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Everything posted by mookster

  1. A few weeks back I had the opportunity to visit a vast very recently closed military base before it all gets flattened in the near future, we only managed to see the accomodation and communal side of the base then before running out of energy and time. Fast forward a bit and I once again found myself on site, and after signing in with security off we went once more. This time our focus was the sprawling TTA side, or Technical Training Area, which trained recruits in all manner of disciplines from firearms, welding, engines and transmissions construction, machine tools and other heavy industries. This place was unbelievably massive, and after walking around it for seven hours, and walking ten miles according to my friends fancy smart watch we were exhausted. Overall I would say we got into less than half of the bigger buildings on this side, and after leaving them the security team went round re-securing everything, it is their job after all! This will be very photo heavy as can be expected.... The first building we found was the former welding facility, recruits were trained in both arc and oxy-acetylene welding in this building. The next building was the former electrical engineering and engine/transmissions building, but in earlier life it had a much more heavy industrial use. There was a load of random stuff dumped in here in one corner, presumably from some old exhibition or something. They had built a partition wall through the end of the crane gantry, which was quite odd. The end of it was just visible poking out the other side of the wall. After a little wander we found ourselves in the former admin building, it was empty but had a few nice features like the old telephone exchange, and also housed classrooms and laboratories. By this point we were getting peckish so popped off-site to pick up some lunch, came back and had a nice munch sat on the grass outside our next target, the boiler house. It was almost unbearably hot and stuffy in here thanks to one side of the building being entirely made of glass panels, but it was good to see none of the stuff had been stripped out. Whilst on our way to the next big target building we swung by the former dog section kennels. Each dog had it's own purpose-built hut inside each of the numerous pens.... ...before we ducked into the firearms test-firing tunnel. The extremely thick concrete-lined tube was built into an earth bank and lined with sound-deadening material. After those two smaller parts of the site we popped into the largest building by far, which dominates the landscape of this part of the base. Parts of it have been sectioned off now into some surprising things as we were to find out, but one half was used for the storage of armoured vehicles, personnel carriers and other heavy machinery as well as recovery training and bulk machinery stores. Part of it had been turned into an indoor sports hall. And another area had formed the home of the motorcycle workshop. We then hopped over to the second biggest building handily right next door, this was a much more modern facility which formed the field workshop. It also had fully functioning gantry cranes which we may have had a little play around with. We also later found out from the security team that police dog handlers regularly train in this building and around the site Who put that up there.... When we had finished playing with the machinery in the massive cavernous field workshop we headed back up the site to the small arms and optic instruments training building, which had a bundle of absolutely brilliant signage scattered throughout. Just in case you were unaware, SA & MG stands for semi-automatic & machine gun... Last stop on our marathon journey after striking out at a few inaccessible buldings was the fittings & machine shop. This was by far the biggest single location I have ever explored, the only thing that comes close and may be bigger is the entire RAF Upper Heyford site including the airfield side. Soon enough it is all going to be bulldozed to make way for a huge regeneration project. Loads more photos, as to be expected, on my flickr here https://www.flickr.com/photos/mookie427/sets/72157672111739205/
  2. Right on my doorstep but being rumbled by the police there in January made me give it a wide berth, need to get it done I think. I have fond and not so fond memories of school swimming lessons being held there when I was in my first school.
  3. Hate to say it but I prefer this decayed stuff to the very clean (but admittedly beautiful) admin block, it's nice to see more of it that isn't often photographed.
  4. I've had a pretty torrid year for exploring so far, and now we are in April I have only just scraped into double figures. However April and May are looking like fabulous months so hopefully things pick up finally. And what better way to turn over a new leaf with a big nursing home in a beautiful part of the world near the south coast. When I say big, this place is massive - a sprawling building spread over two floors stretching as far as the eye can see. It was built during the early 1940s and originally operated as Linford Hospital before being converted into the Nursing Home as it stands today. In 2010 there was an immigration raid on the premises that resulted in 17 arrests - 12 on immigration charges, 1 on theft and the 4 staff who were believed to be those running the home. It closed soon after in 2012 and the local residents of the beautiful village it is sat in have been fighting plans to turn it into a drug rehabilitation centre. Once you're inside it immediately becomes apparent that it closed very suddenly, pretty much everything is left as it was even down to residents clothes and a fully stocked kitchen. All the electrics are still connected up and myself and Landie Man had a right laugh playing the electric organ. It also becomes apparent what a massive waste of resources there is going on here, there is so much expensive equipment left inside that could be used elsewhere it was quite eye-opening. The whole explore was very peaceful, well for the most part anyway as it was spoiled somewhat by the ear-splitting alarm going off in the front reception area which had obviously been screaming for some time. Thanks for looking
  5. Love this place, looks like they've cleaned out the ground floor entirely now. Used to be a load of wallpaper coming down on the stairs and the front lobby. They've removed the barrel wrapping machinery and all the barrels from the workshop as well. Actually looks like it's all been piled up in the large room at the end of the ground floor!
  6. I agree with you on that. It's one of the last real oldschool behemoths too. Can't believe when I went just over two years ago there was zero sign of any security on site, whether we just lucked out by going in at 5.30am on a July morning or not I don't know but almost everyone else seems to have some kind of encounter with them! We even chose to ascend the crumbling concrete stairs of doom up the side of the tower rather than the sphincter-twitcher walkway. Just my minor little niggle though, it's not CWM Coke, it's Cwm Coke. It ain't an acronym
  7. It's been a pretty slow year for me this year, apart from my mad two and a bit week dash to America there hasn't been a huge deal going on here for me which is disappointing but that's just what happens sometimes I guess. So when I saw this place pop up a couple of weeks back and it's imminent demise I knew I should make an effort. So on a scorchio day as part of Landie Man's slightly delayed birthday celebrations we ventured just beyond the M25 and went for it, without knowing anything about access, possible security or much else. Driving past we were immediately disheartened to see a multitude of large skips outside, and the ground floor windows along one stretch of the frontage completely removed, as well as glimpsing the sight of heavy demolition equipment out back. We also saw at least one person and a car on site, at the far end, whether or not there is some small business operating out of a building on site I don't know but it put me on edge a little. As far as history goes, this place is steeped in it. Constructed in 1936, it was one of only five buildings in the UK designed by the founder of the Bauhaus movement Walter Gropius for film producer Alexander Korda. The film processing laboratory - formerly Rank before being taken over by Deluxe - is the last surviving building from the original Denham Film Studio complex, it's one of the only surviving examples of industrial architecture from the Modern Movement of the 1930s and was Grade II listed in 1985. During it's heyday it was the most expansive and advanced film processing facility outside of Hollywood processing more than 500 million feet of film a year which was distributed to cinemas all over the world. Films processed and edited on site included Brief Encounter, The Great Escape, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Tomorrow Never Dies, ET, Superman 1,2 & 3, GoldenEye, Eyes Wide Shut, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. After Avatar was released in 2009 the film industry shifted hugely towards digital rather than film, and the resurgence of modern-day 3D didn't help at all. In 2014, Deluxe shut down with the loss of around 70 jobs, at it's peak there had been over 1200 people working in the facility. After a walk around and a quick scramble to scope out the access and deciding it was very doable we scampered back to the car to grab our gear and headed inside. We caught it just in time, large areas of the listed building are completely stripped bare ready for conversion, but it's a massive place and there is still a lot to see that hasn't been touched by the contractors yet. If you want to see it though you had better be quick, as things look to be moving at pace. Thanks for looking, more on my Flickr
  8. Cheers dude..those doors were in the old plant room for the original 1936 building, inside were air filter arrays so nothing too special sadly! I reckon in a couple of weeks or less the listed parts will be totally stripped out and that's when the demolition equipment out back will go full speed into the additions and extensions.
  9. Apologies for being vague with this one, it'll become clear soon below though. Over three years ago now my former best urbex explore buddy in the world hung up his boots and decided (or was kind of pushed by his now wife) to give up exploring, but before he did he had been trying to fix up a visit to a huge military base he knew was closing soon. Nothing came of it back then and for a while we lost contact, although periodically he would send me the odd message here and there pertaining to this military base. He always promised me that no matter what, as soon as he was granted the go ahead he would let me know and I could join him. Well, three and a half years down the line, after masses of red tape, hold ups, refusals and things elevating to the highest level of the local council he was finally granted permission and true to his word he was straight on the phone to me arranging a date that was suitable for us both. Rolling up on site it immediately became clear that the only way of ever being able to do this place is with the relevant permission, security is extremely tight and well managed with regular thorough patrols on foot and by car as well as other security arrangements in place too. I think we were both fully expecting to be shadowed constantly by pen-pushing security health and safety bods from the word go considering how much time and effort and perseverance it had taken to get it sorted. However after we had finished making our introductions to the security officer, he let us into one building with a key (out of the huge bag of keys they were given with no markings on them) but after that we were totally on our own. No keys for any buildings, no real knowledge of the site or what we would find inside and no real plan. For a while I had the sinking feeling that we wouldn't get into anything that we wanted to because from the outset everything looked locked up very tight, but with some dogged persistence and some real perseverance we actually found ways into almost every building we wanted. We spent five and a half long hot hours walking miles around the site and the buildings, and there is still a second half of the site to do at a date to be organised soon. So yeah, tl;dr, don't think of trying this one the 'regular' way, because you will fail. A large proportion of the rooms in some of the buildings were completely identical dorm rooms like this: Thanks for looking, loads more photos on my Flickr
  10. Not a chance. It was under MOD ownership until two weeks ago, they still train dogs in the grounds, half the site is semi active with most of it covered by CCTV, they hold events there regularly and the patrols are extremely regular. And more to the point the fence around the base is fearsome....
  11. Construction of the Essex County Hospital Center, also known as Overbrook Asylum began at the end of the 19th Century. Over the next couple of decades it was expanded with more buildings added gradually as it grew into a large institution. It was so large it had it's own railway station on the branch line used to transport the huge quantities of coal needed to power the complex. During the 20th century attitudes towards mental health care dramatically changed, and the facility was gradually wound down until in the 1990s it was operating but with very few patients. During this time the administrators began the process of closing wards and other buildings, until the final curtain fell on the site in early 2007, when patients and staff were moved to a brand new, smaller, hospital in the local area. I had wanted to see Overbrook for a very long time, ever since my first trip over to the states but back then it was not to be for a few reasons. It just so happens that one of my friends/exploring buddies out there is very local to the hospital and has been visiting the site pretty much since the day the final door shut in 2007, he's probably been inside the asylum over 350 times now and knows the place like a second home. That may seem excessive, but when it is within walking distance of where you lived and as amazing as it is inside I can understand why. He describes it as the best explore New Jersey has ever had, and in a state filled with dozens of abandoned hospitals and institutions that's a big thing to say. A month or so ago my heart sank as I saw the first photos posted of the long talked about demolition of the site beginning so it quickly became a 'we must see it now' explore. And I am so glad I did. I honestly never thought I'd see a better asylum than West Park way back when but my first impressions of being in here were of it being like the best bits of Cane Hill, West Park and Hellingly all rolled into one asylum. It's got a ridiculous amount of equipment left inside, four dental suites, a mortuary, an entire records vault filled with patient records from the mid-20th century, oodles of decay and a huge power plant with it's own turbine hall. Unfortunately the main hall was one building demolished in 2007 when the place closed. It was an (excuse the pun) crazy place to walk around, I could have stayed in there the entire day and not seen it all. My companions showed me all the best bits, the must-sees and the awesome spots, I took many many photos and we got out without a worry. Ironically the place was seriously tagged up before any real decay set in, so a lot of the graffiti has since peeled off the walls! When I explored it they had demolished maybe a quarter to a third of the site, so god knows how much is left now. Once this place goes it will be the death of a true icon of American exploring, felt much the same as the demise of West Park was over here. All I know is my three friends who have explored it a ridiculous number of times will be in there exploring until the very last building comes down. The old dining hall below - this was right on the edge of where the demolition crews had got up to. Probably gone now. Thanks for looking, loads more shots on my Flickr...
  12. Now I'm finally up to date with all my explores I can stop bombarding the forum for a little bit and let things get back to normal! Of course before that happens I thought I should bring something new to the table, visited with Stoozie. To save a lengthy post on the not-so-lengthy history of the Caterham F1 Team and it's very messy collapse and end, here is a very detailed article explaining exactly what happened - http://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/how-caterham-f1-collapsed/ This place is one of the strangest places I've ever explored. It's not old, it's one of the cleanest locations I've ever been in, and it smells very strange. All the power is still connected and works, so all the lights come on when you flick switches. This is a double-edged sword though as it also means you can't get through certain doors that required a keycard to unlock. Never the less we got around almost the whole site, the undisputed highlight of which is the old virtual reality racing simulator, unfortunately the actual F1 rig was removed when the assets were seized in 2014 but it's still a great space, and unfortunately the only room that doesn't have power! Thanks for looking
  13. So fresh off the plane a week or so ago I was informed by my friends that I was being taken on a couple of days of explores. No rest for the wicked aye. First on our little jaunt was somewhere completely different, which I am totally fine with as I love shooting new things.