didn't have any did you, because that would be theft ;)  )

 
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The_Raw

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Bloody hell that was a long read! Looks pretty cool in there, don't see why it should go in NP though tbh. Everyone up there needs to chillax a little by the sound of things!  :p

 

WildBoyz

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I'll let your tongue  in cheek write up remain with your little digs at whoever the "facebook clan" might be, but please don't bring any dispute onto the forum. (y)  (At the end of the day it's just a derpy hotel so not big deal) 

Saying that, nice building and free beer is a bonus (although you didn't have any did you, because that would be theft ;)  )
It was a little tale from the North ;)  In truth, the dispute was meant to be posted on 28days, I neglected to take the wordy bit out of the report on OS. 

Aye, some parts of the building were really good. The cellar was pretty cool with all the working beer kegs. No beer was drunk on our explore, because dodgy beer gives you the shits ;)  

 

WildBoyz

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Bloody hell that was a long read! Looks pretty cool in there, don't see why it should go in NP though tbh. Everyone up there needs to chillax a little by the sound of things!  :p
Completely agree with everything you just said there mate (y)  

 

coolboyslim

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Best pub i have seen for a while and i have explored a few. And just like you see one and say just another derp pub lol. But quite nice this is and a fun read good stuff m8ty

 

Urbexbandoned

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Looks like a nice place, your rant was long and entertaining at least haha! 

Dunno why you bother even having a dig, keep doing what your doing. Keep it enjoyable. 

You've got yourself some nice pics there anyway. (y)  Be interested as to why it's empty, looks like it could have been a thriving place at one point. 

:comp  

 

WildBoyz

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Looks like a nice place, your rant was long and entertaining at least haha! 

Dunno why you bother even having a dig, keep doing what your doing. Keep it enjoyable. 

You've got yourself some nice pics there anyway. (y)  Be interested as to why it's empty, looks like it could have been a thriving place at one point. 

:comp  
Haha, I'm glad you found the rant entertaining. I was just getting a bit tired of people falling out with us simply because we write up a history. I completely agree with what you suggest.

 

hamtagger

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I started reading this last wednesday, just finished  :-D

Interesting write up indeed lol. I like the toilet in pic 28 - no pun intended :D  

 
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