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  1. History The Odeon Cinema in Harlow, designed by T. P. Bennett & Son, was constructed in 1959. It opened on 1st February 1960 and in doing so became the first cinema to be built for the Rank Organisation (a British entertainment conglomerate) after the Second World War. The cinema originally had 1,244 seats and featured a stepped raised section at the rear, rather than the traditional overhanging balcony; a design style that had initially been common throughout the UK in both theatres and cinema houses. The projection suite was positioned above the raised section of seating and had an almost level throw to the large screen in front. The cinema closed in 1987 for refurbishment and expansion plans to be carried out. The venue was converted so that it could feature three screens and increase its overall capacity. The raised section at the back was converted into two separate smaller cinema rooms, while the ground floor, which retained the original box and screen, was kept as a larger screen room. No further work was carried out on the cinema until 2001, when the venue was rebranded to follow the new Odeon style. Only minor stylistic changes were made throughout the building. Despite growing competition in and around the local area, as larger modern multiplex screens were opened, the Odeon in Harlow managed to survive until August 2005. Nevertheless, owing to the rapidly declining number of visitors the venue was forced to close as it was no longer economically viable to run. Although it was purchased almost immediately after closure, the premises has remained abandoned since the year it closed. Our Version of Events After hearing that the old Harlow Odeon was once again doable, we decided to head over that way while we happened to be south of the border.As rumour had it, the main cinema rooms were said to still be largely intact in terms of how vandalised they were. When we first arrived, though, we thought we’d made a terrible mistake. The building looked tiny from the outside, and incredibly plain. What made things worse was that we’d managed to time getting out of the car with a freak torrential downpour, so we got fucking soaked. We made the classic mistake, unlike those quintessential British individuals out there, in that we forgot to bring a brolly with us. With there being no obvious way of getting inside initially, we were forced to take shelter for a while beneath a grotty bus stop that was obviously a popular chav haunt. There were that many empty bottles of White Lightening around us, and green gozzies on the pavement, it should have been done out in Burberry Tartan. But, the upside to seeking shelter was that we had time to think about how we might get inside the cinema. So, after a bit of creative thinking we came up with an elaborate-ish plan to access the premises. All we can say is that it’s a good job it was still raining because we were pretty damn visible getting in the way we did. Once inside we quickly discovered that the rumours seemed to be true. All around us there was a distinct lack of graffiti and still plenty of ‘stuff’ lying around to satisfy our bizarre fascination for dusty things. We quickly dried ourselves off as best as possible and then proceeded to get the cameras out. The only disappointing thing about the place at this point was the noticeable number of dead pigeons scattered around the room. It looked as though there has been an epic pigeon battle with very few survivors. There were enough skeletons to rival the Catacombs of Paris, albeit these take up much less room. Some were still fairly squishy too, as I discovered when one of my tripod legs accidently went through one of the poor bastards. Getting it off again was another issue, but we won’t go there. Anyway, despite the pigeon problem we cracked on and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves among three large-ish screen rooms. Each of them are in various states of decay, but if anything this makes them all the more photogenic – if you manage to light the fuckers up that is! That certainly wasn’t an easy task. What made it even more difficult were the surviving kamikaze pigeons that seemed determined to challenge our presence in the cinema. These must have been the victorious ones from the carnage we found earlier. Nevertheless, despite the pigeons there was still a powerful feeling as we stood amongst hundreds of empty seats. The room was silent, except for the odd flap of wings. All those empty eyes were looking ahead, all facing the same direction, mindless in their long wait for the show to begin. Perhaps it was the previous evenings beer and whiskies still talking, but this got us thinking. We were creating new images of a place – one that used to display images to wide audiences who each had their own discrete image (apparently) – whose own image was built entirely around images. Out of all those images, then, was there anything real about any of the images this building has accommodated? Or are they all just for the point of satisfying those empty eyes and minds? Absolutely fucking baffled with our own bullshit, we promptly decided to drop the topic and go check if the lights still worked. If anything, they would offer us some sort of clarity… We concluded our wander around the Odeon with a quick look at the main entrance area which was by far the most fucked part of the building. Our search for the light switches had brought us here. Despite our initial disappointment at the state of this part of the building, we did in fact find the light switch room where we discovered that the power was still turned on. Obviously, an occasion like this called for us to turn all the switches on and run around the building to see which lights were working. It was like Durham Palladium all over again! Without the risk of falling through the floorboards of course. This kept us occupied for a good fifteen minutes or so. After that, though, we decided to switch everything off and make our escape to continue with our day of intrepid exploring… Or not. As it turned out, we didn’t end up getting into anything else, so by the evening we found ourselves back in the company of a fine single malt. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25:
  2. This was my 1st ever explore. Not sure what the history of the building is or anything unfortunately as it was my wife that suggested going here together (she is so romantic lol). I'm sure this has been done soooooo many times by anyone that lives in the area but I'm really pleased at the photos I got of this place (I took about 200 in total!). I've also done some really nice edits too
  3. Found a hole in the ground in Harlow!! Local rumors say that there was a Cold War bunker under the town and there is even a small mention on Subbrit "As well as county and county borough controls, counties could establish county sub-controls as a level between the districts and county to assist in the life saving operations and to provide communications. In this way Essex that formed part of Sub Region 4.2 with its SRC at the old Kelvedon Hatch bunker (the other SRCs for Eastern Region were at Hertford and Bawburgh) had its County Control in Chelmsford. Below this were 4 county sub controls at Mistley, Chelmsford, Billericay and Harlow each of which linked between 6 and 10 urban and rural districts" Could this be an emergency exit from the bunker?? Who knows???
  4. Parndon Hall is a LIVE non public site and currently houses the Princess Alexandra Hospital medical library for student medical staff, doctors and consultants. _______________________________________________ In the North West corner of the Princess Alexandra Hospital site in Harlow, amongst tall magnificent trees, stands Parndon Hall, an Itailianate redbrick mansion with Portland stone dressings Parndon Hall was built in 1867 for Loftus Wigram Arkwright (Great Grandson of Sir Richard Arkwright, who invented the first powered mechinism for spinning cotton) The Arkwrights had been major land owners in Harlow since the early 1800's In 1864 Loftus Arkwright inherited the estate of Parndon from his father, the Rev Joseph Arkwright and commisioned the diocesan arcitect Joseph Clark to design Parndon Hall, the building was finished in 1867 and Loftus moved in with his 29 year old wife Elizabeth (nee Elizabeth Reynolds, a renowned and talented horsewoman and artist) Parndon Hall is now a Grade II listed building, the main feature of the house is the massive oak staircase featuring turned balusters and finaled newels. The ceilings, walls and doors have brightly coloured decorative scenes painted by Elizabeth Arkwright who in a sense leaves a much larger impression of the house that her husband. The accomplished paintings by Elizabeth imply that she had received good artistic training and used the latest oil paints in vivid colours Elizabeth was an large but energetic woman who would enjoy riding out with the hunt and return to Parndon all to be hauled up on scaffolding to continue her painting. Many of her larger art works have recently come to auction internationally. Loftus also loved the outdoor life and became Master of the Hunt and a JP, after a riding accident in Epping Forest in 1868 left him paralysed he continued to follow the hunt in a phaeton. By 1879 he employed 40 gamekeepers alone but his fortunes soon ended and rents on his land which were tied to the price of grain fell after poor harvests and cheap imports and by 1881 he had 250 acres of farmland worked by only 12 men and 3 boys Loftus Arkwright died in 1889 and Elizabeth died a year later aged 57 and the estate was inherited by their only son Loftus Joseph, but by this time the family fortune was dwindling and Loftus Jnr moved into the farmhouse and economised by renting out Parndon Hall and Mark Hall (the second Arkwright residence) Then in 1894 he married Julia Caldwell and they had 3 sons (another Loftus, John and Godfrey) they then moved back into the family home at Parndon Hall. By 1903 Loftus Jnr was truly back on his feet and brought the estates and manor of Netteswell in Harlow and formed Mark Hall Estates Co. with 5,000 acres. But his happiness was not to last and in 1912 Julia divorced him, testifying in court that her husband had affairs with the servants and was physically violent towards her. After Julia left him taking his sons, Loftus became a recluse and eccentric. His housekeeper would wheel his meals from the kitchen in a pram and the disrepair of the house was such that rainwater had to be caught in tin bath. Loftus died in 1950 but not before two of his sons had met with tragedy, John had been a commander in the Royal Navy and was killed in action when his ship the HMS Avenger was destroyed by a German U-Boat in 1942 and Loftus (Jnr Jnr) had owned a garage in Kensal Rd, London, but sometime before his mothers Julia's death in 1933 he disappeared. He was lat heard of driving recklessly and over the speed limit late at night in London and no more has ever been heard of him. This left his surviving son Godfrey Arkwright to inherit Parndon Hall The paintings were whitewashed over sometime in the 1890's the reason is not clear, possibly because Julia Arkwright disapproved of the nude figures or possibly that renting out the house, Loftus needed to cover up the nudes. Whatever the reason the painting were not rediscovered until after the Second World War, some paintings in the entrance hall are still hidden behind the white paint After the Second World War, the Harlow New Town Corporation was formed in 1947 to house the London overspill. It started purchasing land around the old villages of (Old) Harlow, Latton, Great Parndon and Netteswell. The Corporation compulsory purchased Parndon Hall and all of its land. Godfrey was now unable to enjoy his inheritance and reluctantly moved out of his family home in September 1952 only to die a year later. In 1954 Parndon Hall became and independent boarding school for deprived boys and girls and was run by a Mrs Katherine "Kitty Clare JP and in 1970 Princess Alexandra Hospital brought the freehold Planning permission has been granted for the conversion of Parndon Hall into 9 apartments
  5. Well, I'm not ACTUALLY grounded, she's just said "Stay near to home, with the new baby and all", so I went back to Nortel AGAIN!!!, but I did do the 50% of this massive site that I missed before!!! Splored with Skeleton Key, UrbanX and Mad Axe Listening Rooms - The triangular foam shapes reflect noise,
  6. I had visited this site a week earlier but was thwarted in our attempt to do the roof by a persistent sec in a white van viewtopic.php?t=1877&f=9 So it was a revisit, this time there were four of us, Myself, Skeleton Key, UrbanX and Mad Axe, a great explore rounded off with a nice pint!!! It's always nice being on the other side of the cameras The rooftop plant rooms Building 2
  7. Nortel acquired the Harlow laboratories, originally Standard Telecommunications Laboratories, in 1991 and continued to use the site for research and development in wireless telecommunication technologies. It was the site of Charles Kao's research in fibre optic communications - Charles Kao was known as "The Godfather of Broadband" and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009. The inventions and technology invented by Nortel include 1882 manufactures the first telephone switchboard 1922 Invented the vacuum repeater tube without which, long distance telephone calls would not have been possible 2001 Installing the world's first commercial 3G (UMTS) wireless network The Queen visits Nortel Harlow in 1971 Nortel started shedding jobs in 2002 and have now moved out of town. Half of this massive site is now taken over by various companies that lease floorspace but a huge chunk of it sits derelict Visited as usual with Skeleton Key
  8. Kingsmoor House is a Grade II* listed 18th century coach house with 19th century additions In 2006 planning permission was granted to convert the building into 9 apartments, but this has never happened and now the place is slowly decaying Taken from "The History of Harlow (H.D.C. 1969) It was at this time, about the middle of the 18th century, that a new property at Parndon came into prominence. Kingsmoor House was never a manor and it's origin is obscure, but by the 18th century it had become a considerable residence with well disposed grounds, standing on a light elevation above the common. Here was the home of the Risden family, and of a branch of the Houblon family. It was later purchased by Mr Todhunter who is commemorated in the stained glass windows in St Mary's Church (Gt Parndon). Later it was used as a private school. Kingsmoor House in 1970, it was owned by Harlow Council and held various clubs and community classes including a pre school. Up to the attic to the servants quarters
  9. Cold War AA Gun Emplacements Just outside Harlow on the Herts/Essex border sits this Anti Aircraft gun emplacement, this was the second trip out this weekend with the kids and their Grandad The site consists of four 3.7 inch AA gun emplacements each with ammunition recesses and integral shelters. Sat just back from the AA guns was the Generator block and several hundred yards further down the concrete road sits the Operations Block The site was built in the early1950's and ended it's life in 1958 when jet aircraft and surface to air missiles took over their role. 3.7 Anti Aircraft Guns The site. Top right are the four AA gun emplacements, follow the road to the top left and you find the Generator Block and further on around the corner is the Operations Block The Gun Emplacements The Generator Block The Operations Block As usual, thanks for taking the time Neil
  10. Gilbeys have been making spirits in Harlow since the 1960's at one time all the Malibu in the world was made in Harlow. The company have closed bit by bit over the years and this was their offices in Harlow.
  11. Nortel acquired the Harlow laboratories, originally Standard Telecommunications Laboratories, in 1991 and continued to use the site for research and development in wireless telecommunication technologies. It was the site of Charles Kao's research in fibre optic communications. This is their employees sports and social club The Nortel Sports Club trophy cabinet, very similar to the Arsenal trophy cabinet due to the fact that they are both empty!!!
  12. Have been meaning to go and have a look at these houses for quite a while now and today I could put it off no longer There are 3 derelict houses on this plot of land, Fair Croft and two smaller houses called Little Bays and West View Fair Croft got its name from the site of an annual medieval fair which was granted on this land in 1218 In more recent times the house was divided up into small flats which were used as temporary council accommodation. Seven portacabin homes were also built in the grounds to provide more temporary housing. In March 2010 Harlow Council approved planning permission for Moat Homes to build 43 homes (12 affordable, whatever that means!!) on the land despite letters of protest from neighboring houses. The whole place is generally trashed and the chavs have been in making it quite a disappointment, but I felt the need to explore it before the builders move in. Artsits impression of new housing Fair Croft Little Bays West View The Interior of Fair Croft Thanks for looking
  13. This is the construction of the NEW Passmores School in Harlow The old Passmores school still sits on a completely different site about 2 miles away. This new school was built on the site of the demolished Brays Grove School, so why didn't they just call the new school Brays Grove? Who knows, it's how we do things in Harlow. This is what the website e-architect had to say about it..... "Jestico + Whiles, with contractors Willmott Dixon, have secured planning consent for a new £23m building for Passmores School and Technology College in Harlow, Essex. The school, for Essex County Council, will accommodate 1200 students, in six learning areas. The two-storey radial design, conceived in response to the ethos of the school, has a gathering place at its heart. It will provide an excellent and flexible learning environment for the future." Explored with Skeleton Key Artists Impression The Roof, (I Love A Roof!!!) Thanks for taking the time
  14. Fancied an explore today, but had so little time. So it was an express 45 minute visit to a site just across town. Hanson Aggregates supplied ready mixed concrete and closed it's gates only last year. Can you guess what's in the secret store???? No site canteen is complete without a vintage 1970's porn mag
  15. Joseph Rank House is the tallest building in Harlow at a height of 151 ft (46m) Once a headquarters for Rank, Hovis Mc Dougal (The bread makers) it is under now construction to turn it into 132 flats This was my first ever roof and I chose the windiest night of the year so far to visit, the guy on the weather just said that gusts of 85 m.p.h. have been measured, and it felt like it up there!!! Thanks for taking the time
  16. This was the first new cinema to be built by Rank after WW II It opened on 1st February 1960 with the film "Follow A Star" starring Norman wisdom and John Le Mesurier. Designed by T.P.Bennet, it had 1244 seats on a single floor in a sloping stadium style and the projector was suspended above the rear stalls almost level to the screen In June 1987 it closed and the rear stalls were converted into two smaller cinemas while the main cinema retained the original screen The cinema struggled to compete with the new six screen multiplex which opened in 1990 and it finally closed its doors in August 2005 The Odeon 1961 and in 1974 _________________________________________________________________________ The power inside is now off so it was flash only I'm afraid I know that a few people have been in here but the old access point is now firmly and permanently sealed due to somebody leaving it in a right old state. Access is now akin to a scene from "The Great Escape". Nuff said I liked this....... God these ticket girls are ugly!!!! I'm begining to realise that no report is complete without a piano!!! I made friends wth cuddly Kenny Everett, yep!!!! Sorry it was a little on the pic heavy side
  17. Now I do like derelict Cinemas, no idea why but they're always one of my favourite explores and this one was no exception. Visited this with Kent_urbex - cheers for driving, made a nice change After a couple of other fails, and a rather expensive food stop (don't ask) we decided to head up here as we were pretty sure we would be successful. Cheers to Trogolodyte from 28dl for some help It's a reasonable size cinema, 3 screens which would have origenally been one big screen, but they chopped the corners off the back to make 2 additional smaller ones, leaving quite an odd shaped screen 1. The projector room for this place was pretty big, and all the lights worked as well which made a nice change. I couldn't get the lights working in the screens thou, no matter how many switches I turned on! The Reception Desk Refreshments Screen 1 - excuse the cobwebs, there were loads of them everywhere. Must be some big spiders living in that place somewhere, not a good explore for you Frosty Shows how they trippled it, leaving a long corridor bit at the back, which they even stuffed some seats into. I don't think it would have been very nice to watch a film from those seats at the back. Screen 2 and 3 were practically identical to each other Screen 3 Projector Room. This was the highlight really. Even though there weren't any projectors left, just the stands, there was one lamp unit on the floor, very heavy thing to lift thou so we left it where it was. Loads of little bits and pieces lying around up here. And that's it really. There were offices and a staff room etc. but they're pretty boring to photograph, so I didn't bother. Thanks for looking. M