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Everything posted by mookster

  1. Some American, and a few Canadian, car spots....
  2. You know when you get that urge to do something impulsive and outlandish? Yeah that happened to me during my time in America. I'm not usually one for solo jaunts, least of all in a city I am still largely a stranger to, least of all when it also involves going some way into a pretty rough neighbourhood also. But needs must, and all that. To give a brief history, it was originally a row of three large townhouses, before being purchased by a secret society who constructed a large auditorium and ballroom on the rear of the property, before it passed into the hands of a boxing promotion who used the auditorium for many years as their arena. I'd seen a few photos of this place come up from a friend just before I left on my trip so he gave me all the details I'd need, and stepping foot inside it was one of those rare 'jaw on floor' moments that I was finally seeing it for myself, stood in one of the most iconic places in American sporting history. It's utterly unique, incredibly beautiful, and a massive shame that it has been left abandoned, taken charge of by a development company with a string of failures to their name. Sadly the most likely outcome of this place will be demolition of all but the historic frontage and construction of a hotel on the land. I didn't have long in here as it was getting dark and didn't want to outstay my welcome, but it's a massive tick in the accomplishments box for me. Thanks for looking
  3. Having had my fill of industrial goodness on day one it was time to move on to something completely different on day two... State Schools are a very American thing, kind of halfway between a school and an asylum and, as the name suggests, owned and run by the State they are located in. They catered for people (both adults and children) with developmental disabilities in a specialised residential environment, enabling them to receive an education as well as skills training alongside treatment for their disorders. More than a few - mostly the older ones - were mired in all sorts of controversy and accusations of poor care and abuse of patients/students and more often than not those accusations were well founded. This was a comparatively modern facility having been built in the 1960s, and was a children-only complex. It closed only a few years ago and both of my friends who live not more than ten minutes away from here had both thought it impossible, with there still a very active hospital building on site and the security apparently keeping things very well secured. However a little perseverence on their parts paid off and they managed to get into the recreation building and one of the school buildings. Likewise for our visit, the recreation building was accessed and then we got into a different school building, before finding all the interlinking corridors that connected each wing locked up securely, and no other access points. Drat. The recreation building more than made up for that though, as it seems to be where all the good stuff is. Thanks for looking, more on my Flickr as per normal
  4. Getting into the tail end of my last Stateside trip now - and by rights it wouldn't be one of my adventures if I didn't get to explore at least one church. In a country rapdily losing it's faith there are a massive amount of shuttered churches for the taking of all architectural styles and sizes, some small and some, like this one, massive. After striking out at numerous other churches and driving through some of the most dangerous and deprived neighbourhoods I've ever seen (places where you lock your car doors and close your windows and barely stop at stop signs...) we found one that was accessible. Great, we thought, although it did happen to be in a particularly rough area of the city which meant this was going to be one speedy explore. There is a large derelict school and rectory attached to the church also which we were convinced people were living in so we restricted ourselves to the main church and ran around grabbing a few photos. After twenty minutes or so we both decided we'd had enough and wanted to get out, both for our own safety and to make sure our car was still there or hadn't been broken into! It's a real shame it's in such a bad neighbourhood because the church itself is absolutely stunning and has minimal vandalism. It closed twice, once in the early 90s before being refitted and taken over by another religious organisation who operated from it until a few years back. One of the things people say when they see the place is how it looks almost artificial, the original stained glass was removed after closure and when the church was refitted and reopened they had painted windows instead of proper stained glass which lends it a weird effect inside. If I was with a bigger group of people I would have spent a lot longer in here for sure, safety in numbers and all that. But with just the two of us in a bad neighbourhood it was decided discretion was the better part of valour and we headed off quickly. Thanks for looking
  5. That is ruined but I like it, reminds me of Chateau Congo which is in a much similar state.
  6. The penultimate stop on my last adventure and what better way to end than with a couple more big industrial behemoths. This is one of four abandoned power stations in this particular city, but sadly the only one currently accessible. Two are completely sealed and the other one, which sits at #1 on my want list, has recently had a fearsome fence put around it blocking off all conceivable access for the time being. However this was a worthy explore anyway. I've forgotten how many times I've seen photos of the empty turbine hall and I'll be honest I thought that was all there was left to see inside, and oh how wrong I was. It just proves that a lot of explorers are lazy nowadays and don't venture further than the big open space, because there was all manner of good stuff tucked away in the huge building including a first for me - an indoor basketball court inside a power station. We also found the attached building at the front open which housed offices, switch rooms, power supplies and also the very large control room which I was reliably informed is rarely if ever accessible, as the city power company still use the grounds of the site and tend to keep things locked up. The roof was also spectacular, with commanding views of the city skyline. This doorway would have provided access into the control room from the turbine hall, but it has been bricked up for years. To the roof... Thanks for looking
  7. Nice to see this one pop up again as it does every so often somebody decides to be brave and try it out. FYI, the smaller bit on the other side of the road is a lot easier!
  8. Like at home in the UK, and on the continent, there are certain locations in the USA which are true longstanding icons of urban exploration. Places that are instantly recognisable to everyone connected with the hobby, to remarks such as 'oh it's THAT place' etc etc. One of these such places is a former tuberculosis sanatorium nestled deep in a very rural part of the country. I can remember looking at photos of the place years back, long before I had any real interest or drive in American exploring and thinking it looked awesome. Never did I really think I would be able to explore it myself years down the line. However most people who have explored this place will automatically say one thing - that it's an absolute bitch to do without getting the police called on you. It's located on top of a hill in a tiny town, and the residents are so finely tuned to look out for strangers holding camera gear as they walk through the streets towards it that they have been known to call police there and then. A few years back my friends got stormed by armed police and arrested, and arrests were commonplace here until a couple of years back. Now as the buildings are too decayed and dangerous for them to enter the police will just sit outside and issue you a heavy fine for your trouble. But hey, that's better than getting arrested. Luckily, none of that happened on my visit! The absolute best thing about this place is that it is built sunk into a hill, so when you are in the site there is almost zero outside noise, the road that runs past is pretty quiet at the best of times but it's almost creepy just how dead silent it is in there. Our only company all day came in the form of a number of vultures circling overhead. The state of decay in here having been closed for two decades is amazing, and very photogenic. The outside architecture of the place is equally stunning and all beginning to fall apart as well, with balconies crumbling and roofs collapsing. I really enjoyed it here as you can probably tell. Thanks for looking - lots more photos on my Flickr as ever
  9. We counted four or five padded rooms, it was very weird as they were really mixed in design - one had a proper padded door, there was one made with no fixings for a door whatsoever, and everything in between. The place is massive, over 400 acres of campus with loads of buildings, and we got into two!
  10. This was the final location visited during an awesome day of exploring heavy industry, and what a place. The steelworks here was once one of the largest in the world, employing around 20,000 workers in it's prime. It's closure in 1982 arguably kickstarted the declining fortunes of the local area, and the city was desperately close to becoming a smaller Detroit but it has recently started picking itself up and has had a major amount of money invested in businesses to revive it's fortunes. Around 95% of the plant was demolished in stages during the 1980s and 1990s, and in 2013 the beautiful administration office building was controversially demolished much to the dismay of preservationists and campaigners. Although the vast majority of the site has been levelled, there are still a number of buildings left standing which have been decaying for the past 34 years which are each massive, and give some idea of the sheer scale of the facility when it was operational. The three buildings we explored were each different - one was used to crush coal being delivered by train, the second was the old power station building (yes!!) and the last I am not sure on as it was totally empty but it had some epic pipework coming out the back of it. There were more to explore but we ran out of daylight and all the others were a serious trek away across the wasteground. To give you some idea of the scale, after entering the site the closest buildings were a fifteen minute walk through an overgrown jungle that used to be covered with countless buildings but are all now flattened. The coal breaker building also was home to some of the sketchiest metal grate floors I've ever seen, coupled with instant death drops if one gave way, it made for a bit of a nervy explore at times wondering in my mind whether or not the next grate would hold! Thanks for looking, more on my Flickr as ever.
  11. This was one of three former steel manufacturing plants I visited on my trip, this is one I had already visited in May but jumped at the chance to go back and shoot for a couple of hours whilst waiting for another friend to get off work. This place is one of the north-eastern United States most under-rated sites and one of the best kept secrets in the area, my exploring friends go as far as saying it's one of the finest industrial abandonments in the entire country and they aren't wrong. The steelworks shut down overnight in the early 1980s leaving everything behind, one building was stripped of machinery for re-use post closure but the vast majority is still there. Workers belongings still hang in completely rusted out lockers, there is a gantry crane perilously close to completely collapsing onto the factory floor below, there are still fully stocked workshops, machine shops, and other areas quietly left to decay for over thirty years. It truly is one of the best locations I have ever explored. Nowadays half the site is an active steelworks once again, but three massive buildings have been left to rot and fall apart. I covered this place extensively back in May so I went handheld with my prime lens this time just to try and get a different angle on the place. I could quite happily spend days here shooting all the details. Thanks for looking, more photos can be found by following the link in my signature
  12. RAF Wittering's bomb store is one of those locations that I had always wanted to have a wander around but had never quite been in the right area to do so, but finally I found myself within relatively easy reach with Landie Man the other day. After a cock up with the coordinates which took us to completely the wrong side of Peterborough and getting stuck in some ridiculous roadwork traffic we made it. Access was a doddle and we spent an hour or so there poking around. There is a lot of graffiti here of varying degrees of talent, some real good stuff and some utter dross but that's a given really. After a pesky rain shower had cleared we were treated to some fantastic skies which made things a bit more interesting. Thanks for looking, as ever more on my Flickr....
  13. You're lucky thats all he did! The groundsman/security guard here is an unhinged dangerous loon, like Elwyn but worse. Three times he's attempted to run either my group or my friends groups over when chasing them out the property in his van, he's tried grabbing cameras, stopped people from leaving, been abusive, etc etc. He lives in a bungalow behind the manor house with two very big dogs.
  14. Visited on the way up north with OverArch, this was a quick stop off on the way to 'better' things (although given how the next day turned out that is debatable...) Westwood School was once a specialist residential school for autistic children, it closed around 2002. There has been a new school built next door but with it being the summer holidays right now there wasn't much activity there. It's basically a collection of about ten wooden cabins of various sizes that contain classrooms, halls and other stuff, so we had a half hour run around before making our way out. Thanks for looking, more on my Flickr...
  15. Quite a few photos for a short report don't you think, I thought generally it was 5 or less for here. Not managed to do this one yet myself, after my mate bailed looking at the way into the building...
  16. This is what passes as a new local lead for me nowadays, all the way north of Banbury! Anyway I had a free afternoon so myself and my long-standing explore buddy who comes out with me every so often went to check it out having only seen a small amount of photos from here that didn't show all that much. We thought there has got to be more to the place and there certainly was. Compton Buildings Ltd was a leading manufacturer of concrete garages, sheds and outbuildings, supplying over half a million units nationwide in their lifetime. The company was started in 1958 in Fenny Compton, and by their 50th birthday in 2008 there were some new owners and the future was apparently secured for the long term. But the new owners relieved the former - very successful - management team and the company began to lose money rapidly. The managers appointed by the new owners alienated both the workforce and the network of dealers, and in the summer of 2011 the factory closed down for good. After closure part of the site was leased to On-time Delivery Company who still occupy the two largest warehouses but the rest of the site is completely abandoned. It's mostly stripped of stuff but there are some decent things to see tucked away and is good for a wander if you're in the area. One section of the site was devoted to the concrete plant, there was a large wood mill building and various other manufacturing buildings and warehouses. There was also an office block we didn't go into because neither of us could be bothered to trudge over to it in the pouring rain. Thanks for looking, more photos on my Flickr as per normal....
  17. The day after Fole Dairy and Westwood school myself and OverArch woke up somewhere deep in the north, excited for the prospects of a whole day of explores ahead. Sadly, and rather quickly, the excitement turned into disappointment and frustration as simply nothing went our way. Fail followed fail followed tactical retreat, the only place we ended up doing successfully from the long list of places I had gathered was Rylands Mill in Wigan - and even that came at a personal cost to me - as something caught on my foot in the old weaving sheds area which meant I got an unplanned and extremely close up view of the broken brick and slate covered floor whilst my hand and arm took a trip into a large patch of stinging nettles growing out the damp floor. I examined the photo I took of the area I fell and still can't work out what exactly caused me to fall. With my pride damaged, my knees hurting, arms stinging and camera with a few more battle scars we carried on...to another fail. It wasn't the best place ever but at least the day wasn't a total bust... Anyway, this was a very big former textile mill which after closure was part converted into a college campus, there was a fairly big fire in the top floor not so long ago which caused some bad damage to the roof. This below is the area I fell in - I got comparatively lucky - as had I fallen to the left rather than the right I would have gone straight onto the foot of the metal barrier lying on it's side... Thanks for looking
  18. Last stop on mine and Landie Man's day of cross-county exploring was a thoroughly ruined factory, a nice easy place to end the day on. Plastmo Profiles LTD produces uPVC products like drainpipes and guttering, this particular location closed a few years ago and has been absolutely, completely, utterly destroyed by the locals. Much like British Xylonite only this place hasn't been on fire, yet. The one saving grace this place had was a rather awesome staircase in the main lobby area which I did like quite a lot, it certainly was a highlight amid the total destruction of the rest of the place. Thanks for looking, more can be found on my Flickr
  19. Standing out like a sore thumb in what is barely a hamlet near Uttoxeter is the hulking great remains of the Fole Dairy. For the most part a fairly modern industrial construction but there is a nice old mill that was comverted into offices tucked in one corner of the site to nose at as well. Myself and OverArch turned up without any idea of where to go or how to get in, sometimes finding these things out for yourself are some of the best parts of the adventure. It's fairly samey inside with a lot of empty white rooms but there are some good points of interest to be found if you look hard enough. Thanks for looking, more as ever on my Flickr...
  20. This sort of place was just what the doctor ordered for me, a nice big chilled decaying industrial wander with lots of things to climb up, lots of pipes and a couple of buildings to poke around in too. It also has what I consider to be one of the best pieces of graffiti I've seen pretty much anywhere on the side of one of the massive storage tanks. This waste water treatment plant is all that remains of the former Bayer Agrochemical Facility in Hauxton near Cambridge, the main facility across the road was demolished in 2010, the land was so badly contaminated with chemicals that a massive decontamination operation was undertaken, and it was reported at the time that the fumes from chemicals being released on site were having ill effects on local residents. The site was finally signed off as safe in 2014 and there are currently houses being built on the old main site. Across the road was the waste water treatment plant which remained in operation until 2012 when it closed for good. This side of the site was also home to the plant's playing field and indoor squash court, I took a quick peek in there on the way out but it was pretty dull and not worth a photo due to very poor light inside. Overall we covered the whole of whats left, climbing up many things and having a good time before moving on to the next explore. That bit of graffiti...I adore this. Thanks for looking, as ever more photos on my Flickr linked in my signature
  21. I'm getting into the latter stages of my trip now, but some of the best stuff was saved until last. In my almost seven years of exploring I had never done a prison, even my four or five previous trips to continental Europe hadn't included 15H or H15 or whatever it's getting called this week. So as you can imagine I was stoked I was finally going to be able to explore one. This place only closed down a few years ago, before becoming a prison it was a state school for the developmentally disabled (read: a place like an asylum complex but worse) which shut down and was then purchased by the prison service. The grounds are now a public park, which means exactly what it says - the public are free to wander around and relax on the neatly kept parklands around the abandoned prison buildings still surrounded with their tall razor wire-topped fences. Amateur sports teams play on the old prison games fields surrounded by razor wire and there is a school bus assembling plant leasing some of the old maintenance sheds. We got into two of the buildings, the largest main one has just had a new fence put around it which meant it was a no go so we stuck to the second largest and it's annex. I had no ideas what to expect stepping foot inside, needless to say I was very pleasantly surprised as although empty the peeling decay was off the charts thanks to America's love of leaded paint which peels like a dream. There were areas which were very definitely prison-esque and others that really didn't look like one at all but I guess that came with it's former use. Apologies in advance for the quality of some of the photos, I had temporarily misplaced my tripod by leaving it in my friend's girlfriend's car so they were all taken handheld at some very high ISO levels, and we were very time limited here so it was a rush around and nuts to composition kind of explore. Thanks for looking