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  1. MADE IN JAPAN When I visited Chernobyl for the first time 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan. After all, nuclear power is safe and the technology is less and less prone to failure, and therefore a similar disaster cannot happen in the future. Scientists said this, firms that build nuclear power stations said this, and the government said this. But it did happen. When I was planning my trip to Fukushima I didn’t know what to expect. There the language, culture, traditions and customs are different, and what would I find there four years after the accident? Would it be something similar to Chernobyl? NO-GO ZONE The decision not to come to Fukushima until four years after the disaster is a deliberate one, as most of the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami has been cleared up. Above all, I would like to focus on the accident at the nuclear power station and the effects it had on the environment and the evacuated residents, and compare it to Chernobyl. For this reason, what I would like to do the most is see the orange zone and the red zone, the most contaminated and completely deserted. In the latter, no clearing up or decontamination work is going on. Here time has stood still, as if the accident happened yesterday. A separate permit is required for each of the towns in the red zone, which is issued only to people who have a legitimate, official reason to go there. No tourists are allowed. Even journalists are not welcome. The authorities are wary, they enquire after the reason, the topic being covered, and attitude towards the disaster. They are worried that journalists will not be accurate and objective when presenting the topic, but they are most likely scared of being criticized for their actions. I try to arrange entry into the no-go zone while still in Poland. I get help from colleagues, authors of books, and journalists who write about Fukushima. They recommend their friends, they recommend their friends, and they recommend their friends. It is not until I travel to Fukushima and spend two weeks there that I am able to make contact with the right people. It turns out that the knowledge I have and the photographs I have taken in my career from numerous visits to Chernobyl convince these people to help me. NAMIE A week later I have the permit in my hand and can finally make my way to Namie, one of three towns in the no-go zone. Although the town is completely deserted, the traffic lights still work, and the street lamps come on in the evening. Now and again a police patrol also drives by, stopping at every red light despite the area being completely empty. They also stop next to our car and check our permits carefully. Checkpoint Off-licence Police patrol In order to see the effects of the tsunami we go to the coast, where all of the buildings were destroyed. Although four years have passed, the clean-up is still going on, although most of the damage has now been cleared up. Behind the buildings one concrete building stands out, which was capable of withstanding the destructive force of the tsunami. It is a school, built using TEPCO money, where the schoolchildren luckily survived by escaping to the nearby hills. The primary school building that survived is situated a mere 300 metres from the ocean. On the tower, as in all of the classrooms, there are clocks which stopped at the moment the tsunami came (at the time the power went off). Remains of destruction in the aftermath of the tsunami. A photograph from the school’s observation tower. School computers One of the classrooms on the first floor in the school. There is still a mark below the blackboard showing the level of the tsunami wave. On the blackboard in the classroom are words written by former residents, schoolchildren and workers in an attempt to keep up the morale of all of the victims, such as / we will be reborn / we can do it, Fukushima! / stupid TEPCO / we were rivals in softball, but always united in our hearts! / We will definitely be back! / Despite everything now is precisely the beginning of our rebirth / I am proud to have graduated from the Ukedo primary school / Fukushima is strong / Don’t give up, live on! / Ukedo primary school, you can do it! / if only we could return to our life by the sea / it’s been two years now and Ukedo primary school is the same as it was on 11 March 2011, this is the beginning of a rebirth./ Gymnasium Namie at dusk. Despite the area being totally deserted the traffic lights and streetlamps still work. FUTABA Another week of waiting and finally I receive the permit to go to Futaba, another town in the no-go zone. This town, which borders the ruined power station, is the town with the highest level of contamination in the zone. There has not been any clearing up or decontamination due to the radiation being too high. For this reason we are also issued with protective clothing, masks, and dosimeters. The checkpoint in front of the Fukushima II power station. In the background a building of one of the reactors. Deserted streets in Futaba Go-Kart racing track The town’s close ties with the nearby power station are not just a question of the short distance between them. Next to the main road leading to the town centre I come across a sign across the street, and in fact it is a slogan promoting nuclear energy, saying „Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future†– today it is an ironic reminder of the destructive effects of using nuclear power. A few hundred metres further on there is a similar sign. A message of propaganda above one of the main streets of Futaba – „Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future†When visiting Futaba, which borders the damaged nuclear power station Fukushima I, I can’t help but try to photograph the main culprit of the nuclear disaster, but unfortunately all of the roads leading to the power station are closed and are heavily guarded. With a little ingenuity one can see it, however. But first I go to see a nearby school. A school in Futaba. A dosimeter showing a radiation level of (2,3 uSv/h) Musical instruments left behind The damaged Fukushima I power station When leaving the red zone there is a compulsory dosimeter checkpoint. Our turn In the vicinity of the red zone I happen to notice an abandoned car. It is hard to make it out from a distance, it is almost completely overgrown with green creepers. When I get up closer I notice that there are more vehicles, neatly organised in several rows. I guess that the cars became contaminated and then were abandoned by the residents. A moment later the beep of the dosimeter confirms this. One of the abandoned cars Site where vehicles have been dumped. Aerial photograph. INTERIORS While I am in the zone I devote a lot of time and attention to taking photographs of the interiors. Photographs of this kind give a very good illustration of the human and highly personal dimension of the tragedy. They also make us aware of what the residents of Fukushima lost and the very short time they had for the evacuation. When taking photographs of the interiors of the buildings the similarities to Chernobyl are even more striking, although in Chernobyl, after almost 30 years since the disaster and thousands of tourists visiting it, it is hard to find any untouched objects. One time a teddy bear is lying completely covered with gasmasks, and a month later it is next to the window, put there so that a tourist could take a photograph in better light. These are things that were staged subsequent to the incident. In Fukushima, the disaster remains seared into the memories of residents, the evacuation order still in force, and the total lack of tourists mean that everything is in the same place as it was four years ago. Toys, electronic devices, musical instruments, and even money, have been left behind. Only a tragedy on this scale can produce such depressing scenes. Restaurant KFC Gaming saloon Cash desk in a gaming saloon Off-licence Hairdresser’s Children’s bedroom Supermarket Supermarket Supermarket CONCLUSION I came to Fukushima as a photographer and a filmmaker, trying above all to put together a story using pictures. I was convinced that seeing the effects of the disaster with my own eyes would mean I could assess the effects of the power station failure and understand the scale of the tragedy, especially the tragedy of the evacuated residents, in a better way. This was a way of drawing my own conclusions without being influenced by any media sensation, government propaganda, or nuclear lobbyists who are trying to play down the effects of the disaster, and pass on the information obtained to as wider a public as possible. This was only the first trip, I am coming back to Fukushima in the autumn, and there is nothing to suggest that I will stop in the near future. This should not be understood as a farewell to Chernobyl, I will be visiting both places regularly. Seven years ago I ended my first documentary on Chernobyl with these words: „An immense experience, not comparable to anything else. Silence, lack of cries, laughter, tears and only the wind answers. Prypiat is a huge lesson for our generation.†Have we learnt anything since then?
  2. Abandoned power plant and turbines _MG_7642 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7649 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7651 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7654 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7659 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7671 by puppet factory, on Flickr
  3. _MG_7209 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7222 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7213 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7200 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7229 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7238 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7251 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7243 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7271 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7266 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7265 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7273 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7254 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7279 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_7197 by puppet factory, on Flickr
  4. a old distillery,, _MG_6696 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6698 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6701 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6715 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6716 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6732 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6729 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6719 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6717 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6739 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6747 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6785 by puppet factory, on Flickr _MG_6766 by puppet factory, on Flickr
  5. History Antonio Hall, listed as a Category 2 Historic Place, is a large abandoned mansion located in Christchurch, New Zealand. Thomas Kincaid, a successful grocery merchant, had construction begin in 1904 on six acres of land, however, the structure wasn't fully completed until 1909. Clarkson and Ballantyne were commissioned to design and oversee the development of the mansion which was intended to be styled as a comfortable modernised Victorian/English Domestic building. By 1929, though, both Mr Kincaid and his wife had passed away and the property was sold to John Montgomery, a prominent citizen of Christchurch. Throughout Mr Montgomery's ownership the mansion retained its original name as the 'Kincaid Property', although the gardens were extensively redeveloped. Nevertheless, by 1946 the house was once again sold; this time to Bishop P.F. Lyons, on behalf of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops. In 1947 the Kincaid Property subsequently became the 'Holy Name Seminary', catering for young boys who aspired to become priests. Towards the very end of the 1940's it was reasoned the that premises were inadequate for its new purpose, thus, money was invested to construct additional dormitories, a new dining room and and onsite chapel; which opened in 1950. The chapel was later extended in 1959 when the Holy Name Seminary became a house of Philosophy and a Major Seminary. Further lecture halls were also included in the ongoing renovations. Unfortunately, not too soon after affording time and effort into such extensions, it was deemed that it was no longer financially viable to manage the property; the decline in enrolling numbers had a detrimental effect upon the the future of the house and Seminary. In the years to follow the Churches only viable option was to operate the premises as a private hostel for university students. As it effectively became a student hall of residence, or college as they are otherwise termed, it was subsequently renamed and became known as 'Campion Hall'. By 1981, the property was sold to Mrs Luisetti and her husband, and they chose to run the site as a boarding house. The building was able to cater for up to one hundred people at a time and the additional space was often used to cater for further wedding receptions and other joyous events. Mrs Luisetti renamed the house in memory of her son, who was tragically killed in 1975. For unknown reasons the building was later sold to the Wellstar Company Ltd., and since then it has remained largely vacant; despite now being privately owned. On a positive note though, there are reports suggesting that in the years it has been closed a few of the rooms have been used as temporary accommodation for people who are homeless. In 2011 Antonio Hall fell victim to the earthquakes, like many of the buildings across Christchurch. The only person rumoured to be living onsite at the time was the groundskeeper and, despite the extensive damage that occurred in the section he was living in, it is reported that he managed to escape unharmed. The former mansion, which covers 4283 square metres, with over one hundred bedrooms, seven lecture rooms, a library, a cool store, dining and kitchen facilities, a water-tower, garden sheds and a chapel, now lies entirely abandoned; potentially awaiting demolition. Our Version of Events Yet again we have another property potentially awaiting demolition in Christchurch, primarily because the estimated costs to repair the site are considered to be too great. As an explore though, Antonio Hall offers much more than your average mansion. From the outside one can easily be forgiven for making the assumption that it's likely to be nothing too special, however, once inside it's foreseeable that opinions will be swayed. We wandered around this site for hours, taking in all of the objects that have been left behind and forgotten. The site was so big I've been unable to post photos of everything that can be found inside. The best way to describe the site is as a wacky maze, full of intricate designs and styles, and yet, there's also a certain sense of sadness about the place, as beds lie untended and various bits and pieces have started to crumble away. Explored with Nillskill. 1: Antonio Hall 2: Fire Damaged Bedroom 3: Intact Bedroom 4: Another One of the Many Bedrooms 5: Open Book 6: Leafy Piano 7: Old Armchair 8: Larger and More Grand Piano 9: The Chapel 10: The Chapel Black and White Shot (With Pews) 11: Missing Staircase 12: Former Girls Dormitories 13: Girls Dorm Bedroom 14: Old Cooker Hobs 15: The Damaged Ceiling (This Sort of Scene was Commonplace Throughout) 16: The Water-Tower 17: Antonio Hall from the Water-Tower 18: A View from the Water-Tower 19: Christchurch Behind Antonio Hall's Roof 20: Golf Buggy 21: The Gardener's Shed 22: Rusting Oil Tank (Gardener's Shed Behind) 23: The Kitchens 24: The Dining Room 25: The Dining Room Black and White Shot 26: Detailed Wall Decor 27: Fabric that was Formerly in Storage 28: The Head Wedding Table 29: Stained Glass Window in the Chapel 30: A Second Stained Glass Window in the Chapel
  6. History Erskine College, located in Island Bay, Wellington, is listed as a Category One Historic Place and is a former Catholic girls’ boarding school. Originally constructed in 1905/06, the building was named the Convent of the Sacred Heart, and it was intended that its structural design be a combination of French Gothic and Edwardian Collegiate architecture. The chapel (Chapel of the Sacred Heart) wasn’t built until 1929/30. The name was altered in the late 1960’s, to avoid confusion with the Sacred Heart College which is located in Lower Hutt, Wellington. The site was named after Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the fifth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Although the site fell into a state of decay in the 1990’s, Learning Connexion art school reoccupied the buildings between 1997 and 2009; during this time the chapel was also refurbished and used for small wedding services. The entire site was declared unsafe in 2012 due to the increased fears of earthquake threats, and it has since remained abandoned. Our Version of Events Just as I was preparing to depart New Zealand, it was decided that there was an hour to kill. Erskine College suddenly jumped onto the cards because there were rumours of a chapel lurking within its depths that has been largely unexplored. After a quick food stop at New World, we made our way to the old college on the hill. Quite conscious that I’d put on some cleaner clothes for the flight home, we made our way through some rather muddy woods at the back of the site – to avoid detection and make for a better story. Despite the rain pouring from the trees, and the steep muddy slopes, we managed to reach a point of entry largely unscathed and clean. I even managed to climb up the site of the building and through a window without getting my hands dirty; or so I thought at the time. Sure enough, after ten minutes of wandering, there she was!.. A chapel which was, for the most part, quite pristine, save for the odd crisp packet. By this point though, time was ticking away fast, so we quickly made every effort to grab as many photos as possible. As it turns out, however, I think I should have aimed for quality over quantity, as many of my photographs came our rather blurry on account of my rushing around. Unfortunately, because of the time limit and the sheer size of the site, we only managed to explore a fraction of the college, but, I guess a quick explore is better than no explore! Afterwards, we raced to the airport so I could check my bag in (early bag check-ins for international flights apparently), then, after a beer in the airport bar, we quickly left again to check out an abandoned prison. Up on the hilltop, however, we managed to get a flat tire after driving over a particularly large piece of rock, and so, after fitting the spare, I decided it was time to stop fucking around and go get the plane. Sure enough, back at the airport I soon discovered that my trousers had half the hillside on them, and plenty of chapel plaster dust… And so, that’s how my journey to New Zealand ended; trying desperately, ten minutes before my flight, to brush off all the ‘foreign contaminants’ before I attempted to leave the country and re-enter the UK. Explored with Nillskill. 1: Erskine College External Shot 2: Erskine College Back in the Day 3: Main Hall 4: Function Hall 5: Another Hall 6: Obligatory Staircase Shot 7: Upstairs Rooms - Adjacent to the Chapel 8: The Chapel Stained Glass Windows 9: Chapel of the Sacred Heart 10: Chapel of the Sacred Heart - Ground Shot 11: Jesus 12: Side Room in the Chapel 13: Chapel Candles 14: Side Seating 15: High Ceiling 16: Frontal Stained Glass Windows 17: Chapel With the Altar Table 18: The Main Altar 19: The Virgin Mary 20: Staircase Leading out of the Chapel 21: Decorative Room 22: Stage Area 23: Old Piano 24: Old-School Lift 25: External Shot
  7. History The New Plymouth Power Station, located at Port Taranaki, is a former thermal power station and was fuelled dually by both gas and oil; it was originally designed to produce power using coal until the Maui gas field was discovered off the coast of Taranaki. The plant was commissioned in 1974, to meet the rising electricity demands across New Zealand, and by the late 1970’s it became one of the largest power plants in the country. By this time the plant housed five identical units, comprising of boilers, provided by ICL of Derby (UK), and steam turbines, from C. A. Parsons of Newcastle (UK). For cooling processes, the plant made use of both seawater and hydrogen. At the start of the millennium, though, discussions surrounding the plant’s future were held, due to rising concerns around its environmental efficiency and the general age of the site and its technology. New Plymouth Power Station was later decommissioned in 2008 after the discovery of asbestos in the thermal insulation, although part of the site was temporarily reinstated in the same year due to poor rainfall, resulting in a shortage of power as lake inflows for other hydro power stations were insufficient to meet the general supply and demand. The New Plymouth Power Station, and others like it, often played a pivotal role in sustaining the supply of power across New Zealand in drier years. Our Version of Events We left the city of Hamilton just as it was growing dark, having decided that New Plymouth didn’t look all that far away on the map; it was only a finger’s length after all. Day rapidly transformed into night, but with determination and an incredible amount of caffeine, we pressed on. Despite nearly running out of fuel – risky business in a country that doesn’t know what a service station is – we survived and made it to New Plymouth in the middle of the night. But, that’s when the real adventure began. We had to navigate our way down the sea cliff, towards the beach where we were greeted by a mob of angry seals. Getting past them initially proved effortless, it was only on the way out that a rather large one caused Zort to shit himself and leap, much like an Olympic triple jumper, into my arms. Needless to say, we managed to avoid being eaten, and enjoyed another disappointing night’s sleep in the car. The explore itself, at first, seemed more like a catastrophic disaster zone, with bits of turbine lying outside the plant. Inside the situation was not much better, as pipes and ladders were bent and distorted and layers of think dust coated absolutely everything. Demolition is going smoothly it would appear. The highlight of the explore, though, was the control room. Having stumbled upon this, after feeling defeated in the mutual agreement that access was blocked, was an ecstatic moment; and to make the situation ever better, the controls were switched on! The sound of several machines humming softly in the background felt like music to the ears. Explored with Nillskill and Zort. 1: New Plymouth Power Station (from the clifftop) 2: Oil Burning Plant Internal Combustion Ltd. 3: Mangled pipes and valves 4: Into the depths of pipes and workings 5: Over the wall 6: Climbable tanks 7: 'Demolition in progress' side 8: Crumpled ladder 9: Very large ropes 10: Staircase leading to control rooms (eventually) 11: Walkway/observation platform 12: The carnage 13: The whole former turbine room 14: Empty spaces 15: Rusting barrel 16: The control room 17: One of the main control desks 18: Controls left on 19: Working control panels 20: Computer space 21: Unit 2 22: Smaller control desk 23: Additional controls 24: Machine with paper behind protective glass 25: Smaller machines with paper 26: Emergency radio 27: Some negative vibes 28: Many more switches 29: Evacuation alarm 30: Small monitor (one of several around the room)
  8. Hi, my friends! Some months ago I was in a trip to UAE and visited some locations. One of them is here, have a nice review! The palace is guarding and we decided to arrange to visit it officially. But the security men were from Pakistan and didn't understand neither English nor Arabic:mad: We spent a lot of time to penetrate the house. The palace of Abdulaziz Al Qassimi sheikh was built in 1984 and was abandoned ten years later because of a big amount of bad accidents there. People who lived in there or somewhere near said that it is haunted by a ghost woman who screams at nights, and nany peple also saw ghostly children who played in the yard. Nobody knows whose unrest souls interfered the royal family but all exorcists who tried to turn them out failed. One of them told that all the statue heads should be broken. Now it looks really scary, headless statues. The main hall. Amazing chandelier. I had no tripod, that's why my photoes are not very good. And then we heard the strange noise, it sounded like a bird knocking at the window. It came from a locked room, and it was really creepy to hear it. Unfortunally we didn't explore the whole palace but I can say for sure, I would never spend a night there. There's something evil there... By the way, the owners of the palace offered it for sale. The price is very low, about 500 000 dirham. But inspite of the price there have never been any interested...
  9. History Hamilton Central is New Zealand’s first underground station, although it has been abandoned since 1995. The railway originally ran through the centre of Hamilton and was one of the busiest locomotive areas on the north island. Over the years traffic on the line increased significantly as services for both passengers and industry improved; progress and growth was to such an extent that by 1968 the use of steam operated locomotives on the north island was brought to an end, replaced instead by the more contemporaneous diesel engine. During this period of expansion the railway used a method known as ‘cut and cover’ to construct the new station (Hamilton Central). This method involves excavating a large amount of earth and covering the hollow with concrete and spoil, and was designed to conceal the noise of countless trains thundering across the city. This also provided a partial solution to the growing traffic problems that were becoming an increasing concern. Above ground the former site of an old railway yard functioned, for many years, as a car park, tunnel entrance and bus terminal, all aimed towards serving the many public users of the station. In later years, a concrete slab was placed over the entrance of the underground station and after the closure of the terminal a DIY warehouse was constructed in its place. The warehouse’s car park, storage and staff areas now lie behind part of the station (if you climb up and look behind the wooden panel the last photograph). Part of the decision to close the underground station evolved due to increases in crime, concerns surrounding the safety of passengers, vandalism and graffiti. In preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup there were plans to reopen the underground station, however, the combination of impending financial debt and complications involving the warehouse above resulted in the dismissal of all pending proposals. Our Version of Events Some form of underground station has long been on the ‘to do list’, and since being in New Zealand the prospect of exploring one seemed unlikely; until I return to the UK at least. Nevertheless, one turned up! For this one we travelled many, many, many kilometres (not miles over here)… Then a few more kilometres, to reach the city of Hamilton; because that’s what you do in New Zealand. It’s a fantastic city though, for anyone planning a visit. Our prime concern, however, was the underground station that’s been abandoned for quite some time. Access is a little interesting with this one, as you have to find a way onto the main line and then give it legs until you reach the underground platform. Inside, although it’s heavily vandalised and covered in graffiti, it still feels like an underground station, with the tiles, the smell of pollution and general layout. The old ramp which ascended to the former terminal also still exists. Just as we were wrapping things up though the experience became all the more awesome as a train rushed past the station; kicking up the dirt of the platform and filling the air with the sound of the horn as it raced on to its destination. Explored with Nillskill and Zort. 1: Hamilton Central Station 2: A view across the platform 3: A track view 4: Looking down the platform 5: Bottom of exit/entrance tunnel 6: Top of exit/entrance tunnel (concrete cover positioned above) 7: Inside the tunnel 8: Hamilton Central Platform 9: Caught by surprise 10: The train in the distance
  10. History This report looks at some of the abandoned cliff top mansions on the outskirts of Christchurch. The damage to the mansions themselves during the 2011 earthquakes was significant to say the least, and as the cliff itself collapsed it took many of the buildings with it. Although demolition has begun, against the protests and campaigns of those who own them, the majority of the stricken homes remain, posed precariously over the side of the cliff. It is estimated that hundreds of million dollar mansions will be demolished in the coming months (330 alone in the red zone), however progress is often stalled due to bad weather which causes the land in the area to become more unstable; concerns are tied in with the knowledge that water can seep into the myriad of cracks found within the cliff which initiates substantial ground weakening. Construction workers reported that it took more than eighteen months to devise a safe demolition plan, and ground conditions are continually monitored. Alarms have been placed in the key demolition areas, and they are triggered by unusual ground movement and instability. Initially, the use of explosives were considered, but those plans were quickly disregarded for fear of bringing the whole cliff down onto the buildings and roads that lie within close proximity beneath it. Since then ‘unmanned’ drones have been used to assess the structural damage of every structure, to calculate whether human demolition crews can enter each property. Once unspoiled and seamless, offering picturesque views as they overlook Sumner Beach, the mansions now stand cracked and broken. Pools and terraces sit empty, and only vacant chairs remain; taking in those spectacular views alone as they look out to sea. The first to be successfully dismantled was a six bedroom property, formerly valued at $2.28 million – re-evaluated to be worth less than a dollar. Although it was reported that the houses had been entirely cleaned out, it is at this stage worth mentioning that many people were in fact unable to reclaim their belongings and alongside full fridges sit the remains of people’s lives. Many people were forced to flee for their lives and were unable to grab their possessions as they left. Being conscious of this, I have tried to limit the photographs to reveal fewer personal items and effects, to give viewers a taste of the destruction rather than entirely invade other people’s privacy. Our Version of Events As for our little escapade; having aggravated the church royally on our last quest, we decided to leave the city for a short while, and worked our way towards the outskirts to seek out the fabled lost mansions of the Port Hills area. Now, despite the fact that they’re on top of an enormous cliff that towers above the city, we spent a good while struggling to find them; not sure what happened there. After much searching, we eventually found ourselves at the bottom, near an entire abandoned school which is directly underneath (they still mow the lawn and maintain it however), staring up in awe at bits of mansion poking out over the edges of the cliff – the next challenge though was to find our way to the top. The roads leading up to the Port Hills mansions are narrow and winding, and it is easy to mistake entire side roads for driveways. This is what we did for the next hour or so, as we became more confused in the maze of carnage (we wanted to get to the uppermost buildings which were situated at the highest point, so we passed many damaged structures). In the end we ditched the car and continued on foot, sneaking past the folks whose houses were somehow unaffected, until we finally reached what we were looking for. The damaged was far greater than I expected; although looking back I’m not exactly sure why I imagined it to be any less that what it was. These were some of the worst affected buildings I’ve seen in Christchurch. Staircases were dislodged, entire walls teetering – held together by a few crumbling fragments – and rooms completely distorted and buckled as we walked across their floors. Many of the mansions have ‘no-go’ lines drawn across at certain points, indicating which part of the building is slanting over the edge of the cliff. There’s not very much to stop a curious person stepping over those lines however, even with the knowledge that you will face imminent death if the structure did decided to topple over the side. Pushing those thoughts aside, guided instead by an awesome curiousity, we managed to explore several of the mansions and small gardens. Still, I should hasten to add that curiousity is a dangerous phenomenon, and sometimes you can overstep the mark; we did this by peering into an old chest freezer in a garage. I lost a few sensors in my nose after that one. Explored with Nillskill. 1: Private pool and terrace 2: Extensive structural damage 3: Poolside chair 4: Kitchen contents 5: The lost bedroom 6: Decaying toys 7: Former bedroom 8: Bathroom (toilet roll rack - nothing better than being prepared!) 9: Living room mirror 10: Someone left the dog behind 11: Fireplace 12: Store cupboard in the garage 13: Mansion exterior 14: Mock European style mansion 15: Crumbling walls 16: Main hallway 17: Looking down the corridor 18: Dining room and kitchen 19: The kitchen 20: Looking into the living room 21: View from the living room 22: The patio - positioned over the cliff 23: The cliff - suddenly a lot closer 24: A broken kitchen 25: Tentative steps 26: The main street 27: Broken letter box 28: Someone's former living room 29: Patio door barely clinging onto life 30: A studio style bedroom
  11. This is the first time I post on this forum. I hope you enjoy the pictures, sorry for my bad English...
  12. and can't tell to much about this hotel. Don't have any information about it. But there was a big differents between the richer people and the normal ones. And the owner loves carpets, Persian look-a-likes. 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
  13. History Palmerston North Police Station, originally one of four stations in the city, was completed in 1938 at a cost of £30,000, and operated up until 2005. The existing building was built on the site of the former wooden Victorian era police station and, in keeping up with modernist ideas and technologies sweeping across the county at the time, its design included seismic resistant concrete. Respectable structural engineers from California, Japan and New Zealand worked in partnership to implement and advance the use of reinforced concrete throughout its construction. The building is also based on a stripped classical style, which restricts the use of classical design elements (i.e. columns, decorations and pediments), and much of the exterior is plastered over to exhibit imitation stone joints. At the time, Palmerston North was considered to be an exemplary example of a modern police station in the southern hemisphere, and it attracted much attention from the Australian State Police who requested the site’s plans to assist in the construction of their own stations across the Tasman. It was reported that the police station stood to represent efficiency and subsequently a large number of cells, most equip with a toilet and some with a shower, were incorporated into the building’s design, alongside living quarters and other areas for staff. Interestingly, after the closure of the former Palmerston Police Station crime, between 2006-2010, rose significantly and the overall rate for the city was equal to the rest of New Zealand as a whole; although crime rates have dropped in more recent years. What began as nothing more than a small clearing in a forest, formerly occupied by indigenous Maori communities, the city of Palmerston North has risen to become one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand. Since the arrival of British and Scandinavian Europeans, the area has been entirely transformed and as the forests disappeared farmlands and cityscape began to appear. Our Version of Events Well folks, it happened, we finally found ourselves holed up in a police station, and an especially grim one at that. Three people or more to most cells, traditional plastic coated foam mattresses, one shared stainless steel toilet (with an incorporated sink on top), a shower if you’re lucky, graffiti from former inmates, and a peep hole for the guards to watch you taking a shit. As we arrived in the city police presence was tremendously high, and as we discovered the new police station is only a few hundred metres down the road. Nevertheless, we managed to amble on inside and the explore was excellent. Although it’s mostly stripped, many of the original features survive and you get a good feel for what it would be like being a ‘bad-guy’ in one of the old Robocop films. The graffiti inside the cells is incredible; a mixture of former gang members’, general ‘bad-guys’’ and Maori captives’ thoughts and feelings. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction to be had being able to see police officers walking outside the windows and watching them move about the street when you pop your head over the edge of the rooftop. Explored with Nillskill and Zort. 1: Palmerston North Police Station 2: Coat of arms 3: Old paperwork 4: Small cell 5: Large cell 6: Peep hole for the guards (opposite the toilet inside the cell) 7: Willy Mitford (research him, there's a good story) 8: Viva La Revolution 9: The other end of a larger cell 10: Stainless steel toilet and sink 11: Corridor to cells 12: Toilet roll and bar of soap (one for each cell, after that you're using your hand) 13: Fume cupboard 14: Examination/evidence sink 15: Steve Irwin 16: Booking room (looking down into the cell blocks) 17: Temporary holding cell 18: Booking room 19: Print room 20: Front of the station (the public side) 21: Map of Palmerston North (inside the chief's office) 22: Main reception (for the innocent folk) 23: Main reception and front door 24: Upstairs (staff area) 25: Staff bar 26: Palmerston North Main Street 27: The new police station 28: Behind the reception booth 29: A very large camera 30: Prisoner drop-off area
  14. History Church College of New Zealand is a former private secondary school, positioned at Temple View in Hamilton. The site is owned by a Mormon religious and cultural group, and when the school was operational it was run by the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Officially, construction began in 1952, with the announcement that a temple would be erected in Hamilton, and upon completion – in 1958 – the entire site and its buildings covered approximately 85.5 acres of land; in its entirety the site includes a temple, a housing estate, a secondary school, a library, a medical centre, farm land and a significant number of dormitories for boys, girls and staff. The cost of construction was considerable, given that the surrounding land mainly comprised of soft peat and work on establishing solid foundations began in the early 1950’s. Throughout the construction period the design of the school and the social infrastructure of the local community was heavily influenced by church officials from Utah, until members of the church located across New Zealand also moved into the area. Many of the materials used in the construction of the commune’s buildings were locally sourced and a high number of Mormons from American, who were specialists in plumbing, mechanics, welding, painting, electrics and brick work travelled over to establish a communal way of life. Cultural influences of the immigrants are manifest as many of the buildings are based on typical American design ideals. Once in operation the secondary school located onsite taught New Zealand children and teenagers aged thirteen (year nine) to eighteen (year thirteen). In total 700 students attended the school and over 100 members of staff were employed in any given year. In 2007, however, the school ceased to accept new students, and by 2009 only 120 students attended the school and its number of staff members had been cut to 50. The school closed later that year. It is reported that a moderate tuition fee was in place, but the school received the majority of its funding from the church. Essentially, closure of the school can be attributed to the church who decided that the public schooling system offers quality education and it was unanimously agreed that a significant amount of money could be saved if the public system was utilised. Although certain parts of the commune still exist, primarily the temple, housing estate and farm lands, the school is set to be demolished, although part of the school is destined to be converted into a community centre. The medical centre and a significant number of the dormitories have already been demolished to the disappointment of many within the community. On an ironic note, the chairman of hearings commissioners pointed out that “it did not help that the motto of the Church College of New Zealand was ‘Built for Eternity’â€. Our Version of Events After our little escapade inside Hamilton Central Station, we travelled outside the city centre towards the Mormon community, unsure of the progress of demolition. A couple of the members of Urbex Central NZ had attempted this particular location earlier in the year, however, they were met by a large angry mob of Mormon followers who decided to hunt them down. Luckily, escape, albeit a rather wet one, was made possible through the old peat bogs behind the site. This time though, we caught them off guard and approached the site whilst they gathered inside their church for prayer time. Access was simply enough, and myself and Nillskill managed to step inside relatively silently. Zort, on the other hand… … As I had my back to him while he entered, I thought he’d jumped through the solid glass window next to our entry point. The sound was unbelievable; something like a thousand glass bottles all shattering at the same time. Quickly deducing that we’d most likely been heard we raced on inside to gather as many photographs as possible. As it turned out, however, it seems our incredibly loud entrance fell on deaf ears; perhaps they’d reached the singing bit of their service? We were lucky in this respect too, because the site was huge. We spent hours navigating the many corridors and the various rooms and facilities Church College of New Zealand had to offer. Our last close encounter with the Mormons occurred as we wandered through the ground floor of library, and a car drove past the window as we were all stood staring back. Somehow, we weren’t noticed…? As we left the commune we decided, for one last venture, to drive through their housing estate and past the church; where the service was still in full swing. This time they noticed us and, as we drove past extremely slowly, every one of them stared out at us from inside. Cultic activity, it would seem, is a bit disconcerting. Explored with Nillskill and the ninja-like Zort. Apologies for the pic-heavy report. As I stated previously, the site was incredibly big… 1: Outside view of Church College of New Zealand 2: Sports stands 3: PE Department male toilets 4: PE Department male changing room 5: Pectoral machine in the former gym 6: More gym machines 7: Leg machine 8: Gas lanterns for outdoor education 9: Sports equipment and dreaded spare kit 10: Swimming pool 11: Swimming pool viewing area and offices 12: A view of the pool from the viewing stands 13: The main sports hall 14: The main sports hall rear view 15: Scoreboard 16: Main stage in assembly hall 17: Large piano in assembly hall 18: From the rear of the assembly hall 19: The projection room above the assembly hall 20: The upper stands in the assembly hall 21: The scaffolding and ropes for the stage 22: Inside the large organ in the assembly hall 23: The costume and props room (backstage) 24: Ping pong tables in entrance area 25: Cleaning Device 26: Service Posters 27: Traditional school projector 28: The board of awards 29: The counsellors office 30: The TV room
  15. History In 1880 the Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports Co Ltd. purchased 10 acres of land within an area known as the Lancaster Estate, for £2,841 (approximately £260 per acre). By 1905, however, the Canterbury Cricket Association became the sole owners of the grounds and remained so until 1911, when they once again became co-owners, this time with the Canterbury Rugby Union. Regardless, in 1919 parliament assumed control over the grounds and established the Victory Park Board to manage and undertake responsibility for its management. This change in ownership was principally a result of WW1 which left the club in severe financial difficulty, to such an extent that parts of the grounds were ploughed to farm potatoes in the hope that they would help raise funds to support the continued survival of the club. Nevertheless, under the management of the government the site was developed extensively over the subsequent years and the stands were constructed to hold a capacity of approximately 33,000. In 1995 an additional corporate stand was also constructed and fully completed. It wasn't until 1999 that the stadium moved from the Victory Park Board into the hands of JADE Stadium Limited, a company which was established to take over management of the facilities. Once again the stadium was developed further, increasing the overall capacity to roughly 38,500. The final redevelopments occurred in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, at a cost of $60 million, and the capacity was raised to 43,000. If the grounds had been fully completed it would have been the second largest stadium in New Zealand; second to Eden Park in Auckland. A final detail, for those wondering about the conflicting signs - indicative of a name entirely different to the 'Jade Stadium - in its final years, through sponsorship rights with AMI Insurance Limited, the facility briefly became known as AMI Stadium. Although it was primarily a rugby and cricket ground, over the years the stadium operated it has hosted a number of significant events ranging from various sporting events to a variety of concerts; Bon Jovi, Roger Walters, Meat Loaf, Tina Turner, U2, Dire Straits and Billy Joel, to name but a few. As the situation stands now, although the council had the stadium insured for $140 million, discussions are currently ongoing as the insurance company and engineers argue that the structure can be fully repaired and strengthened. The council suggest that it is uneconomical to fix the existing facility due to the extent of the damage in the land and surrounding stands. Our Version of Events And there we were, travelling through Christchurch, staring at the surroundings incredulously when we stumbled across AMI Stadium. Against the rest of the destruction this particular site stood superficially solid in its appearance, as something that should have been representative of a dominant symbol in a city aspiring to prosper. As we moved in for a closer look it was clear that the stadium had suffered a similar fate to the rest of the city, as the cracks within its frame suddenly became blatantly visible to the eye. Going along with the spontaneity of the moment we decided, contrary to the cameras and secca in the area, that we'd attempt to get into the stadium and absorb the magnificent views of the stands and former centre pitch. We were right in our decision to attempt it as the views and atmosphere inside the monolith were arresting. This is perhaps the only time I've sat in a stadium and taken in absolute silence, inciting a feeling that's a conflicting mix between fact and fantasy. Explored with Nillskill. 1: The AMI Stadium from The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament 2: Access way to the pitch 3: AMI Stadium sponsorship sign 4: The bush on the pitch 5: Pitch maintenance vehicle 6: Walkway outside of stands 7: Express food and drink 8: Door twenty-four 9: Top floor walkway 10: The AMI Stadium overview 11: One hell of a lot of seats 12: The stadium and beyond 13: A view inside the restroom 14: Up on the lighting scaffolding 15: Lighting walkway 16: Lighting ladder (to the top) 17: Capturing a whole stand 18: The way out 19: Stands A-G 20: Seating with old barrier 21: Old turnstiles 22: Emergency equipment 23: The AMI Stadium stands 24: The rear stand 25: McDonalds sponsorship sign 26: Outside view of AMI Stadium
  16. History Legend has it that at an infamous junction, “you turned right to Tokanui if you were mad, and left to Waikeria [prison] if you were bad’. Neither, though, were desirable destinationsâ€. Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital opened its doors in July, 1912 and operated up until 1998. The site is located fourteen kilometres from Te Awamutu, New Zealand. In the beginning, the site was entirely self-sufficient as it included its own facilities; a farm, clothing manufacturers, laundry rooms and onsite accommodation – to name but a few. The hospital had capacity for over one thousand patients; the majority of whom came from areas such as Wellington, Porirua and New Plymouth. By the 1980’s, however, New Zealanders’ attitudes to healthcare underwent a shift towards deinstitutionalization, moving instead towards ‘community care’, and accordingly the large psychiatric sites were gradually mothballed. A number of medical practitioners travelled over to the UK during this time, to evaluate the measures being implemented in place of out-of-date practices. Even during these times, though, attitudes to such changes in the UK were heavily opposed for a significant period of time. New Zealanders’ mind-sets were also divided, especially in view of the fact that many patients had spent the majority of their lives at institutions, to the extent that these sites had effectively become their homes. On the other hand, there were many patients who had been admitted to these institutions under more forcible circumstances and they often developed clinical depression, anxieties and OCD as a consequence. Many simply felt isolated from their friends and families; many found it difficult to maintain contact due to the considerable distances between cities in New Zealand. Fortunately, for those who required continuing care, The Hospital Board had ring-fenced a financial allowance to make revised provision; principally for those who were intellectually disabled and chronically mentally ill. As regards the hospital’s past, it is reported that many claims of child abuse have arisen since its closure, insofar that people have been horrified by some of the stories which have emerged. Nevertheless, people are being encouraged to speak out against the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that occurred, so communities can acknowledge what happened and learn from the irreversible effects of such mistreatment. Since its closure, Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital has remained, for the most part, intact despite some minor demolition of staff facilities. Many of the buildings are now considered too dangerous to enter owing to large amounts of asbestos being contained inside. A memorial stone now lies at the site of the former cemetery, where over five hundred Maori and European patients are buried. The cemetery was decommissioned in 1968 and patients were instead given pauper graves at the Te Awamutu general cemetery. The farm continues to operate and is currently owned by the Ministry of Agriculture. Some metal theft has occurred, unsurprisingly, but a good proportion of the medical equipment had found use elsewhere. Even so, the site is still patrolled around the clock by Waikato Security Services. Our Version of Events After spending a pleasant night parked up by a lake in the middle of nowhere, because someone insisted on sleeping in a hammock which allegedly required two trees to be specifically set apart by a certain distance, we arose early to continue on to Tokanui – which is also positioned in another bit of New Zealand’s ‘middle of nowhere’ region. For some reason, despite being in an environment that’s certainly not short on trees, we spent half the night driving to find two. Needless to say, the ones we did find were two fine specimens indeed. The next morning our problems weren’t over though, for just as we were set to move on it became evident that the car battery had decided it was all at once incapable of holding any power; not good when you’re in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, as we kept calm and carried on, we managed to jump-start the car. Onwards we proceeded! Upon arrival it was decided that we would take the long route onto the site, on account of the 24 hour secca onsite. We managed to get into Tokanui without any problems and set about exploring as much as we could fit in; ducking and taking cover occasionally as the security made their rounds. Unfortunately, while there is a morgue located in one of the buildings, we deduced that it was inside the one with the security guard HQ point outside. Rather than spending all morning and afternoon trying to get inside we decided collectively to move on to other explores that lie waiting. Although this is a good explore, there’s an overshadowing sense of sadness to the place; one that I’m unable to elucidate on. Explored with Nillskill, Zort and Dylan. 1: Outdoor seating 2: The shit's sinking fast 3: The jungle corridor 4: Mouldy bathroom 5: Mattressless bed 6: Isolation rooms 7: A bed in transit 8: Control panel 9: Raised bathtub 10: Leftover paper towels 11: The room with a leak 12: Ward control panel 13: The grim corridor 14: The silver sink 15: Old x-rays 16: The body room 17: Lowered bathtub 18: Hospital 'extract from bathing rules' 19: Facing the future together poster 20: Overlooked mould problem 21: The swimming pool 22: The learner pool? 23: Rear view of the pool area 24: A view of Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital 25: Looking for security
  17. History The Dolls House Strip Bar, as the name likely suggests, was a former strip club based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following the earthquakes in 2011 the club was closed, due to the considerable structural damaged of the Chancery Complex in which it is located. The club was reportedly a popular venue, particularly for businessmen travelling through the city on alleged ‘work related trips’, and the female performers regularly received positive commentary and good reviews. In its final years though, the clubs reputation was blighted as the idea of a strip club in that vicinity was ill-received by some of the local populace. It also circulated that the club had close ties to the main local gang in Christchurch, and it soon became associated with various incidents in connection with drugs and regular episodes of violence. It would appear that the club was raided by police at some point in its history. Notwithstanding, originally, before being re-themed, the venue was known as the The Palladium Niteclub which opened in 1986, and soon after it became one of the biggest and most popular nightclubs in Christchurch. It was also the first club in the city to offer a full laser light-show. Over the subsequent years the nightclub played host to many popular DJs and bands, including Simple Minds; although they didn’t stage a performance, they simply enjoyed the venue after hosting their own gig. The Palladium Niteclub operated up until 2000, when it was leased temporarily to a different owner and thereafter re-branded as a club named ‘Illusions’. Due to later financial difficulties the lease was terminated and sold to David Henderson; the man behind the rise of ‘The Dolls House’. Since the earthquakes no-one has been permitted entry to the premises and consequently it has been subject to looting and numerous robbery attempts. Although many of the original objects and features remain the damage is materially noticeable. Our Version of Events After having traveled across New Zealand to witness an old asylum we reentered Christchurch very much in the need of some well earned entertainment and pleasure. What then seemed better than a former strip club? We actually stumbled across this site accidentally though, whilst attempting to enter an alternative site. It certainly didn’t disappoint by any means, and we were pretty stunned to have uncovered it. Inside we found various remnants of the strip clubs earlier history; including poles, stilettos, controversial props and lots of different styles of underwear. Being very careful not to touch anything, and after borrowing the leftover hand sanitiser, we proceeded to explore the nightclub inside and out. One of the most surprising finds was the ‘secret panel’ which opened up to reveal a very convenient little space, just out of sight of everyone enjoying the other entertainment elsewhere. What could possibly have gone on in there remains a mystery… Unfortunately, as you’d probably expect, the former nightclub was pitch black (and that’s an understatement), so the photos are by no means of the best quality. Explored with Nillskill. 1: The Dolls House sign 2: Stage floor with poles 3: Stage floor and lighting system 4: Stage floor with bar in the background 5: Old mannequin 6: Dressing room 7: Food bar and pool table 8: Condoms 9: Former wall decor 10: Leftover vouchers 11: Table/booth with orchid and bottled water 12: Seating (the 'secret room' was behind the wall with the city wallpaper) 13: DJ booth 14: Stiletto
  18. A year ago I was in Alps, and we found a pretty place lost in the mountains. It was near Innsbruck in a tiny town, I even don't remember it's name. This town consists of hotels of any kind, no homes but only hotels because it's the area for skiing and climbing. And the last hotel in the town is abandoned. It stays on a bank of very noisy and icy mountain brook in full silence and darkness. This beautiful hotel was abandoned in 1994, the reason is unknown. The building itself is quite strong, not very modern but still. In 1,5 km from here is a skiing base. It's an ideal place for a hotel, but Schneeweiss stays abandoned. There's something mistical in these photos because some people on them are probably dead now... A gloomy lonely place lost in beautiful mountains.
  19. Here are some shots from my Luxenburg trip in oct. 2014 its a verry tiny house with some nice details 1. The livingroom 2.just a calm place 3. Dining corner 4. livingroom 2
  20. Hi guys... Here is something absolutly disgusting... but it's a must see ! Some dead babies kept in formalin since more than hundred years ! One of the craziest places I've ever visited ! - 1 - - 2 - - 3 - - 4 - - 5 -
  21. Hi explorers, One of the most surprising locations I have been was Maison Kirsch in Luxembourg... It is already a quite old urbex location, but we gave it a try begin 2015 ... And it was actually a very nice fun location! Still a lot of details and not very much was trashed.... Hope you liked my little tour in Maison Kirsch and please leave some comments if you liked it.. also check my flickr if you like ... https://flickr.com/marco18678 Happy exploring and talk to you guys / girls later!! Marco
  22. I done my first before and after shot this weekend, only because I saw an old pic after I visited the angle is miles off but I know some people love this type of stuff.............................. so lets have em !!!! Really looking forward to a thread full of awesome stuff The Baron
  23. Triumph Mayflower from 1953. Built with love, used as taxi. 01 02 03
  24. Lost in nature; a fishing ship. 01 02 03