explorations | 2004

This is a handy log of my explorations, ranging of one-off visits to small installations, through to multiple visits to large sprawling areas (the later which forms the basis of the project section of this website). It breaks it all down into handy "Day Trip" activities, a dossier of what can be seen in one day, and fun for all the family.

My diary of urban exploration if you like.

Which brings me onto another point. Some of these sojourns were simply recces, designed to scout potential targets out before attempting infiltration with a team (Severalls and Warley are high on the list to visit). Some were interesting in themselves (such as setting the scene at Cane Hill or discovering what was at Rauceby) but it you wanted the excitement, musty interiors and broken toilets, then you’d be disappointed.

Others were complete and utter disasters. The first return trip to Rauceby was an excellent example of things going completely wrong. I included it here to point out that urban exploration can be a frustrating exercise at times.

So, I’ve implement a handy scale so if you want the get to the fun stuff quickly then you can just select and click:

Recce. Scene setting stuff. No internal explorations.
Limited access but mostly walking around in the rain outside.
Full infiltration. Access all areas.

St. Crispin Lunatic Asylum 02|01|04 (With Smorgy) Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
This recce went badly wrong. Not for any of the usual urban exploration reasons, but simply for one very good reason: We attempted to do it properly and gain access by gaining official permission.

Still, at least some of St. Crispin got photographed that day.

Rauceby Lunatic Asylum 18|01|04 (With Smorgy) Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
This was the start of the Virtual Asylum - a project to fully document an asylum by photographing every part of it. In the end, this shoot was important as I got most of the externals, and Smorgy filmed lots of footage. Additionally we tried putting together some documentary style footage which acted as a rehearsal for when I returned to the asylum in May to film for the BBC.

Aquila 02|03|04 (With Marlon, JonDoe and Dr. Bob) Demolished in 2004
Aquila was massive. A huge sprawling site filled with the most wonderous juxtapositions: military testing equipment nudging next to a huge bar; engineers' workshops and toolsheds nestling up against a fully working cinema.

It was massive. It's gone now.

Rauceby Lunatic Asylum 03|04|04 (With Smorgy and Magnus) Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
It was a case of two things coming together. Magnus wanted to come along and write about the urbex experience for a Swedish national paper. My spies at Rauceby told me that the bulldozers were moving in and the newts were moving out.

It was time to get back to Lincolnshire.

Beedingwood 02|05|04 (With Smorgy, Marlon and JonDoe)
Normally I wouldn’t even bother exploring a house. After all I live in one. And they’re not really all that exciting. But Beedingwood, the first house to be featured on this site, was different; asymmetrical architecture, huge footprint and completely unstable.

The first site where I actually thought a hard-hat would be a good idea.

Rauceby Lunatic Asylum 10|05|04 (With Deano) Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
I was now filming for real at the asylum, shooting documentary footage for Restoration Nation. And will full access to the internals of the asylum, I managed to take over 400 shots.

As a momento of that day, I put together a tour from the hundreds of pictures. How To Climb A Victorian Water Tower details almost every step of climbing the landmark feature of the asylum.

No pressure. No pressure at all.

Hellingly Lunatic Asylum 12|09|04 (With Laurence and Marlon)
I'd been telling people about Hellingly for a while, but its been strangely ignored. Odd how the popularity of sites changes over time, and places become popular and others fall from favour.

Websites devoted to this huge GT Hine asylum started appearing last year, and now it's been added to the urban exploration circuit.

So, it was about time, I went and had a look.

White Hart & Cole's Mill 12|09|04 (With Laurence, Marlon and Smorgy)
This was simply some madness after Hellingly as we searched Sussex for a drink. Derelict pubs, mills and garages were plentiful.

St. Margaret's Hospital 28|10|04 (With Sam) Demolished in 2007
This place was on our lists for a while - a huge, derelict rural expanse near Birmingham, complete with derelict hospital. Unfortunately we knew security were lurking around as well.

Great Barr Hall 28|10|04 (With Sam)
And on the very same site can be found the impressive remains of Great Barr Hall, a house with an impressive history, equality impressive house guests, and a less than impressive roof.

St. Crispin Lunatic Asylum 06|14|04 Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
Finally... after checking out the site in January, I returned and wondered its battered interiors.