Archive for April, 2009

Urbex Community: infiltration.org

Posted by sickbritain On April - 29 - 2009

One of the early pioneers of the Urbex community was the late Jeff Chapman based out of Toronto, Canada. Also known by the handle Ninjalicious, Chapman setup a magazine in 1996 covering the topic of Urban Exploration (a term he is credited with coining), 25 issues in total were published and Chapman also setup the website infiltration.org in the same year as the magazine.

Profiling the history of urbex, posting site visits and how-to guides, infiltration.org has been a mainstay of the urban exploration community, take a look at some of the historical snapshots over at archive.org: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007. The site currently allows you to buy back-issues of the ‘zine and Ninjalicious’ book Access All Areas is available for sale (I just bought mine from Amazon Canada, it’s on it’s way now).

The site’s well worth a look, especially the Urbex Timeline


Harperbury Hospital, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On April - 27 - 2009

tfs_hh_001Almost a year on from my initial visit, this is the third installment of my Harperbury series bringing us up to date (see Harperbury in April 2008, Harperbury in October 2008), a productive visit albeit a short one. I recently decided to upgrade my camera from the Canon 400D to the more robust and richly featured 50D (lord knows I’d love a 5D MKII but the cost is staggering) and I needed somewhere to test it out, it wasn’t the prettiest of days and I felt like a drive so I headed over to Harperbury Hospital. On arrival I didn’t notice much that had changed externally, although there’s a couple more buildings across the site that have been sealed.

tfs_hh_002As usual I gravitated towards the swimming pool and found a whole load of new graffiti (but thankfully no hornets). The paint peeling room is in a glorious state, pretty much the essence of urbex and the “Dark Dark Room” is still as mouldy as ever, despite the mask I could still smell some of the Harperbury stench too – makes me consider using a non-disposable mask. I was on a tight timescale for this visit so I just toured through a few favourite spots and ignored some of the less interesting bits though you never know, they might have become interesting since my last visit – that’s one of the cool things about urban exploration.

After heading back into the real world I was just about to leave and thought that since it’d been such a quick trip and I still had a bit of time spare I might try and get down to part of the facility near the road. It looks as though some of it is still in use but there’s definitely a huge cluster of derelict buildings down there, I’ve just never worked out the best way to get down there without raising the alarm or spooking the residents. Well, this time I thought I’d try going round the back along the edge of the field and it worked a treat! I was still on a whistle-stop tour because of time pressures but I could clearly see that there are quite a few abandoned buildings down there, most of them looked sealed but I didn’t have the time to probe closely.

tfs_hh_003The buildings over here (maybe 10 in total) are arranged around a central ‘playing field’, after a little wander I found one open and accessible building (front door wide open) so naturally I had a look in, unlike a lot of the others over the road many of the buildings down the bottom are two-storey – the stairs seemed solid in my one so I had a proper look around. Architecturally it’s not too different from the others and inside the walls are painted (mostly peeling) either the cream or turquoise-blue that appears to be common across the site. It’s worth noting that in this area there are a couple of diggers so it looks like someone has been working here, that might make it difficult to do anything but weekend or out-of-hours exploration but I suspect that’s what most of us do anyway.

I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, there are still whole areas that I’ve not been into and that somehow gets to me, like an unsolved mystery or when Sky+ buggers up recording the end of an episode of The Apprentice!


Pavenham ROC Post, Apr-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On April - 22 - 2009

After a failed explore elsewhere I decided to find an alternative to avoid a wash-out, I was carrying my Dell Mini 9 & 3G data stick so I did a little research on the web and came up with Pavenham ROC. I chose an ROC post because they don’t generally require much preparation and as long as you’ve found a recent report of one being accessible you’re likely to have no trouble getting in. I chose Pavenham as the location looked remote enough that the ‘chav factor’ wouldn’t come into play and previous reports and photos made it look like an easy approach.

On arrival at Pavenham I struggled to find the site, part because I didn’t have the exact coordinates and part because there was a road closed in the area which caused a long diversion. I cracked open the Dell Mini again and managed to find a grid reference (thanks due to ROC Remembered) and my satnav took me right to the place.

Previous reports made it look as though the post was right in the middle of a patch of brambles so I opted for an approach from the hedge side as it offered more cover from view of few houses and a public footpath. As I proceeded to drag myself through the hedge backwards I noticed a couple of topside features (air ventilator and probe cover) hidden amongst the brambles so I knew I was in the right place but I only found the hatch as I emerged from inside the hedge back into the field so there really is no point in approaching from that side!

The hatch opened easily and I immediately noticed a difference between this post and the previous two I had visited:

hatch_diff_sml

The key difference is that the one at Pavenham has the hatch counterweight on the right-hand side whereas those in Alderbury and Burgh-on-Bain are to your back which I found out much to my peril when I got a nasty bump on the head climbing up! The Pavenham solution seems much better and I’m not sure why they’re not all like that, perhaps they realised part way through the nationwide construction programme that they’d end up with injured officers up and down the country!

The inside of the bunker was pretty clean although much more sparse than the previous two ROC posts I have visited, I was very impressed to see many individual artefacts still present including an intact mirror. The other items present included a Glitto canister, a tin of Luxol enamel paint, a Tankard Bitter ashtray, the Eltex chemical toilet and various pieces of paper in good readable condition. The most notable item missing was the bunk bed, this leaves quite a large space free at the back of the room but that at least gave me a better perspective and I got to see the room from a different angle than those normally available to me.


Urbex Community: urbexforums.co.uk

Posted by sickbritain On April - 21 - 2009

After a recommending a regionalised site last week I thought I ought to return to the national stage with a community spotlight on urbexforums.co.uk, another forum site focused more on site reports than general discussion but it’s quite active. ┬áThere’s not a great deal to say because it does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a forum about urbex in the UK and it’s called urbexforums.co.uk!

urbexforums.co.uk

Harperbury Hospital, Oct-2008

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On April - 18 - 2009

Having made an initial visit to Harperbury in April 2008 I went back in October 2008 with a friend of mine, also a photographer. He’d been intrigued by the shots I’d posted on Flickr and fancied a look around the place so we headed over, it was cool to have two of us there to bounce ideas off of each other and also to act as models / props / light stands for each-other. On arrival I found a couple of previously open buildings had now been sealed but otherwise access and the site as a whole remained relatively unchanged.

On entry into one of the first open buildings (the one with the swimming pool) we took a few photos then headed into the main hall, there we could hear a very low-level buzzing sound. As soon as I realised what it was ‘the fear’ rushed over me: it was a hornet’s nest and I’m scared to death of bees and wasps let alone their giant evil cousins! They were very dopey and zig-zagged around the hall very slowly and crawled in and out of roof tiles and all over the floor (I’m itching just thinking about it). Luckily they were dopey enough that when they’d landed they were ignorable and when they were airborne the buzzing was plenty loud enough that you knew to get the hell out of the way!

After a little poke around the swimming pool area and a brief stab at light painting we moved on to what I assume must have been the wards of Harperbury – large (but not massive) rooms, all with high ceilings. It’s in here where you find some of the cooler graffiti, as well as some of the most dangerous and sodden flooring so please pay equal attention to both the walls and the floors. After light painting at some of the graffiti spots we headed down to a room with severe paint peeling at the end of the block, most noteworthy as it’s the only place I’ve ever seen stalactites having formed indoors (in this case on a light fitting).

On the way out we spotted a windowless room with an intact door so we went in to do some light painting and shut the door behind us, inside it was pitch black and very quiet (aside from the two of us chatting and flailing Maglites around). As we were timing an exposure I thought I heard a noise outside the door, I turned around to see the door move slightly and I knew that it wasn’t the wind as it’s a heavy old door. With no hesitation whatsoever I walked over to the door and pulled it wide open to find myself face-to-face with a terrified guy who panicked and ran away, I stepped out of the room in time to see him fall on the floor as he ran and then spotted his friends also looking mildly panicked. As I pulled my mask off and said “Hi” they realised I wasn’t a threat (neither maniac nor security) and we stopped to chat for a bit, they were just exploring as well so I apologised for causing any alarm and we went our separate ways.

The rest of the explore was less eventful, we covered some of the lower buildings and got a couple of good shots in the padded playpen, usually I find when I visit Harperbury there’s not a great deal of variation once you’re past the main buildings so we sped through a lot of them finding nothing unusual save for the decomposing corpse of a bird (still pretty well preserved). We finished off the day with a good set of shots between us but I always come away from that place feeling a little grubby, even though I wear a mask, gloves, wellies, etc. – it’s nothing a good shower can’t fix though!



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If youre into Urbex or youre trying to find out what its all about you may find yourself needing some help finding out about the art of Urban Exploration.  Here at Sick Britain Im planning to put up original content like my What is Urbex? and Urbex Safety articles as well as posting links to other community sites such as 28 Days Later or Derelicte.

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