Originally the Sea View Hotel, Cautley House is in every way as bland and and tacky as I expected. Built in 1888, it was extended to the east in 1906, became the Seabrook Hotel in the 1960s, Alfred’s Hotel in the 1980s and then a christian healing centre in around 1994. A care home was next on the agenda once the healing centre closed in 2011/12, it didn’t happen though as the building needed updating and was deemed unfit for such use. So it’s just sat empty since, although there used to be a live-in guardian person, but with the disuse and the decay commencing over a number of years they left too. Now plans are in for demolition it’s days as any kind of establishment are numbered, probably to be replaced by the non-affordable homes that keep springing up round here. And despite being accessible in some way or another most of that time it’s pretty untrashed apart from naturally falling apart.
Some history and old pics here
Entrance/reception area/groud floor rooms
Later extension housing the dance floor and DJ booth/sacrificial altar with added air con
Main stairs up to the locally-named suites
All the rooms were equally as meh, so much shades of beige in this place with 70s style avocado bathroom suites too. And balcony cat-flaps.
The most fucked part was the 1906 extension
Some signage and stuff
There you have it, worth an hour or so if you're in the area
So after Chinese New Year there was yet another public holiday in Taiwan, and you know what that means? More exploring! This here is a compilation of different sites all well known to the exploring network, all very famous but compared to the general benchmark not enough to warrant standalone reports again. As I mentioned before, sometimes it's about scratching the itch just to get it off your mind rather than the drop-everything hit-the-road urge you get for some places.
台灣民俗村/Taiwan Folk Village
Taiwan Folk Village was a mock-traditional park east of Huatan, near Zhanghua in the Bagua Mountain Scenic Area. Opened in 1993 it was a hugely successful site, a showcase of Taiwan traditional temples and aboriginal architecture (straw huts, temples and so forth) although if you ask me it all felt tacky with little historic value. That's the trouble with Taiwan; compared to Europe precious little remains of genuine, traditional architecture of dynasty's gone past. Not only that, I cannot understand what desire people have to turn such places into theme parks complete with swimming pools and rides rather than showcase the history. I digress.
As with so many places in Taiwan, the 921 Earthquake meant a sharp drop in visitor numbers, pushing the operating company into the red, culminating in closure come 2012.
It's in the backwaters of Taiwan with no public transport, so I had to begrudgingly take a taxi to get there. Unfortunately the taxi driver was oblivious to my intentions and dropped me off at the main gate, in full view of security. I get out, and there they are sat outside the cabin staring at me and wondering what I want to do. I don't want to ruin my chances and arouse suspicion, so I walked away as they watched. Awkward. I walk up the road and look for a way in, but there's a huge drop from the road down to the boundary fence. Getting in was a mission to say the least, having to find a safe spot to drop down and then find a suitable point to actually enter the site! I finally found one after considerable effort, then had to beat through thick bushes to get onto the roof of the main walls. A challenge, but I have an itch to scratch so I don't have a choice.
Although I've lived in Taiwan for 2+ years, for those unfamiliar with Asian architecture the attention to detail in temples is beautiful; each aspect is unique. Unfortunately the interior was stripped and somewhat decayed with zero interest.
The site is not fully abandoned, however. There are plenty of buddhist shrines and the mock-village buildings are still maintained by on-site staff. I saw a handful of scooters parked up around the site, and was certain there was someone lurking in places least expected so I had to be very careful.
The biggest problem however was a dozen or so stray dogs who ran around in packs. Any sight of a foreigner liked myself triggered a chorus of barking, not out of hostility but perhaps curiosity and simply being an unexpected presence. Unfortunately this meant I had to move fast from building to building to avoid getting attention from security or caretakers.
I tried to access the best part of the site, the beautiful mock-village quarters in the middle of the site, however to protect the shrines and interior these were completely locked up.
At the northernmost part of the site was a large temple, which I managed to get inside however the interior was completely empty and lacking in interest. I was absolutely certain there was a caretaker lurking inside too, so only 2 shots.
I went in search of the carousel and theme park attractions to the west of the site, however since the previous reports these have all been demolished. No loss, but that meant it was time to leave, so I headed back out and bade farewell. A derp for sure, but not a complete waste of time.
Stay tuned for the rest. Love as always,
By jane doe
Dorton House, formerly known as Wildernesse, is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion house in Seal, Kent, near Sevenoaks; until 2013 it was used as the headquarters for the Royal London Society for the Blind (RLSB) and as housing for the blind and partially sighted children who attended its school. The school was set in 49 acreas and was sold and redeveloped into housing