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Great Britain Regal / Granada / Gala, Kettering (including cannabis farm) - February 2019

AndyK!

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Visited with @SpiderMonkey and Slayaaaa

History

Opening on Boxing Day 1936, the Regal Cinema on Kettering High Street cost £70,000 to build and featured a unique frontage, dominated by a tower lit by a neon halo visible for miles around. The elegant air-conditioned ultra-modern auditorium had 1,748 seats, with 1,164 luxury seats. In July 1947 it was taken over by the Granada Theatres chain and was re-named Granada Theatre on 2nd January 1948. In 1975 it became a Granada Bingo Club, and in May 1991 it became a Gala Bingo Club. The Gala Bingo Club closed on 7th June 2018 and the building has been purchased to become a banquet hall.

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Projector Room

Starting off in the projector room, where a few bits and pieces remained

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Auditorium

The auditorium had most recently been used by Gala as a bingo hall. As is often the case, the stage and proscenium arch remain, but the seats have been replaced with bingo tables.

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Heading up onto the circle level we find cinema seating still in place

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The bit you've been waiting for...
The Grow

Pictures in this section are mostly mobile phone shots.

We could smell cannabis outside the building when were looking around for a way in. To be honest, I didn't think much about it, and probably assumed it was somebody smoking it nearby, so we carried on and found a way into the projector room and started to take a few photos in there. We had a look through the projector windows into the auditorium which was in darkness, but soon spotted some torchlight flashing around down there. We watched for a short while and ascertained the people were not any form of security, so had a look for a way down. There is no internal connection between the projector room and the auditorium - access to the projectors being via a walkway on the roof. The only way we could see to get through was to climb out of the projection windows, and as it happened there was a rope tied up and hanging down into the auditorium. Not wanting to startle the people below, assuming it to be either kids or other explorers, we made our presence known by shining our torches at them. They clearly were startled, it turned out, and made a very swift exit through a fire door. One returned a minute or two later, but the left again straight away.

After making our way down the rope the smell of weed become much more prominent. We decided we should see what was going on, and it wasn't long before we found a collection of cannabis plants in pots. Now becoming somewhat worried, considering the way out up the rope wouldn't be easy, we thought it best to check everyone had left, so made our way towards the stage where we had seen the people earlier. A fire exit had been left wide open, so we closed and secured it, finding a rather large knife by the door in the process. We then had a good look around to ensure that were indeed now alone, and checked all the fire doors to ensure no one could get back in.

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Looking around, we found many more plants scattered around all over, along with bags of equipment ready to be installed to produce a much larger grow. It appears this cannabis farm was in its early stages, and much was still yet to be set up. We then found the makeshift living quarters of the people we had seen earlier, with a sleeping area and relatively well equipped kitchen, complete with fish head soup simmering away on the stove. It was clear the guys running the grow were also living there.

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We turned the stove off!

We were now satisfied that we were the only people inside, and the place was secured enough to keep the illegitimate inhabitants out, so carried on with what were there for - taking a few photos! We were, however, concerned that whoever was now locked outside would want to get back in and, if they were still around outside, would have noticed the lack of police presence and may be waiting for us to leave. Concerned for our own safety, we decided it best to call this one in and await the arrival of the old bill before making our departure.

Calling the police during an explore was a bit odd, and we had to explain why we were there, but they didn't care why or how we'd got in, in the end, and thanked us for making them aware of the grow. We never heard any more about it, but a few months later the Gala was in the local newspaper when a grow was once again discovered inside, by which time with half a million quids worth of plants had been grown.
 
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Dmc68

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Lived around the corner from that place when I was a child
 

KPUrban_

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I remember seeing the news report from this place when the grow had... errm... grew? Surprised they tried again after this visit. Cracking shots.
 

jones-y-gog

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The projector room looks lovely, can't really say the same for the soup! 🤮
 
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obscureserenity

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Great photos but the soup in that last photo looks even more rancid than that cocktail you made the other day 😂 love this story, sounds like you had an interesting explore!
 
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