Archive for the ‘Retail & Commercial’ Category

American Adventure Theme Park, July-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On August - 11 - 2009

I spent many happy days of my childhood at the American Adventure theme park and when I read recently (on an urbex forum) that it had shut down I decided that I must visit.  The park opened in 1987 and was open for almost 20 years, closing in January 2007.  My personal favourites were the Rocky Mountain Rapids and The Missile which, in its day, had been the voted the #1 rollercoaster in the UK.  You can read about the sad decline in the Wikipedia article as well as getting some nostalgic kicks from the American Adventure fan site and browsing the original American Adventure website on the Internet Archive.

This was one of my quick visits in between places so I stowed the car in the first possible place I could find by Googling “american adventure theme park postcode” and slinging the result (DE7 5SX) into my sat-nav, and went for a walk into the site. Despite the fact that it was a miserable day there were plenty of people walking dogs and riding bikes around the perimeter of the place which is a little disconcerting when you’re trying to work out how to subvert a fence! In the end I spotted a clear and easy hole in a metal gate and slipped through unnoticed, there were several spots though so access isn’t an issue.

I didn’t make it around the entire site but what I could see was fairly barren, there are some admin buildings left and there was clear evidence of fire in certain places…

American Adventure: Fire Damage 1 American Adventure: Fire Damage 2

… and some other commercial detritus…

American Adventure: BT Meridan

Occasionally you’d spot some clear and definitive evidence that the site had been a theme park, such as bits of rides…

American Adventure: Old Ride

Points where rides had been anchored…

American Adventure: Anchor Point

You could also see where the old railway line had been, carting people around on a little model steam train…

American Adventure: Railway Sign

I know that there’s a lot more see but the rain and time constraints really stopped me from going much further, it didn’t help that I’d neglected to put on my wellies (see this post) so my feet were beginning to get a bit squelchy and I couldn’t venture into the muddier bits, next time I’m buzzing up the M1 I’ll try and make sure I’ve got some more spare time on my hands and go back for a more thorough explore.

A5 Furniture – Flamstead, May-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On June - 1 - 2009

A5 Furniture Exterior PanoFinding this place was essentially an accident, spotted from a car window whilst travelling down the A5 a few weeks prior to my visit. It was pretty easy to find/remember the location as it’s very close to the M1, Junction 9 and right between a Shell garage and a pub called The Waggon & Horses (please note that this is a strip-pub and not a family establishment). I thought it’d be a bit weird to park on the main road so I took the road up the side of the garage and parked in a layby right at the back of the site.

The WarehouseFor some reason I decided to make my entrance with a crazy head on my shoulders, I proceeded to scrabble through undergrowth alongside the building, being barked at by the pub dog to find an un-openable door and a massive patch of nettles. I made it back up the slope easier than I’d gotten down there only to find a nice set of concrete stairs down to the building on the opposite side of the layby where I’d parked. This was a classic example of the both-feet-first approach gone wrong and save for the pair of inquisitive bikers watching me from afar (I waited them out) the access was easy in the end.

A Rose Among ThornsThe site consists of a single large warehouse-like building in which I imagine the furniture was both built and sold, the place is pretty-much gutted including the the offices although there’s not much to give away the original purpose of the site, save for the giant sign still intact on the main-road side. There’s a lot of graffiti in the place and I recognised both styles and names from previous visits to Harperbury Hospital – the main artists being Phor, Nomad, Adept and Demographix, a couple of bits are quite artful and I managed to make a couple of panoramas from the walls…

Short Graffiti Wall

A5 Furniture Small Graffiti Wall

Long Grafiti Wall

A5 Furniture Large Graffiti Wall

Burnt Out Offices Trying to EscapeAs there weren’t so many artefacts left and the place is essentially one giant empty room the explore didn’t last too long, the offices were a bit wrecked and have clearly been involved in some sort of fire (arson or otherwise) that didn’t seem to have spread to the main building.  There wasn’t much graffiti in this part either save for the red bloody handprints on the wall which could be quite disturbing in the half-light but they’re more obviously paint in the daylight.  Outside the back of the office is the road-side with the still intact sign (picture at top), other than that I didn’t really see much to stay for so I jumped back in the car and headed off – navigating the easy way, not via the dog+nettles side!


Saxon Cross Hotel, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 27 - 2009

This was a first for me, I found this derelict hotel by putting in the postcode advertised on their own website: www.saxoncross.co.uk – somewhat odd given that the place has been abandoned since at least February 2008 (see post on Derelict Places). Despite being in a good condition last year the place is completely ruined now and there’s little or no evidence of furniture or anything else intact, save a few mattresses stuffed in bedrooms and the odd chair half smashed on the floor, it’s quite striking to realise how quickly something can fall into ruin although I suspect that vandalism is to blame for the vast majority of the problems at Saxon Cross. Some may never understand why people are into Urban Exploration but I’ll never understand the what drives someone to go into a building and smash the hell out of it, the vandals that do this sort of thing should be locked up.

On entry it was pretty smashed up and I don’t think there’s a single window intact, most of the main rooms are completely devoid of furniture although some have the original counters and work surfaces in place – I even found the remains of a cash register and a bottle of HP Brown Sauce! There’s the odd bit of graffiti here and there but nothing artistic, the best bit (which put the chills into my co-explorer) was the big red graffiti saying “I don’t know about you, but I could MURDER a curry”. As you approach the main building from the front you will find the main part of the building in front of you, including the reception, lounge, dining room, bar, back-room, kitchens and plant rooms (for heating, electric, etc.).

The bedroom areas extend out back in two long rows, very much in the style of a classic American Motel…

Saxon Cross Hotel Rooms

The rooms themselves are a complete mess along with much of the outside area, each room seems to be either stuffed with rubbish and debris (mattresses, broken furniture, rubble) or has it’s roof caved in with foam (or maybe even asbestos fibre) insulation hanging out. The noteworthy parts of the outside are the giant “HOTEL” banner and the scattered cushions outside, I didn’t explore any of the rooms in depth so there might be something interesting to be found in there but I glanced in each one and nothing really piqued my interest.

Overall it was quite a good explore, pretty quick as there’s not much to see and it’s only a single-storey building. It’s also very easy to add onto an itinerary if you’re going down the M6 as it’s only a stone’s throw from Junction 17.


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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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