Oblivion State Member
- Sep 14, 2015
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Since my visit two months ago, a lot has happened at Daresbury Hall. On my last visit, there was a distinctive smell of cannabis, to which I kept my business out from. But just a matter of weeks after my first visit it was on the news that Cheshire Police has raided a cannabis farm of a massive scale at Daresbury Hall. That would explain the smell, and it occured to me just how lucky I was in there, considering I was literally stood on the opposite side of the door leading to where the plants were growing! Once the heat had died down a little from the media, I decided to pay another visit to Daresbury Hall.HISTORYDaresbury Hall is a former country house in the village of Daresbury, Cheshire, England. In 1755 John Daniell sold the manor of Daresbury to George Heron and the Hall was built about 1760.It remained in the Heron family until 1850 when it became the property of Samuel Beckett Chadwick. In 1892 Sir Gilbert Greenall is listed as the owner. For a time it was home to Lord Daresbury and his family as part of the original Greenall brewery family estate in it's prime, now known as The De Vere Group.
During World War II the estate was converted to be used as a military hospital, which saw the addition of the Lewis Carol Unit added to the site. In 1955, shortly after the war, the Hall was taken over by the National Spastics Society, now known as “Scope” as a residential home with good facilities for adults suffering from cerebral palsy. Many more structures were built on the site to house the patients and staff such as the row of small houses at the front, outhouse buildings and the caretaker’s bungalow. Many village functions were also held in the Hall such as country dances, but eventually the residents were moved to other accommodation in Halton.
Many years after the spastic society had vacated the premises, it was sold to a millionaire bachelor Malcolm Lionel Robert Royle for a sizeable fee and the manor returned to it's former use as a stately home. Mr. Royle was managing director of several companies, including Rains Estates and Smarties Nursery School, all to which can be evidentially seen within the building today. Such as endless records and files of what appears to be estate agent documents, leaflets, letters and even written cheques. Sadly, due to poor maintenance following his death the buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair and stands uninhabitable. The Manor was left exactly as the owner had left it for some time.
Daresbury Hall has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building and seeks planning permission to be restored – which may prove as an impossible task!
So without further ado, let's have a look
The first stop this time was by the old staff's homes, located to the north, at the front of the grounds.
The "Annex" Building
Next up is the "Annex Building" which was built onto the side of the manor. This is the location in which the cannabis was seized. The feeling in here was a little uneasy, but none-the-less exciting to think what had gone on within these walls over the past months. Filling the corridors leading out from the two main rooms where foam insulation, aluminium boards and ventilation/cooling tubes, numerous bags of compost, fans, heat lamps and endless amounts of plant pots. It was until seeing this for myself it was obvious of the sheer size of this operation.
Leading out onto the corridor in the annex building was a door which lead down into a basement area. The stairs where made from conrete and the air got colder the further down you went. From the looks of it, this area was once used as sort of utility area for washing and drying clothes. Doors labelled with "Airing Room" and "Drying Room" gave me this impression. i decided to record footage of the basement when all of a sudden we heard loud bangs and talking from above us. We weren't as alone as we thought we were.. Police? Security? Someone out to cause trouble? Or have the drug "warlords" come back to salvage anything that they can?
We turned off our torches and hid in one of the rooms in complete darkness, until we heard the sounds getting closer and closer to the stairs - which was also the only exit from the basement. We decided to turn the torches back on and shine them in the direction of the stairs in an attempt to inform who ever it was that we were down there. Considering they were also shining their torches down the stairs it was difficult to see each others beams of light and they were just as startled as us, if not more as we knew they were there, they had no idea others were down there!
Turns out it was only some fellow explorers! But anyway, on with the photographs:
Corridor Leading to Pool Area
Not entirely sure what this area was used for, but my guess would be at most recent, some sort of offices, as each room had computer parts, filing cabinets and desks. During the days of the site been used by Scope, considering how close these rooms are to the pool area my guess would be that these where maybe dressing rooms for the patients to prepare for their activities in the pool.
Added to the site during the ownership of Scope, the Caretaker's Bungalow in situated at the front of the property. This is also the building in which there is clear evidence to how that who ever was looking after the cannabis farm was infact living here. On my previous visit, a German Shephard was happily sat on the grass beside it's kennel just to the side of this bungalow. Inside was clothes, an ironing board, a TV with muliple films, a pair of glasses and many forms of nicotine replacement therapy such as e-cig oils and Niquiten tablets. In the kitchen was food which was still fresh and way off reaching it's sell-by-date. There was also a make-shift lead in one of the bedroom which may have been used to walk the guard dog. Inside the bungalow was yet more plant pots and aluminium tubing.
I am really puzzled as to what the purpose of this building was, but i will just call it "House No.2". It's located to the east of the manor and has had some fairly recent work done to it in an attempt for some more modern decor. Inside it looked as though painters and decorators had just packed up and left - perhaps not even packed up, but just simply left. Scatter throughout all rooms were unopened or partially opened DIY materials such as wall tiles and plasterboards. On one unopened pack was a dispatch note in the name of Mr Royle, who I believe to have be the latest occupant of the estate, dated back to 2006. From what I gather, Mr Royle passed away, which dissolved his multiple businesses and stopped any work done to the grounds, including this renovation. The style of this building was much more modern compared to any of the others, with spot lights, fancy mirrors and ceiling lights, glass shelves and modern black and red worktops and units. It almost looked like a nightclub of some sort, with a what appeared to be a media room with a freshly installed entertainment unit that would house a fairly large TV. There was also a brand new sauna which had been installed in one of the back rooms. The only room which showed a significant amount of damage was the kitchen, due to all the mould. It seemed such a shame to see all of this work go to waste..
The Main Manor
Probably the most anticipated area of them all, the main manor, situated in the centre of the site. This building is very damaged due to what appears to be a broken water pipe, as the majority of the ground floor is extremely damp to walk on and the smell in some areas is revolting. After entering the manor the first room appears to be the main living room. CDs and DVDs scatter the floor, along with fancy couches and chairs, a glass table and an exquisit chariot ornament sitting in the fireplace. There was also a portrait in a gold frame of an oil painting of who I believe to be the man and lady of the house at some point. Further through past the living room and another living area which had family photos sprawled across the floor. It makes you wonder why such sentimental belongings weren't taken by relatives. If there are any of course.
Into the next room, which looked to be an office of some description had dozens of filing cabinets and folders, all business related. Estate angency documents for "Rains", nursury plaques and letters for "Smarties", both in which were registered companies of Malcolm Royle, the former owner on the premesis. Further down the hallway the floor began to seep with stale water. Passing clothes rails with shirts still on their hangers and countless VHS tapes, on the left was a strange looking room with two baths built into the ground, and opposite was a small toilet. Even further through the hallway came yet another living room with a few coffee tables and a shoe-rack, to which still held several pairs of gentlemen's shoes aswell as a couple of chandeliers on the floor. Round to the right hand side was a small kitchen. Unlikely to be the 'main' kitchen area due to it's small size, there is a microwave and a refridgerator which still had a dozen eggs in there. Needless to say I chose not to look any closer. Across the worktops and the floor were many dinner plates, cutlery and place mats that's been previous raided from the cupboards.
Although I never actually found the stairs (after looking not twice, but three times), I eventually found an elevator shaft, which i didn't fancy going anywhere near, as it was surrounded by drenched carpets and soggy clothes. On the way out, perhaps my favourite find of the day, a 1982 LP of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"!
And here it is...!
I seem to have been a little 'trigger happy' and I've hit my limit of the maximum amount of photos I am allowed to attach! If anyone is interested in seeing more, including an unused brand new sauna, more shots of the drug raid, a few extra external views, and a lot more graffiti, feel free to have a peek HERE
You can also view the shots from my first visit to Daresbury Hall (whilst the cannabis was still in there..).
If you've got this far, thanks for taking the time to check out my first report \o/