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  1. Walkergate Hospital in Newcastle opened in the 1880's, it was originally a hospital for infectious diseases. During the First World War injured soldiers who were sent home were temporarily housed in the two pavilions at the east end of the site, these were demolished in 1979. In the Second World War the hospital fell victim to bombing. In more recent years the hospital had an ENT department, x-ray and a small theatre.. Various parts of the hospital closed over the years, with the announcement that the final two wards, that provided longer term palliative care for patients with chronic conditions and shorter term respite care, would close during the summer of 2011. The demo was already well underway when we visited. On with some pics Externals Internals
  2. History Heaton Traction Maintenance Depot is situated in Heaton, a residential suburb in the east end of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is located approximately two miles away from the East Coast Main Line. The shed was originally constructed by the North Eastern Railway (NER) in the mid-1800s, to house steam locomotives that mainly served a considerable section of local passenger traffic from the main line and the Heaton Marshalling Yards. Although Heaton was a busy depot, it was disliked by many of the train crews on account of the needs to pass through three tunnels; toxic smoke would enter the train cabs and this led to breathing difficulties in later life. This problem was resolved in 1905, however, when the railway was electrified. Following a period of rail nationalisation, which brought the ‘Big Four’ British railway companies together, the Heaton shed was taken over by British Railways in 1954. During this time the shed had ninety five locomotives assigned to it. It is believed that the shed featured in this report closed sometime in the late 1980s, owing to a rapid decline in locomotive hauled services. The shed did, however, remain in service through the 1990s to store non-operational coaching stock. By the early 2000s, the shed was disconnected from the mainline and is not cut off from the remainder of the working depot. Our Version of Events It was a gloomy afternoon as we pulled into a small, conveniently located, car park in Heaton. There was a petrol tanker parked nearby, emptying its load for the live maintenance depot. Doing our best to avoid being seen by the workers as we made our way towards the old depot, we slipped off into some nearby bushes. It took a bit of a climb to get into the site itself, but nothing too testing. At this point, we now found ourselves inside a dark overgrown compound. We walked up to the decaying remains of the shed and peered through one of the windows. Inside, we could see that nature had taken hold, as bushes and other plants gripped tightly to the old wooden walkways. Glancing down at the floor we could see some railway lines still in situ, protruding through the overgrowth. While there were no trains, which was a little disappointing, it looked as though there was still some evidence that an old depot existed here. After several minutes of faffing around, we found ourselves inside. Our only obstacle had been a flight of stairs, before we were suddenly greeted by a huge train depot that is completely overrun with wildlife. Although there wasn’t actually much there, it looked even more incredible from the inside. It was a pleasant walk down to the bottom end, ducking and diving between the platforms, and balancing unsteadily along the graffitied tracks. As we found the shed very photogenic, quite a lot of our time was spent in the main part of the building. There are a few other rooms worth checking out too; the most interesting being the boiler room and the shitters, which were surprisingly intact considering how long the place has been empty. A fleeting glance was all that was required for the last few rooms, they were pretty unexciting. At that stage, with the building completely covered, we made a stealthy walk back to the car. None of the workmen seemed to have batted an eyelid. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16:
  3. History Being a flood hazard every year in Newcastle Upton Tyne, several culverted sections of the Ouseburn have had major work done to them in recent years. Many of the smaller tributaries, such as the one in this report, have also had their flow diverted or restricted to prevent it from running straight into the Ouseburn during flash floods. The 2x4 wooden block on the inflow restricts all water flow, so only water is only able to enter underneath. It may seem counterproductive, however, as we have the feeling this tributary will never actually get 'full', or even reach up to knee depth. Originally, this culvert was a natural stream that ran through a small gully that would have been where an affluent urban district now lies. For many years, only a single stone bridge crossed the waterway, but as Newcastle began to expand in the 1800s much of it was culverted, to channel the water flow through a manmade stone tunnel. Our Version of Events After clambering over bicycle wheels, tyres, rocks and other local artefacts, we finally reached a large arched entrance. The entire arch was coated in a thick layer of moss, and very little water was flowing out. As we wandered inside, almost immediately we were greeted by a long, reasonably straight tunnel. There were a fair few pieces of rubble here and there; various bits of rock, stone and mortar. A little further in we were greeted by the 4.9ft ‘blue lagoon’; as we walked through a pool of water, the reflection of the plastic covering some reinforcement work that has been done gave it a blueish sort of tinge. In the middle of the ‘lagoon’ there is a vertical pipe leading to a manhole at street level, which was placed there back in 2007. After the ‘blue lagoon’ we were greeted by steel beams, which we believe are for reinforcement of the older parts of the tunnel; we could say, given that some of it was built around 200 years ago, it’s getting on a bit. As we made more progress into the next section the maximum head reaches around 4ft, so by this point the legs were aching pretty badly. Quite soon after, though, the structure of the tunnel changes to circular brick work, with a bit of a shallow gully to walk in. After following a few bends here and there we were greeted by a long straight stretch, with what looks in the distance to be light. However, after burning 500 calories walking towards it, we soon discovered that it wasn’t light at all, it was a very fresh smelling 2x4 timber structure; plonked right on the inflow to block torrents of water when it rains heavily. With nowhere to go that was that, we turned around and walked all the way back to the beginning. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  4. History The Ouseburn Culvert provides an interesting counterpoint to the nearby Victoria Tunnel, for while the latter was described during the Second World War as the worst air raid shelter in Britain, the Ouseburn Culvert was considered by some one of the best, thanks to its dryness, facilities, the sense of camaraderie due to its size, and of course the level of protection afforded. It was also one of the few shelters in the country where no one would have noticed if the chemical toilets were a little ripe. It had come into being in the first decade of the 20th century when the city fathers of Newcastle culverted the Ouseburn stream and then proceeded to bury the 655m long Hennebique ferro-concrete tunnel with a covering of industrial waste and spoil to improve cross-city access. Building work started in 1907 and was completed in 1911 at a cost of £23,000. The original idea was that it would take ten years to fill the 30m deep dene which would then be built upon, but by the 1940s it was still not full and plans changed, and the new City Stadium was built on it instead. The two tunnels were built in very different ways. The Victoria Tunnel was bored in shorter sections between sunken vertical shafts which were then backfilled, while the 9m wide by 6m high elliptical culvert was built in the open and then covered over. Construction photographs from 1907 on show first the timber formwork and then the tunnel being built in a steep banked valley. In 1939 the culvert was converted into a shelter for 3000 people for £11,000, just under half the cost of its initial construction. The work included the construction of a concrete platform floor a little above stream level. The finished shelter would have been incomparably drier than the Victoria Tunnel and the background sewer smell one notices today would at the time have had competition from other shelter aromas. Its size and dryness allowed a wider range of communal facilities such as a canteen, sick bay, library, wardens’ offices, a stage for musical events, a youth club and space for church services. An unusual dispute arose between the canteen operator and the Council over his unwillingness to pay for the electricity he was using. Resolution was achieved when he agreed to lower his charges for tea and other hot drinks and sandwiches (a bargain at 1½d for a cup of tea and 2½d each for cocoa, coffee and sandwiches). Interesting remains from the wartime period are the shelter bay numbers painted on the walls, and glass “tell-tales” fixed across roof cracks with wartime dates inscribed on the mortar. The latter show that it was being regularly monitored to ensure its safety, and may have been placed there in 1941 after a fracture 30m long was found, possibly caused by bomb impacts on parts of the city above. Our Version of Events Once again we found ourselves wandering along a river, but eventually we reached a nice dirty outflow; precisely the one we’d been looking for. Unfortunately, owing to the amount of rain we’ve had recently, it was a bit of a welly breacher, so we quickly hopped up onto the side platform. At first glances, the beginning of the culvert looked quite scruffy and chaotic, it was a little disappointing. Once inside, there are a few parallel tunnels situated on a lower level, and above there is a raised platform to walk on; all contained in an A-frame-styled type of structure with a few blast walls in-between. The tunnel has various different sections throughout; lowered and raised, with plenty of ankle breaking type holes in the floor to watch out for. Occasionally you encounter a few manholes where you are able to view the culvert flowing beneath your feet. The metal girder section mid-way offers quite a nice view; I believe this is underneath quite a busy road. It is a shame there is nothing left from the WW2 era, it resides mainly as an empty shell now. But, the tunnel doesn't seem to have lost much structural integrity, it looks to have been a fine place seek shelter during the war. I have no doubt that it would probably be used today if a war broke out. Although, it’s probably not nuclear-proof… Towards the end the smell of fresh is real, and it has quite a strange culmination: a few manhole steps implanted into a brick wall that leads towards the ceiling and an open square opening. Through the hole there is a small room full of absolute shit – mainly spray cans and needles. It was no surprise that at this point we encountered two hipster 'taggers', who made a hasty exit after we interrupted their activities. There is also a series of manhole steps leading to another manhole at the Ouseburn inflow, however, we did not photograph this as we were feeling quite high off of the fumes at this point. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13:
  5. History The Newgate building, located in Newcastle City Centre was built in the early 1900’s. The Grade II listed structure, with its twin towers, ornate clock faces, sweeping curves and large windows, is a famous landmark in the city. After the 1901 site was redeveloped in 1932, it functioned as a popular shopping destination, insofar as it was considered to have been one of the most elegant venues in Newcastle for many years. In addition to the shopping areas, the building also boasted having a four room dance suite which accommodated various events ranging from cabaret nights, ballroom dancing, dance auditions, wedding receptions, corporate functions and Christmas parties. Marian, aged 76, a former sorter from 1950-56, in an interview with the Newcastle Chronicle newspaper, suggested that “it was a marvellous place to work, there was no bickering, no back-biting and if you were behind with your work people would always come and help you outâ€. In later years the entire site was best recognised as ‘the Co-op building’ since there was a large Co-op located inside. The Newgate Building closed in December 2011, to make way for a new major leisure development, a six story hotel, restaurants and a gym complex. Initially, when plans were being drawn to renovate the area in 2007, the building was estimated to be worth £25 million, however, it was eventually sold for £12 million after property prices plummeted. The Gate, which is next door to the Newgate building, was constructed in the early 2000’s and was opened on 28th November 2002. It cost approximately £80 million and was built by Land Securities. The venue is a large retail and leisure complex spread across three floors. It includes a 16 screen cinema, a casino, and a number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. In 2010, Jamie Ritblat’s property company, Delancey purchased The Gate as part of a £900 million package of properties from the PropInvest Group. In 2012, however, it was sold to the Crown Estate for £60 million. Our Version of Events After our success in Charlton Bonds the sun was already rising and the start of a new day was already upon us. So, since the sun was up, we made a unanimous decision to skip the usual bedtime routine and crack on with something else. Next then, we came across the old Co-op building with its famous towers and, despite the lack of scaffolding, we managed to find a way inside. We were soon enjoying the early sunrise across Newcastle City Centre from up top. It was, however, quite surprisingly – since it is June after all, fairly chilly up on top; there was even a decent layer of ice on the roof. Even so, after grabbing a few shots of the towers and the surrounding bits of city, it wasn’t long before we decided to skate over to The Gate rooftop, which can be access from up there, to have a look at the view from a different angle. By now the darkness had completely disappeared, but it was worth it to see the early morning clouds roll into the city over the bridges. Just as it was time to leave, after having spent a fair bit of time up there, we realised that we’d not actually been on top of either of the towers. So, before leaving we set off in search of a way in – at least one that involved less climbing and was less nippy on the fingers. Several minutes or so later, we did indeed discover an extremely small hatch and although it took a fair bit of contortionist skill to get past this obstacle we managed to get inside one of the clock towers. It was worth it; it always is to get a little higher. Explored with Ford Mayhem and Soul. 1: The Newgate Building (Taken After the Explore) 2: Early Morning on Newgate 3: One of the Towers 4: St. James Park and a Crane 5: The Two Towers 6: One of the Clock Faces 7: Inside the Newgate Building 8: The Small Gap in the Hatch 9: From Newgate Tower 10: Flagpole 11: Early Morning Fog 12: Newcastle City 13: More of Newcastle City 14: The Gate Rooftop 15: Window Cleaning Rig 16: View from The Gate 17: Looking Over The Gate 18: The Towers from The Gate 19: Rooftop Bits and Bobs 20: Icy Floors
  6. History Charlton Bonds is a former bonded warehouse. It was constructed in 1885. The building itself was put together using concrete and cast iron framework; ornate brick, a stone façade and a slate roof were added for decorative purposes. The large property comprises of three former dance studios, changing facilities, office and meeting spaces, a former Chinese café area and a sizeable basement. A number of other buildings have been constructed close to Charlton Bonds meaning that a small courtyard also lies at the centre. Inside that courtyard there are five individual gravestones. In 1835, before Charlton Bonds was created, Newcastle’s Jewish community purchased a plot of land within the vicinity and a synagogue was erected shortly afterwards; more land was later purchased nearby for use as a burial ground. Although it was initially a well-used religious site, much of the local Jewish community moved and the decline in the number of followers was considerable. Consequently, the Jewish synagogue was demolished many years ago; the exact date is unrecorded. Since its closure much of the Jewish graveyard was redeveloped and, even though the removal of the site was disputed, the plot was allocated to a new theatre company. The Jewish community were only permitted to hold onto a smaller part of the graveyard and these are the graves which still exist today. Five graves have remained undisturbed, however, the Hebrew inscriptions have eroded from all but one of the stones. The one that can still be read commemorates ‘Matilda Gaskell’ who died in 1851. The grounds were last ‘restored’ in 1961 when they were covered with red gravel. Our Version of Events We decided to hit something in the North East this month, so we set out to see if there’s anything interesting happening in Newcastle. After checking out a few other sites – mainly older ones we’ve done before to see what they look like in their current states – we arrived in Newcastle City Centre fairly late on. We immediately set off on the hunt for something worthy of exploring and it wasn’t long until we stumbled across Charlton Bonds, the former warehouse. After seeing that there was indeed an access point we decided to take a closer look since the area has a bit of a unique history. It’s a surprisingly large site, so it takes a fair bit of wandering to get around it all, but there’s plenty to see along the way; lots of random bits and pieces anyway. The most interesting bit, by far, is the small Jewish graveyard that’s located in the centre courtyard. Here’s to Matilda, and the others who have no names! Explored with Ford Mayhem and Soul. 1: Fun and Games 2: Corridor to Dance Studio 3: Time to Dance 4: Dance Studio Leaflet 5: One of the Former Studio Rooms 6: Another Dance Studio... Presumably 7: The Dance Studio in the News 8: Seating Area for Dance Studio 9: DanceCity 10: Amp 11: Dance Studio Toilets (Immaculate Condition) 12: Dance Studio Showers 13: More Changing Room 14: Bits and Bobs 15: Broken Brolly 16: Chinese Cafe (What's Left) 17: Chinese Dancing 18: Chinese Cafe Leftovers 19: Chinese Lampshade 20: Kitchen Area 21: The Jewish Gravestones 22: TV 23: Office Space 24: Rocking Horse in the Attic 25: Inside the Tower 26: The Attic Space 27: The Perfect End to any Explore
  7. Hey, Been following the Facebook page for a little while now and was directed here from there earlier. I'm Kris from Newcastle on the Tyne. I have no experience in urbex but find the imagery fascinating and would like to start exploring. I'm 2 and a half years in to photography and fell in to it as a means to take over from aikido after needing spinal surgery and could no longer practice. I enjoy it but find myself limited in my surroundings now and need a new challenge. Hoping to start local and branch out once I'm back in the land of owning transport... Cheers
  8. Why eye mon, fog on the tyne pet Whenever I try a Geordie accent I sound like a South African with learning difficulties. So I was up in Newcastle and fancied a quick bit of underground so on went the wellies and under I went On the way over I found Geoff, my traveling companion for the trip (there's a pic of him later on) Geoff getting settled in to his new home
  9. I was in Newcastle for work and decided to take in some of the local culture Not knowing the best side to start at I headed for the Outfall, Work is going on just above the outfall but I didn't look that suspicious without the waders and just slipped in It was dry inside which was good because I wasn't looking forward to the drive home in wet boots and trousers. the smell of fresh was strong as holes have been punched into the sewer below, it wasn't enough to set off my new 4gas driving around and there is loads to do up Newcastle I'm surprised the city doesn't get more love.