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Shougang Steel Works, Beijing - October 2015

The_Raw

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Part 1.

The opportunity arose to visit a friend of mine living in Beijing and it didn't take long for this place to crop up in conversation. He'd heard rumours of people being allowed to walk freely through the site before but this wasn't the case when he'd tried. Security had apparently been stepped up massively so we opted for a more sneaky approach. We made our entrance at the north end of the site where the 4 huge blast furnaces were situated. Once inside we found much more activity on site than we had expected; people on bicycles, people with dogs, cars driving around, parked cars, construction vehicles, it certainly hadn't been deserted by any stretch of the imagination and it was difficult for three of us to remain unseen for long. Many of the buildings were well sealed but we found our way inside a few of them. It's an amazing site, to think that we barely scratched the surface is just crazy. I would guess that we only covered about 5% of the whole site, if that. I've made a long report for this one as it's not somewhere you see every day, I hope you've got a spare 10 minutes to kill!

History

Shougang Company Ltd steelworks (also known as Capital Steel) began operations in 1919 as a small pig iron plant which eventually expanded to cover a 700 hectare area. It became the largest producer of steel in Northern China. At its peak there were 200,000 workers and an annual output of 10 million tons. The plant had its own apartment complexes, dining halls, schools, hospitals, public bathhouses, cinemas, temples, even a newspaper – Shougang Daily, which regaled readers with stories of steel output in its triumphalist headlines. For many years Shougang’s steel fed the capital’s economy, and virtually the entire district that surrounded the factory.

In 2001, when Beijing was awarded the hosting rights for the 2008 Olympic Games, public concerns emerged about the level of Shougang's pollution, it's water usage (the mill required 50 million cubic meters of water annually to run), and their effect on quality of life in the area. A reputation as an industrial centre was no longer something to be proud of and by 2008 much of the plant had shut down. The city was undergoing refurbishment and industry was being moved out. On December 21st 2010, all production ceased and the state-owned company was officially relocated to Caofeidian, Hebei Province.

Today works are being carried out to transform Shougang into the “Central Recreational District”. According to the plan, Shougang's old site will blend in with Beijing's urban development retaining many of the plant's original features to honour the legacy of Shougang's long lasting impact on the steel industry. A similar project was carried out in Beijing’s 798 art district with much success.

Onto the pictures.

1. These were the first structures we came to, at the top of this road we could see diggers moving around so were already wary of being seen

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2.

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3. We got up to the silos but felt quite exposed so didn't hang around long

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4.

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5. We had a hunch there was somebody inside this building, not long later we bumped into a worker next to it who told us we shouldn't be here because there was a danger something might fall on our heads. He didn't seem that bothered though so we said goodbye and moved on.

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6.

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7. As we reached this empty pool we heard voices just a few metres away and had to hide. Luckily nobody came.

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8. This building was situated right next to the pool. It didn't look like much from the outside but there were some nice control panels inside it.

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9.

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10. The blackboard in the corner had ‘Goodbye Shougang’ written on it

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11.

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12.

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13. Back outside we headed across the undergrowth under a maze of conveyors, the blue one must be the longest I've ever seen.

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14. Unfortunately we couldn't find a way inside the conveyors which was a shame as the blue one led straight up to the top of one of the blast furnaces.

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15. This long red structure was some kind of train shed

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16. As we were passing through it we spotted a man with two dogs outside so had to hide again

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17. We started heading towards the larger structures, as we got close to this one we spotted two shiny vehicles parked underneath it so we turned back.

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18. At this point all we could hear were lots of big dogs barking and it seemed to get louder the closer we got towards the blast furnaces.

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19. It was becoming apparent how huge these furnaces were.

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20. As we poked our heads around a corner we were able to take in the sheer size of these bad boys for the first time. Unfortunately there were two workers with dogs tied up in-between us and the furnace. We decided to approach them in case they might let us wander past without a care. They were very friendly but told us to head around the other side and not to try passing the dogs. Again they didn't seem all too bothered about us being there though so we felt a little more relaxed at this point.

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21. The dogs weren't quite as friendly as their owners I should add. Look at that beast of a furnace though! By the way this was the smallest one out of the four.

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22.

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23. Around the other side the furnace was protected by barbed wire topped fences, we should have gone for it there and then but we continued further to look for an easier way in.

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24. This way in looked pretty good

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25.

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26. However there were several vehicles milling about around here and within a few seconds we'd been busted by security. They weren't best happy with us to begin with but after offering them some cigarettes and my friend playing dumb to the fact we weren't allowed to be in there they chilled out a bit.

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27. I took a couple of snaps of our surroundings before another vehicle arrived to escort us off site.

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28.

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29. We were driven the whole length of the site on our way out, it was absolutely huge, as big as a small town.

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30. We also caught a glimpse of the larger blast furnaces which made me want to come back and see more.....

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The_Raw

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Part 2.

The following day I returned on my own to see if I could get inside one of the blast furnaces. First off I decided to check out some of the outbuildings. Most of the buildings were fairly well sealed but I managed to access a couple.

31.

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32. Beneath this building was a large empty space about two storeys deep, unsure what it was once used for.

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33. Shower block

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34. The rest of the rooms seemed to have been used for storage. I believe these cans contained some kind of conveyor adhesive.

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35. Trees growing through the concrete suggested this area was abandoned long before other parts of the site.

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36. This building contained offices, most of which were pretty trashed.

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37.

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38.

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39. A mountain of random picture frames and folders

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40.

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41. This office was a lot grander looking than the others with some interesting stuff left in there

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42.

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43.

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44.

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45. Pool room

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46.Looking out the window reminded me why I was here, those massive furnaces!

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47. I set off towards the sound of barking dogs feeling determined

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48.

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49. After scaling a couple of barbed wire topped fences and triggering much dog barking I was within reach

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50. At the top of these stairs there was a makeshift reinforced steel fence blocking my entrance, luckily I was able to squeeze my body through a small gap on top of it and I was in.

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51. As soon as I dropped down the other side I realised I wasn't alone in here, there was a guy heading in my direction about 20 metres away. Somehow he hadn't seen me though and I was able to run and hide in this building on the right.

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52. After a few minutes of waiting nervously to get busted the guy still hadn't appeared so I snuck out again and took some snaps.

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53. I was far more concerned about getting busted inside here than on the trunk road as there was no way I could play stupid about how I had found my way inside. As well as that I no longer had my Chinese speaking friend to talk us out of a situation.

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54.

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55. The scale of the place was pretty mind-blowing, especially bearing in mind this was the smallest of the 4 furnaces.

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56.

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57.

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58. I climbed the first level of steps to get this money shot. As much as I wanted to climb higher the rusty floors were too wobbly for my liking and I was becoming more exposed by the second. Then I heard someone shouting 'Oi' in my general direction from outside so my mind was made up, it was time to leave. I quickly left the way I came in and got away unseen.

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It's amazing to think that we barely scratched the surface of this huge site. You could easily spend a week sneaking around in there. I may even go back next year as there is so much more to see than just this. There is also the factor of cheap beer and amazing food to take into consideration :D

Thanks for looking (y)


 
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hamtagger

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Gonna have to use my new favourite saying that i heard [MENTION=1828]coolboyslim[/MENTION] using yesterday.. HOLY FUCKBALLS!!!!

Looks like all sorts of epic. Did you encounter any cream of sum yung guy on your travels? :D

:comp

 

Perjury Saint

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SHIT THE BED!!!! Loving this SO much! Fair play for goin back on ya todd... (y)

 

Conrad

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Crazy big, the inside of the furnace looks like some sort of space ship.

 

jones-y-gog

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That, I believe, is called raising the bar a tad!! Stonking report mate

 

coolboyslim

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[MENTION=946]The_Raw[/MENTION] Epic absoluteness m8ty. [MENTION=1029]hamtagger[/MENTION] coulden't have said it better myself this deffo deserves a HOLY FUCKBALLS lol

 

-Raz-

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Thats epic mate enjoyed looking at that!! Last shot is so nice :mrgreen:

 

Lenston

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Thats the bollocks mate, best thing ive seen in a while for sure :)

 
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The_Raw

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Cheers everyone, I'm sure there's far more to see from this place too

 

Hydro

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Hell of a report! May even look into this as i'm in China travelling for 3 weeks next year (y)

Strange how the workers werent even arsed about a white guy mishing around with a camera lol

 

AndyK!

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This place looks epic! And what an adventure you had, nice work getting out alive man!

 

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Fantastic, what a site and a great set of photos as well. :) Top marks for going back after getting busted there the previous day, that's dedication for you.

 

Merryprankster

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definition of a banger that is mate! started looking yesterday then realised id be there all day waiting for the photos to load on 3g! looks like an amazing mooch, shame its so active looks like there plenty of climbing frames in there! 10/10 report :cool:

 
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The_Raw

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Hell of a report! May even look into this as i'm in China travelling for 3 weeks next year (y)
If you're going to Beijing you should definitely check it out (y)

 

TheVampiricSquid

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Wow, that was definitely worth the read! Stunning pictures & it sounds like you had a couple of close ones! (y)

 
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The_Raw

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I believe i have 5 days in Beijing (y) ;)
Plenty of stuff to look at there mate

 
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