For as long as I can remember ...
... I've been fascinated by old and derelict buildings. Indeed one of my earliest memories was being intrigued by a fire damaged derelict vicarage when visiting my best friend Alan when he lived near Bolton ... I was four at the time! Similarly throughout my childhood on our annual holidays to the Lake District I spent many a happy hour exploring old mines and the like. The interest has never gone away, and so for example when we stumbled across a derelict residential home called The Malms whilst walking near Shawford about 7/8 years ago I was again fascinated and spent ages researching its history. I kept meaning to go back and have a better look but then, like too many interesting places, the builders moved in.
However, in the last couple of years a few things have changed. Firstly, I've got increasingly into digital photography, and spent many a happy hour photographing English Heritage sites and the like. Secondly, I discovered that I wasn't alone in this fascination with dereliction and recording the atmosphere through photography, and that there was a significant group of people who liked exploring and photographing what they saw ... the world of Urban Exploration. Old hospitals, factories, military sites and all sorts in between.
So recently ...
... I've been giving my growing passion for Urban Exploration more time. I've many friends who are remarkable explorers and photographers and seem to spend every waking moment (or more often than not the moments in the middle of the night when they really should be sleeping) exploring diverse places. I've not got the time in my busy family life to do that, but I do take the occasional opportunity to take a long lunch, or perhaps come the "long way" to work to do a wee bit of exploring. Also, I've discovered that I'm not alone in this interest since my gorgeous wife Sarah is fascinated too (well, as long as it's not "boring" miltary stuff), and so there have been occasional family explorations where it's been safe to do so.
What frustrates me though is that I didn't act on my fascination and have the guts to start doing this years ago! The number of unique sites that have now gone, or have been converted into souless flats, annoys the hell out of me!
Conflicting concerns abound too! Dereliction requires prolonged desertion; prolonged desertion requires a lack of interest from a site's owner; a lack of interest invariably allows vandalism, arson and theft of materials to occur; we abhor this damage, but ultimately it increases the rate of the dereliction that we enjoy! An absolute point of principle for Urban Explorers is that we don't break into sites and always use open access routes (even if they may require some inventive climbing or squeezing through gaps); yet we profit from the vandals who do smash open buildings since they create open access routes for us to use! We'd like to see better care and security shown to important sites; yet the security guard is often our exploring nemesis! We'd like to see sites preserved and reused; but after years of neglect key hospital sites are now being sold off, only to be demolished to make way for more boxy houses.
"Day after day, they send my friends away, to mansions cold and grey, to the far side of town" (Bowie).
Cane Hill Hospital sits high on a hill overlooking Coulsdon in Surrey. Or put another way, Cane Hill is the impressive mouldering asylum that I've driven past numerous times over the years on the way to IKEA in Croydon without even knowing it was there! Held by many to be the most atmospheric asylum in the country, after years of neglect the days of easy access are long gone with serious fences and a serious security presence. However, it also has a public footpath right through the middle of the site, so we all went for a wander one wet afternoon on the way back from yet another trip to IKEA. David Bowie's stepbrother Terry Burns spent much of his adult life there before committing suicide courtesy of a train at Coulsdon South station.
|Park Prewett hospital on the outskirts of Basingstoke was the second asylum built in Hampshire in response to the overcrowding of the first asylum at Knowle near Fareham. Demolition of Park Prewett is now well underway, but I took the opportunity of a business meeting in Basingstoke in the summer to swing by and take a few exterior shots before they'd got too far. Had the security guard asked what was doing, I'd have said that there was something up with my car ... the engine had gone missing from under the bonnet!|
|For many years "Old Miss White" lived on Dowd's Farm ... literally opposite our house. When she finally died in 2000, she bequeathed her farm to the Salvation Army who immediately sold it to developers. Miss White let local people freely roam across the farm, but now development of 765 houses has commenced on the site. I'd never paid much attention to Dowd's Farm itself, but several years of desertion have taken their toll. In the end the developers erected a large fence but when has that ever stopped me (especially when they've left the front gate open!).|
|The Royal Observer Corps' No. 14 Group HQ in Winchester is currently threatened with demolision by the developers who now own the site. The site originally had both the 1943 ROC Centre used to track aircraft movement during WWII, and a later cold war strengthened blockhouse built in the early 1960s. The WWII building is Grade 2 listed, but unfortunately the cold war blockhouse was not protected in time, and so the developers took the opportunity to demolish it. The WII building has been left unsecured and so is in a pretty unhappy state, though thankfully the vandals in Winchester being slightly "classier" haven't be as brutal as they can be. However, as often is the case the developers are now claiming that the building can't be saved and so want to demolish it despite its listed status.|
|Warner's Woodside Bay Holiday Village was a classic "Hi-De-Hi" style holiday camp on the Isle of Wight which closed in the mid-80s. It's a great example of nature taking back a site, as shown by comparsion between postcards from when it was open to the pictures of today. Being out in the open with easily access, it proved to be a safe and atmospheric place for us all to explore when we headed over to the island during half-term.|
|In the early 1950s, having proved Britain's seriousness by test exploding various nuclear bombs, the British Government set about developing appropriate intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver the deadly load. As a result a rocket test site was built on the Isle of Wight at Highdown literally overlooking The Needles. Later the focus turned to space, and in 1971 the first and only all-British satellite was put into space by a British rocket tested at Highdown. Almost immediately after that first successful satellite launch the British programme was cancelled, with the Minister in charge saying he saw "no future in satellites"! We visited the site during half-term, and I just couldn't resist the lure of the central bunker which still has its toughened safety glass in place.|
|During the cold war 1563 underground ROC monitoring posts were constructed across the UK to enable the reporting of nuclear bursts and the monitoring of fall-out when the dreaded day came. Thankfully the cold war passed and the likelihood of major nuclear conflict waned, and so the ROC posts and ultimately the ROC itself were decommissioned. Many ROC posts were later demolished by land owners once ownership was returned to them, but there are still plenty around if you know where to look for them. The ROC post at Lockerley Green sits unloved, and pretty much untouched, in the corner of a field on the top of a hill. At first I thought it'd been demolished too, since it was so well hidden in a bramble thicket!|
|Completed in 1864, Fort Fareham is one of the many Palmerston Forts that encircle Portsmouth. In 1965 it was sold by the MOD to Fareham Borough Council, who then converted it into an industrial estate by using the parade ground and also the arched casements. The rest of the Fort was originally maintained by the Council, but then fell into a terrible and frankly unacceptable state of dereliction. The whole complex was sold by the Council around 2002, and then in some quick profiteering the majority of the freeholds were resold to the previous leasehold tenants. It's not clear who owns the freehold to the derelict ramparts and caponiers, and whether they have any intentions to try and stablize the decay. There is a lot more to explore yet at Fort Fareham, but what I did discover accidentally on this trip was the Council's cold war emergency bunker!|
|East Sussex County Asylum at Hellingly was designed by notable asylum architect G.T. Hine and opened in 1903. His design followed the ideas that relaxing views and extreme isolation were beneficial to psychological recovery, resulting in an "enclosed community" with a full set of facilities including post office and hairdressers, staff living on the premises, only one access road via a long drive, and even its own (very early electric) rail line to the asylum. Later renamed Hellingly Hospital, it closed in 1994 and has suffered badly at the hands of vandals, arsonists, and thieves who have systematically stripped it of items of value. I visited on a windy winter's day with the help of some local experts ... Hellingly is not a place to go if you don't know your way around the massive linked site!|
|Greenacres School in Winchester closed in 2002 as part of a reorganisation of special school provision in Winchester and Eastleigh. When it was open it had around 40 children of all ages on roll, and included a hydrotherapy pool. Plans have recently been submitted to demolish the 1960s Scola Mk1 school buildings and to replace them with 19 small to medium dwellings.|
|The Winton House site was one of Hampshire County Council's training centres, and my wife attended various courses there when she worked for HCC. It now stands unused ahead of being mostly demolished as part of a brown field regeneration plan which will see almost 80 dwellings built. The site contains a number of 19th century buildings, including the main house, Asbourne Lodge, and a coach/stable house. There is also a swimming pool and gym that must be retained by any prospective developer.|
|In 1936 Sir Frank Whittle (the co-inventor of the jet engine) set up his company, next door to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), at Pyestock near Farnborough for the research and development of gas turbine (aka. jet) technology. In 1946 this was nationalized as the National Gas Turbine Establishment. NGTE was the foremost jet engine test facility in Europe from the 50s to the late 80s. The engines for many military planes and passenger jets, including Concorde, were tested in the NGTE's huge test cells which were designed to replicate flight conditions, speed, temperature, pressure and relative moisture. Later NGTE was combined with RAE becoming part of the Defence Research Agency in 1991. The DRA next become DERA, and then in 2002 was privatised to become QinetiQ. With a decline in new jet engines being designed and increased computer modelling, the NGTE was closed around the same time. The NGTE site is of epic proportions with huge test halls and massive pipework joining the buildings. It stands dormant with the majority of the testing plant in situ.|
|New College was a part of Southampton University that closed in mid-2006. Before becoming a proper part of the Uni, it was better known as the La Sainte Union College. The LSU was founded in 1904 and took its name from the order of Catholic Sisters who established it. It grew into a teacher training college affiliated with the Uni, and whilst it retained its Catholic history, it wasn't a specifically religious college. In the mid-90s it was judged by OFSTED to be failing in its educational role and failed to raise its standards enough to pass a second inspection. Therefore it ultimately lost its teacher training accreditation which was its "core business" and so it closed, and the college was taken over by the Uni. The 13 acres site is going to be mostly leveled, with some of it being used for housing, some by St. Anne's Convent school, and some by the police for a new central holding and admin facility.|
|Another underground ROC monitoring post - this time near Alderbury, overlooking Salisbury. This post is notable for the amount of material still in situ ... though partial that's a result of it being used for some filming by the BBC in 2001. The instructions on the walls clearly explain the roles of the three observers in the post, and exactly what the were to do when the nuclear war came.|
|The De Vere "The Dormy" hotel, is a sprawling 4 star hotel in Ferndown that closed in 2004. The site covers many acres, and is made up of a variety of buildings, the core of which are connected by glazed corridors. There is a large leisure complex too, including a swimming pool, gym, studios, and a squash court. Finally there are a number of sizeable houses that were converted to serve as part of the hotel's infrastructure. After being reasonably untouched by vandalism for a period, the site is now going down hill rapidly. This trip covered the main building, the leisure complex, and a converted house that served as offices and the laundry.|
|Situated on the western edge of the New Forest, RAF Ibsley was a busy RAF and USAAF Fighter airfield during WW II. It opened on 15th February 1941, flying activities ceased in 1946, and the station finally closed in 1952. The runway was removed in the 1960s, but various buildings of interest remain including a Control Tower next to where the runway would have been (now large gravel pits), and an impressive Battle HQ situated on top of a hill overlooking the site.|
|Severalls Asylum in Colchester opened in 1913 to hold 1800 patients, and is a hospital on a grand scale with a distinctive echelon plan. It closed ten years ago, and has suffered at the hands of thieves, vandals and arsonists ever since. The grand recreation hall was badly fire damaged several years ago, and was then brutally demolished with the demolition equipment literally being driven through the hospital on the way to the hall, cutting a path of destruction. Despite its proximity to the busy A12, Severalls is a remarkably peaceful place to visit on a sunny Spring day.|
|Atop a hill in the centre of Colchester sits Jumbo - the UK's largest Victorian water tower. It was completed in 1883 using 1.25 million bricks, 142 tons of iron and 369 tons of stone, and could hold 230,000 gallons of Water. After being decommissioned by Anglian Water in the mid-1980s, Jumbo has passed between various owners with various plans for its use, none of which have concluded successfully.|
|The ROC post at Middleton Stoney sits in a field in literally a "drive by" location within sight of the M40. It is notable for having been built "backward" in that it is a mirror image of the typical ROC post layout. It's dry but fairly bare with recent grafitti.|
|The ROC post at Boars Hill is notable for being a "master post" which means that it was additionally equipped with VHF radio equipment for communication with ROC regional HQ if the usual ROC post telephone links went down. As a result of the radio transmitter, all the metal items in the post are earthed. As a post it's pretty dark and damp and mostly stripped, with the sump topping out. Again there is clear evidence of the local kids having been down there at some point, but not recently it appeared.|
|On the first day proper of our family vacation near Pollensa in Mallorca, we were looking for a place to park so we could visit the town's Sunday market. It just so happened that we ended up finding a space opposite an interesting large derelict building! Of course I was itching to get in and have a look around, and in the end I finally got my wish towards the end of our vacation, whilst my remarkably tolerant family sat out front eating their lunch. It turned out to be an interesting factory building, with two long halls which had clearly had belt driven machinery in them, and with some sizeable boiler and engine pits out back. In the end all became clear when I discovered some drying racks covered in various colours of wool and then started noticing wool elsewhere too. Annoyingly I couldn't find a way up to the tower on the roof in the short while I had!|
|As soon as we arrived in Mallorca on our family vacation, I was struck by the numerous small windmills in the area around the airport ... particularly because many of them appeared derelict. There weren't any of the windmills on the more mountainous north side of the island where we were staying, but then one day I noticed the remains of one near where we joined the cross-island motorway. Their purpose is of course blindingly obvious when you consider the environment and agriculture, but even so I wasn't expecting such a large, open, deep and frankly dangerous well!|
|Sat in the depths of a monster bramble thicket in the middle of a field, the Bradfield ROC post required a high level of dedication to get into. Whilst the bleeding has now stopped, the back of my jacket still looks like it's been clawed at by savage tigers! The post itself was in pretty good nick, having been locked for many years, and included all of its comms kit apart from the Teletalk that had been recently removed :-(. It was slightly surreal being down a post with what sounded like a swarm of bees above your head!|
|I first noticed that this unit on a local technology park was empty whilst out on an early morning run, and was surprised to see that it had some boarding up were the local kids had clearly broken a window or two. Skip forward a couple of weeks, and the lack of a future for this office/factory building became even more apparent ... so I had to take a look. The story of APW Electronics is pretty shoddy with a scandal seeing employees lose the vast majority of their expecteded pensions owing to a massive hole in the pension fund. The ailing company could not afford to fill the hole and ultimately the scandal was a death knell for APW in UK.|
|I've driven past Jacksons Farm most days for a decade or two. I'd always admired the large farm house, and assumed that it was used. Then a few years ago it started to look rather tatty, followed ultimately by the front windows appearing smashed at which point my interest picked up. The windows were then boarded, yet people were still living and working at the farm in a large static caravan, though ultimately they moved out leaving the farm deserted and as it turned out rapidly approaching dereliction. Goodness knows how or what they'd been farming up to the end!? Updated: When I originally visited, the farm house was still secure, but as if often the way it ultimately was busted open by people looking for copper and so on. I don't think they found much, but it gave me the opportunity to see inside. It was dark, damp and depressing with very few signs left of the people who'd lived there.|
|I've driven past this ROC post many times on the A303 over the last 18 years. For many of those years I didn't have the foggiest it was there, and since I have known about ROC posts I've always passed with the family with me. However, I had to drag myself down to Exeter on business, and so it'd have been rude not to have popped in quickly. It's sat atop the hill by the Sparkford services just down from the aerials for RAF Yeovilton, and in plain view of the A303 just 50 yards away. It was fairly empty but still in reasonable condition with no vandalism, but unfortunately the sump is beginning to overflow and the pump wouldn't turn.|
|So not UE but hopefully still of interest - the Eastney pump houses are owned by Pompey City council and open to the public once a month. Sadly the beam engines in the main house are currently unable to run due to a lack of water in their pond caused by a leak. The later gas engines were open to the public in the 1970s but then left to suffer over "20 years of pigeons, Chavs and neglect". In both cases you're pretty much free to wander around without any formal "museum" feel to things.|
|Portsdown Main is the impressive art deco style building that dominates the skyline to the North of Portsmouth, and hence is somewhere I've always wanted to see inside. It was designed in the 1930s as a building which would be located somewhere else in the UK, but WWII prevented further progress and it was eventually built on Portsdown in 1952 as an Admiralty Signals Establishment (ASE). It went through many changes of use over the years as defence research changed - ASE, ASWE, DERA, DRA - before closing finally in 1997.|
|During WWII an Underground Headquarters - the UGHQ - was built 30 metres beneath Fort Southwick in preparation for Operation Overlord. This provided a bombproof, comprehensive Naval, Army and Air Force Operation Control and Communication Centre. The UGHQ's main role on D-Day was gathering information and coordinating the Allied naval forces. Reports from radar stations were crossed-referenced with messages from shipping to provide an accurate picture of what was happening in the English Channel. This information was then plotted on a large table map in the central hall of the UGHQ, and was passed to the Allied commanders nearby at Southwick House. On the 6 June 1944 there were 700 staff working underground!|
|A return visit to Portsdown Main, this time taking in the similarly beautifully styled restaurant block with lots of curves and glass blocks. Also I explored some of the other remaining buildings on site including a rotten office block and the fire pump house, before finishing off in the basement of the main building and the strong room.|
|Visiting Harperbury Hospital gives a rather stark insight into the treatment of people with learning and other disabilities during the 20th century. The site opening in 1925 in temporary buildings with the first patients being 8 men considered "high grade feeble-minded adults". Work on building the main complex was completed in 1936 when the now renamed Middlesex Colony was opened. Following the formation of the NHS, the site was renamed as Harperbury Hospital, and then with the move to a much less institutionalized approach to care of people with learning disabilites, the major residential part of the site was closed in 2001. The site remains active with new bungalows built on the female loop for remaining high dependency patients, but the children's and male loops are now derelict. Whilst in many ways the villas are all rather similar and featureless, the needs of their residents still show through with, in several cases, large fences and padded rooms!|
|St. Ebba's is the only remaining (semi-)active hospital in the "Epsom Cluster". Unlike the other grand asylums in the cluster such as Horton and West Park, St. Ebba's is a much smaller 40 acre site with a maximum population of 400 patients. Its villas are well spread around the site, since it was principally designed to provide residential care for people with learning disabilities and severe epilepsy. The site remains active with a small remaining population of around 60 people in one part of the grounds. Many of the patients have free roam of the grounds and at times their behaviours can be a little unexpected ... the wildly masturbating man's reputation proceeds him!|
|The Epsom Deep Shelter at Ashley Road was built for use during WWII, and held over a thousand people in bunks. Dug in a large grid pattern out of the chalk of the Epsom Downs, the shelter is a curious mix of construction techniques with brick lined sections, corrugated iron lined sections and also unlined sections with netting to prevent any small rock fall. Access to the shelter was given by the current leaseholder who uses it for regular airsoft events.|
|Mention Epsom and many people will immediately think about racing. Mention Epsom to me, and I immediately think Asylums! The "Epsom Cluster" of five mental health related hospitals were built starting in the late 19c. Several have been demolished, one converted, and I've previously explored St. Ebba's. However, the crown jewel as always been West Park which was the last completed, and which opened in the 1920s. West Park remained out of my reach for several years courtesy of 360 degree IR cameras and a state of the art laser fence but then ...|
|Longcross is a small disused military site near the top of the M3. It's been on my list for a long time, but was never worthy of a trip on its own. However, I was coming back round the M25 towards the M3 and it seemed a good time to pop in. Problem was that I didn't have the foggiest where it was beyond it always being tagged as Chertsey. Well it's actually a long way from Chertsey, on the other side of the M25, and much nearer to Chobham which meant much random driving around before a call to my sister-in-law got me heading in the right direction. Longcross was used by the Army Technical Support Agency and then the Defence Logistics Organisation, and so was never a site with parade ground and loads of squaddies, but still has the full defensive trappings you'd expect with a high fence double topped with razor and barbed wire!|
|The London Road shelter was one of the two large deep tunnel shelters built under Portsdown to provide protection during the many bombing raids that Portsmouth suffered during WWII. The other shelter at Wymering was more widely known about, and indeed Pompey City records don't even record the exact location of the London Road shelter. Fortunately interested local historians did the detective work to find its location and that it'd been sealed years ago, with the most recent official access back in the mid-90s when it was then resealed once and for all! Or was it? One of the entrances wasn't totally backfilled unlike the others, and somebody with scruples very different than mine made access possible and who was I to ignore the hole? The council resealed the shelter within days keeping this wonderful bit of history safe again.|
|For anybody who's been brought up near a major port, the sight of majestic grey dock cranes will hold a special place in your heart. However, times move on and certainly in Southampton classic grey ten ton cranes, built like companies such as the famous Stothert and Pitt from Bath, simply aren't up job any more! It was very special watching the sun go down chilling on the roof of the cab of one of great grey giraffes whilst the port carried on at a frentic pace around me! The next day the giraffe lost its neck!|
|Sometimes I explore grand historically significant sites ... other times I just pick up local scraps, often on bright Sunday mornings before the kids and neighbours are awake. Wildern Mill is an animal food mill slightly out of place in the middle of a residential area and surrounded by retail units but convenient for the motorway. Next to it is what I originally assumed to be part of the Mill, but what I ultimately discovered to be some retail warehousing related to the furniture company Multiyork. I've vague memories of a fire there 5+ years back and when out for a run recently I noticed some graf on a building ...|
|A bonus Halfrauds around the front of the Wildern Mill. It closed 5 or so years back when they relocated to a newer unit just down the road. It's been empty ever since, and in the last year or two the kids have started hitting on it, and so of course I've been keeping an eye on it. Undoubtedly it'll be shit inside, but since it kept my crap cars on the road for many years I'd still like to see inside it! However, the security shutters into the shop along with the internally locked fire doors are remarkably still holding strong!|
|So after years of not getting my arse in gear, I'd had plans to lose my Cane Hill virginity earlier in the year, but then work got busy. Then I heard that demo was starting in a week's time! I promptly organized a big trip for loads of people to meet up, only to be unable to make it myself due being the most poorly I've ever been. Time was running out, and so I made a final last ditch dash up ... and just in time! Work started the following the day and has cracking on at a shocking pace ever since. If you need some background about CH then look at the top of this page since it's the very first place I ever posted on here! The weather was absymal, the company was cool, and the place itself was awe inspiring!|
|High Royds Psychiatric Hospital in Menston just outside of Leeds is justly (in)famous with its imposing Victorian architecture and strong history. It opened in 1888 and was one of the last large psychiatric hospitals to close in 2003. It's currently undergoing conversion and for a while was a bit of a exploring tourist spot. However, when I made a brief visit access on the main site was not possible. Just down the road though is a little bit of High Royds history that is often forgotten by people. High Royds is unusual in having its chapel off site, and its a tiny chapel at that. It really brings home the history though since the large "field" next to the Chapel has only TWO grave markers ... despite being the final resting place of 2858 patients in unmarked graves!|
|Occasionally you visit a site which is tiny but has wonderful vibe, and Murphy Machinery near Leeds was exactly one of those sites. A rather tired industrial works with some parts still active, once I'd navigated the slightly risky access I felt like I was entering a museum or TV set for a 50/60s drama. The lighting was wonderful and the highlight was a beautiful early 50s Emidicta magnetic disk recorder sat on a desk just outside of the Works Manager's office.|
|A really nice Yorkshire textiles site ... seemingly stripped but with actually plenty of interest still around. It's part of a bigger site, most recently known as W.W. Textiles, but in the interests of time I only did the oldest bit. Several things were architecturally interesting. First off was that it was a great example of "northern lights" with the great natural light streaming in from the north facing angled roof windows whist avoiding dangerous direct sunlight on the machines. The second was the faux house front on the exterior of the works to make it appear that it had a live in caretaker.|
|This was a flying visit with a single goal in mind. Tower Works is a very famous site in the centre of Leeds, most notable for its imposing landmark towers. Its owner built three towers which served as chimneys for the factory beneath but, given his love Italian architecture, they were built to mimic famous Italian towers. The Tower Works site today is very diverse but totally wrecked with a listed frontage held up by scaffolding, a range of different era buildings including some modern trade park rubbish, and thankfully the towers remain safe and listed too. However, the goal for me was a unique tiled engine room quitely hidden amongst the trashed site replete with its ranks of large scale cameos of leading industrialists/inventors of the period when Tower Works was a beacon of modern industrialism!|
|The Mount Hospital in Bishopstoke closed a few years back in a clamour of local annoyance following years of campaigning to keep it open. It was a popular smaller hospital which mostly focused on rehabilitation for elderly patients but had various other outpatients' departments. The history of the site is interesting too. It started as smallish private estate with the first house built by a wealthy farmer in 1844. It was later bought by a Captain Hargreaves in the 1870s. When he died it was bought by a Mr Cotton who rebuilt it in 1893. His imposing Victorian mansion replete with impressive tower forms the heart of the site. It originally had impressive gardens too suitable for a house of its standing with an arboretum, formal gardens and a Victorian water garden. In 1927 it was sold to Hampshire County Council who converted it into a hospital reusing the original Victorian house, as well as building a range of other buildings including another impressive art deco-ish ward building. It was only when I saw the front of that other ward building that its purpose screamed out at me ... massive opening windows are immediate tell tales of a TB sanatorium and I've since confirmed that this was the original purpose. Overall I'm absolutely shocked by the state the site and mansion has been allowed to fall into and will be pursuing appropriate routes to ensure the building is being looked after!|
A short Xmas themed video/picture montage with a suitably dark Blur track. Available in both low and high quality versions. It's also available on YouTube.
National Gas Turbine Establishment
A general video/picture montage with a sound track from the wonderful Fatso Jetson. Not only can you get a feel for the scale of Pyestock, but can also hear just how windy it was. Available in both low and high quality versions. It's also available on YouTube.
This time the Rollins Band get an outing in another video/picture montage. Available in both low and high quality versions. It's also available on YouTube.
So my plans didn't quite come together for the originally envisioned video, and hence this is another standard video/picture montage from The Dormy hotel. Explicit lyrics alert since the sound track is a superb and very appropriate track from The Streets. Available in both low and high quality versions. It's also available on YouTube.
A short and simple video from RAF Ibsley to give a feel for the WWII Control Tower and the Battle HQ. Supergrass do the honours. Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
Unfortunately my video editing software wasn't quite up to the needs of my original grander directorial vision, so instead I employed a simple but still effective trick on this video of my mostly sunny exploration of Severalls. A superb track from cult Finnish prog-rock band Kingston Wall helps with the atmosphere. Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
A short video made from footage recorded when I explored the ROC posts at Middleton Stoney and Boars Hill. Could The Jam have provided a more perfect soundtrack ... and just the right length too?! Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
A short video from the various bits of footage I remembered to record, including the wonderful view from the roof. Also I finally got to realize my aim of a Woodstock movie style split screen, and magically having done that the footage ran to exactly the right length for the Roxy Music track I'd picked. Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
As ever I wasn't good at remember to video stuff, but I got most of the key bits. Also this video needed the least editing time so far, with just a simple reordering of clips necessary to get the timing linkage I wanted with this sound track, which in this case is by Queens of the Stone Age. Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
Hardly the world's most exciting place to explore, and so hardly the most exciting video, but I had the footage and it only took a moment to edit. That's not a reason for you not to watch it because it's got a great soundtrack! Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
Southampton Dock Cranes
So the light was going when I finally realized I should take some video footage, and so it was all rather dark, but still caught the vibe up the crane. Credit and thanks go to Chris for the final footage of the crane being pulled over that he caught a couple of days later. Music ... Robert Wyatt singing Shipbuilding of course! Available in high quality for download, or lower quality on YouTube.
A Walk in the Park
How long have I wanted to make this video? The only problem was that I had so much footage I wanted to cram in that it needed a return to the 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4 split screen brain scrambler to give you the headache that the soundtrack loses. Ever wanted to spend time in a real padded cell? This is the place for you! Currently only available in lower quality on YouTube.
You should never forget the Urban Exploration can be dangerous with many hazards, and that appropriate safety precautions should always be taken. Sites are frequently not open to the public! I do not accept any responsibility for anyone who decides to visit the locations that I have and anyone doing so does so at their own risk. I do not condone any criminal activities! Take only photographs; leave only footprints and all that ...