Urbex Community: derelictplaces.co.uk

Posted by sickbritain On March - 31 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

One of the first sites I came across when entering the murky world of Urban Exploration was Derelict Places, a UK Urbex forum. The forums are home to a great number of users who post site reports, general chat and other stuff and the atmosphere there is nice and friendly – I strongly encourage you to visit and meet the guys over there.

http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/


P.S. The eagle-eyed of you might spot that the Google ads in the top-right contain a link to this very site, that’s because Sick Britain contributor thirtyfootscrew was sent a free £50 Adwords voucher and valiantly used it to help promote this blog!


Sheffield’s Iconic Cooling Towers Demolished

Posted by sickbritain On March - 30 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Having lived all over and travelled across the country one of my favourite cities in the UK is Sheffield, with such a strong industrial heritage it has every right to be proud of it’s history but unfortunately it seems that history is now being sidelined to build the future, a mistake that we’ve made for centuries even though we think we preserve our historical buildings.  Driving up the M1 recently I was looking forward to passing Sheffield and seeing the familiar sight of Meadowhall shopping centre on the left and the giant cooling towers on the right, sadly it seems that back in August 2008 the towers were demolished to make way for a new ‘biomass power station’ (see BBC News).

This was a sad day for me and whilst some of Sheffield’s residents protested it still sickens me to see that not enough people cared about the history and heritage of Sheffield to save these magnificent structures.   The same goes for the removal of the Avesta Bull – I’m watching Sheffield’s history being drained away year after year and it really does make me sick.

Photo by Paul Denton Cocker, click through to his Flickr page.

Saxon Cross Hotel, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 27 - 20092 COMMENTS

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.


Pyestock NGTE, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 26 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

I’d read about the National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock before I went and I was dying to get in there, unfortunately despite walking the entire perimeter (quite a distance) I couldn’t find a way in. I did manage to find a hole in the fence to a smaller compound out the back where I found a giant pool, some rusty ooze and an electrical substation with some cool orange switchgear. It was a worthwhile trip but I was disappointed not to get into the main site, I’m going to get in touch with a couple of Pyestock veterans and see if they’ve got any tips. It’s worth noting that there’s definitely security on the site, I saw at least one security guard patrolling near the front gate.

Check out www.ngte.co.uk for examples of photos and some historical information on the site.


Alderbury ROC Post, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 24 - 20091 COMMENT

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.


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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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