Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

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.


Alderbury ROC Post, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 24 - 2009

This was a classic Sunday afternoon “what shall I do?” moment, quite why I ended up deciding to do three and a half hour’s driving to explore a tiny Cold War Nuclear Bunker in Wiltshire I don’t know but that’s the thing about Urban Exploration – it piques your interest just enough to make you do crazy things. Before visiting the Alderbury ROC I knew very little of it’s history, I’ve since done some research (mainly on Wikipedia) and it’s quite an interesting piece of history I’d never heard.

The Royal Observer Corps were in existence from 1925 to 1995 and their first significant operation was to act as aircraft spotters in WW2 where their task was to radio in any sightings of enemy aircraft or flying bombs. After the war ended they were briefly stood down after being in continuous operation from September 1939 to May 1945 then as the peace transitioned into the Cold War their role changed. The new role was to report nuclear explosions and monitor the nuclear fallout, to do this the crew of three would have to be prepared to spend up to 21 days underground in a 16ft x 7ft x 7ft bunker, between 1958 and 1968 over 1,500 of these bunkers were built across the country.

On arrival at the site I had to straddle a barbed-wire fence and then found the hatch easily, it was weighted down by a large flint boulder and the hatch opened easily once it was removed. Having never been to an ROC post before I felt a little apprehensive as I looked down the pitch black hatch, 20ft above a dark and slightly watery looking floor – anything could’ve been down there. I strapped on my head torch and proceeded downwards and I was surprised to see how small these bunkers were. Having been down there for just a few minutes I heard voices approaching, I stayed quiet for a brief time to gauge who the people were and what they might be doing. I was somewhat paranoid of being locked down there by the landowner or some random miscreants so before they reached the hatch I yelled out “HELLO?”, this startled the new visitors briefly and then they hung their heads over to see what was going on. It turned out that they were fellow explorers like me and they seemed like a nice friendly pair and it was nice to meet them both.

The bunker itself was surprisingly small and contained a pair of bunk-beds, a couple of cupboards, a crate and quite a few pieces of paperwork and documentation including fallout charts, instructions, aircraft identification diagrams and so on. This particular bunker was in pretty good condition, I gather from Googling around that many are not quite this neat and tidy, this one was apparently used by the BBC at some point in the recent past.

Having been down there for probably 10 minutes or so I decided to pop back up (as did my fellow explorers) and call it a day. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to shut the hatch (don’t force it, there’s a bar you need to shift and then it works) and then I replaced the boulder and headed back to the car.


Lisk Industrial, Feb-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 19 - 2009

After exploring Ankle Hill Hospital in Melton Mowbray I needed to find something bigger and somewhere I could definitely explore completely, as luck had it some quick Googling turned up Comrade Thompski’s Flickr set taken at Lisk Industrial Controls which was helpfully geotagged to guide us to the location. Being Winter the light was already fading by the time I arrived but there was enough light to be going on with and I had my trusty Maglite in tow anyway (wouldn’t go urbexing without it!). The first thing I saw on entry was this bizarre barrel of Green Goo, it didn’t look so bizarre until you put a flash through it and then the colour just goes mental, at best estimate it’s some kind of anti-freeze but I’m not ruling out something more disturbing or sinister! The surrounding area (and much of the site) consists of a series of giant sheds, mostly brick built with corrugated iron roofing, and mostly empty.

The more interesting part from my perspective was some of the switchgear and electronics to be found around the place, I love engineering related bits and bobs and they really give a place atmosphere. Lisk was full of switches, start/stop buttons, gauges, dials, signs, wiring, fuseboxes and all sorts of stuff like that so I was in my element. I didn’t touch too much of it very closely and I’m always wearing gloves so I don’t know whether there’s a risk that some of it is still live though I very much doubt it, the place has been empty for quite I while I expect although not too long since it doesn’t show many classic signs of decay and dereliction.

The back of the complex (probably the bit nearest the road) seemed to be a set of offices with much smaller rooms, carpeted floors and some leftover furniture and other debris. One of the more noteworthy bits of electronic debris was the chassis and main boards of their old Goldstar PBX / phone system, there were several cards laying around and none of them seemed to show signs of massive damage so they might even be usable if you know what you’re doing. Other noteworthy bits and pieces include some strange hexagonal tubs (or perhaps up-ended plinths) made out of MDF and painted green. I suspect that these were either some kind of packaging in which Lisk products were shipped (they seemed to have address labels on them) or some kind of trade stand as there was another giant wooden structure in the same room.

By the time I’d finished exploring the light had really faded outside, making the torch an essential and every shot required the sort of power provided only by an external flash unit (I have a Speedlite 580EXII) – so much so that had to change the batteries whilst on site. It’s well worth noting that after exploring there’s a Marstons pub almost exactly opposite the abandoned Lisk building, the pub does great food (the goat’s cheese ravioli was superb) and seems to have a perpetual 2-for-1 offer on main courses which is pretty sweet in this day and age.

Click the following link to Flickr for a few other pics taken on the day.


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About Me

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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