View Full Version : Early explores.

18-06-2008, 04:49 PM
I've always been interested in old buildings. I remember when I was a little kid around 11 years old exploring an old house near my school, I was terrified and excited at the same time :w00t And I've liked photography for a long time too so, putting the two together was a logical thing to do I suppose! I'll scan some old negs and prints and post them here. Off the top of my head I've got some pictures of Eastbrook Hall in Bradford and the old ABC cinema Leeds to start with. :thumb

18-06-2008, 10:14 PM
^^ yes mate there is, Exploring the your local environment has been an activity that has gone on for years. I recently read Fred Dibnah's biography, as a small boy he found his way into and explored disused cotton mills he was fascinated by what he found.

Social history is a neglected part of our documented history. I think UrbEx goes some way to filling this gap...

Go forth and explore! :D

05-09-2008, 08:20 PM
I think my earliest memory of exploring was 13-14 years old. I lived in a little village called Pill which is opposite the docks at Avonmouth. If you ever come down the M5 you'll go over the Avonmouth bridge and to your left is a small village. Anyway at the top of the village was a hospital known as 'Ham Green Hospital' It's older name was 'Ham Green Isolation & Tropical Disease hospital'

By the time I was at this age a lot of the hospital had closed but nothing had been done with the buildings. As teenagers we used to walk up and down the disused railway lines that ran close to the hospital. By this hospital ran a tunnel not short of a mile long and it was the done thing as a kid in the village to walk through this just to prove you had the bottle. Going slightly off topic but if anyone is a fan of 'The Young Ones' you may remember the episode where they go on a train and viven gets his head chopped off. Well that's the tunnel and the track he kicks his head around is the old village station!

Anyway this hospital had some absolute gems, the best being the nursery for the staffs children. In 1982 it suffered a small fire. This fire forced the closure of the building and it remained closed thereafter. Inside the place was left as the night before it closed... toys left around the rooms, paintings still hanging up over the sink to dry and jiqsaw's left half finshed on the table. I am not one to feel scared, but this place freaked me out everytime I visited.

As a kid this was the only place to explore.. nobody thought about exploring the hospital, its FOUR slab mortuary or its isolation wards... it's a good job I did make the effort prior to the final demolition of the place... it's just a shame back then (I must of been about 16) that I didn't think anyone would want to see photos and why would I waste a 35mm film on doing so :blush:

25-11-2008, 09:06 AM
I used to Live near Shipley/Thackley in the 80's/90's. Used to bunk off school & went exploring old sites as something to do in the day,
Anyone remember Shipley goods shed?(location: http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.831617&lon=-1.774781&z=18.5&r=0&src=msl) was still there upto the millenium i think, sported rails in situ along the east wall with a lovely wooden platform & wooden sash window office at the north-east corner. the yard of it was the scrapyard Damn me for never getting photo's

11-03-2009, 03:23 AM
My first explore was actually in Germany when I was only 5 or 6 years old. We went for a walk in a dam, I can't remember names of course, and came across an enormous factory. I do know however that this site was demolished and used for development of housing years later. It is by memory one of the best sites I have ever visited. I remember it was absolutely gigantic, very eerie and we spent hours looking around. I also remember that I was really excited and fascinated by something that should be active being left to rot.

A few years later and I was always exploring local little sites or dark basements of friends houses. Years later I started to go after local legends such as Lymm's Roman Tunnels (which I found, and turned out to be true!), Air Raid Shelter and then eventually, I began exploring drains solo or with friends without realizing there was a community for it all on the web!

11-03-2009, 10:30 AM
I remeber we used to play inside Kirkstall power station when i was a kid long gone now the 2 chimneys were a landmark in leeds for some time was demolished in the eighties

11-03-2009, 12:37 PM
Me and My Dad used to go walking when I was little, and we'd find all these great places; old tips, abandoned railway lines, old farmhouses and mills. One of my earlier memories from when I was about 5 or so was my Dad daring me to go up the rotten stairs in an old farmhouse and asking me what was up there - he got me to run across the rotten floorboards to find out what was in the rooms (thousands of bits of clockwork - out of watches - if you're interested). Later on, when I was about 8, I discovered Healey Dell and it's hidden delights (Healey ROF and the ruined mills) and then later still, as a teenage lass I'd go into Manchester early before meeting friends, and wander about in the old warehouses and canal tunnels behind Picadilly (before the bomb and before they all got converted into swanky apartments). My friends thought I was mental and would probably end up raped or murdered or both.

I was an odd child :D

09-02-2011, 03:53 PM
My first explore was an old factory opposite my mum and dads house. It was originally built to be a cinema, but it was never to be :( WW2 came along and it was turned into a factory. The factory closed in the early 80's, that's when I went for a nosey................. the rest is history :)

compound eye
09-02-2011, 09:41 PM
The one I regularly kick myself over is Colney Hatch Asylum in Friern Barnet... I explored it during the exceedingly brief period it was doable, many years ago now... Went with one camera, one 50mm lens, and some Kodachrome - got pictures of the huge chapel with parque floor and dark wood pannelling all over as well as a very large organ [cheeky], the longest [arched, waffled ceilinged] corridor of any asylum in the UK, secure cells, the panelled board room, dispenseries, wards, the grand staircase, the projection 'box' - which was just that, a huge metal box with a door, suspended from the ceiling by bloody great bolts, reached across a little bridge & dangling over the central well of a large square/spiral staircase... I remember it like yesterday - what a gorgeous place it was. BUT then I had a photographic hiatus for the best part of 10yrs and ended up throwing out loads of negs and slides - what a silly fecker I was. I have only ever seen one other urbex shot of it [the corridor], and I was probably one of a handful of people who ever went in & even fewer who took a camera. My slides - crap as they were - would've been priceless now. Even Simon Cornwell never had the honour [I asked him], and the asylums he hasn't done over the last 15 or so years you could write on the head of a pin.

Although I'd been exploring for some time before hand, that was the one that made me determined to do things properly and never throw anything away.

10-02-2011, 02:39 PM
My first explore into derelict buldings was around 1978 (i was 6) when they pulled down the streeet my first home was on. As it was my old home it did'nt feel strange even though it had no roof or windows or anything. I remember taking old broken toys my parents had left behind to the new house a block away and standing there saying i had not been near the old house :lol: But my first explore into a proper derelict building was about 1980 when a gang of us went into a huge 4 floor victorian derelict orphanage and that scared the crap out of me. My first photo explore was old buildings on grimsby docks about 19 years ago, time flies eh :smile

11-02-2011, 10:09 AM
It's that fear that gives you the rush :)

11-02-2011, 02:00 PM
My first explore was a disused cobblers that used to be on my street - was ace - full of old stuff - and yes I did liberate a few things which I later gave to the local museum - well I was only 12!

compound eye
13-02-2011, 01:16 AM
I think my first actual explore was to a derelict Victorian Lido in the town where I was born - I was four, and I remember the remainder of copper blue painted changing stalls, a similarly painted octagonal cast iron fountain, several shallow 'footwash' pools and a big'un with a very scary straight drop deep end and a heavily weathered wooden diving board on ornate cast iron mounts. The bottom of the pool had those bizarre prehistoric looking water plants, that you used to get in children's dinosaur books, growing up from the cracked liner - y'know bit like aquatic cacti with fringes of leaves around the circumference every so often...

My grandad was a painter for the local council and it was his job to maintain the decor of the town's various swimming pools and lidos, back before everthing was centralized under one roof.

I distinctly remember him holding my hand as we side stepped around the rim of the main pool between some pricklies behind and the sheer drop to soggy prehistoric doom infront. It is like a photograph in my mind, it is that vivid... and I'd give anything to go back in time with my kit and shoot the place as it was then. It is now all just hardstanding from some been-and-gone caravan park.

15-02-2011, 05:30 PM
St Peters Seminary in Cardross - wasnt my very first explore but was first most memorable one and I had the chance to revisit it quite a few times, funnily enough wasnt the modernist seminary that I liked most at the time it was the gothic Kilmahew house.
This was in the early to mid eighties - shame the place has degraded to its current state.

an older pic but exactly how it looked


23-02-2011, 03:41 PM
Whittingham was just up the road, went with BB for a mooch round and thought it was fab. Exploring kind of spiralled from there :)
Need to get back to some more asylums :D

26-02-2011, 12:33 AM
Rodley Factory next to the canal used to go there all the time with friends, we had some right fun in there, my mate once sniffed this big can of liquid to see what it was and it knocked him out cold! Also we once set fire to four floors of it by mistake and got caught by the fire brigade but they caught us as we were trying to put it out so they let us go. After a warl I told my dad and he told me he worked in there when he left school, after that i was obcessed with finding something that related to him in there and used to bring all sorts of shite home to show him. It would of being a top explore if it was around now.

26-02-2011, 11:55 PM
My first explore was a disused cinema in Liverpool in 1961. Some of the lads in my class said that they knew of a great place, so I joined them. The main entrance to the building was deeply recessed from the main road, so we just edged into it and squeezed through a missing pane in the doors. Once inside, it was like a labyrinth, with rooms and stairs everywhere. The Auditorium still had all the seats in it and one of the lads found that the cleaners lights still worked! The main lights had gone, leaving heavy cables dangling to floor level. These made great swings, all the way across the room! I remember finding the projection room, stripped but with a hand windlass to operate the screen curtains, which I did, peeping through the projection ports to see the result.
Having been closed for 3 years, everything was covered in dust as was I! Got a hiding for getting filthy, but it was worth it! Went back again and again until it was tinned up.
No pictures have ever surfaced of the inside, I have in my head, but lacking a USB port, cannot share them!
Did another one, but someone called the cops, who waited outside the front but we climbed out of a first floor rear window, down a drainpipe and split! For all I know, they could be waiting there still!

08-07-2011, 08:45 PM
old cimemas /shops/pubs lived in a small village in county durham and all the kids did this no (no playstations 2 tv channels we were always outside exploring) and i aint grown up yet!

20-11-2011, 09:26 PM
I've been interested in mooching around closed and abandoned sites since I can remember. My dad used to play cricket and my mother did the teas so I got dragged along. I had no interest in cricket and ended up exploring stuff near to wherever the away matches were. Closed railway lines, tunnels and the like. There was an old iron foundry near where we lived and I'd go exploring that sometimes. I once took a schoolmate there and got really pissed off with him because he wasn't interested in all the old stuff; he found a bottle of glue in the pattern maker's shop and went squirting it all over the place.

10-05-2012, 08:42 PM
My first explore was the pump chamber of an unfinished water feature on our brand new council estate in 1968 In Newcastle when I was ten years old. It was housed under a concrete pyramid structure and easy access, a drain-type access hole simply covered with a large ply board. They then fitted a trapdoor but we worked out that a door handle from the house would fit the square section lock on the trapdoor.

Eventually the council fitted a padlock and that mode of entry was closed off. The pyramid is no more but the memory lives on via a rather quirky blog called http://kentonbar.blogspot.co.uk/

mr beardy
10-05-2012, 08:46 PM
My first explore was of a gentleman called Dave. God I miss Dave

Little Dave
11-05-2012, 08:25 PM
Big Dave or Little Dave???

mr beardy
11-05-2012, 11:49 PM
little dave

12-05-2012, 12:02 AM
Well, my grandparents own a few mills in Lancashire, and they've not really changed them much, just added some serious gates and fencing (valuable stock an' all that), so from a very young age I've been quite used to mills and the like. Suppose they were my first taste of an explore, even though they're live...

Been meaning to go back and do a report, would anyone find it interesting...?

13-05-2012, 02:44 AM
My first camera explore was tg greens

But prior to that various old schools especially one I'm alvaston

16-05-2012, 08:40 AM
I grew up near South Kirkby pit and a lot of the houses around us were derelict around the time of the strike. As a 7/8 year old, this was heaven! Inspired by the Hardy Boys and The Goonies, we had many a good trek around the pit stacks and outbuildings. Visiting my dads in Upton every other weekend and mixing with the local kids led me to discover the joys of Barnsdale Tunnel. Fast forward a few years led me to the village where I live now - another mining village, where yet again, there was another closed pit to explore. Although, this soon gave way to air rifles, motorbikes and eventually girls and beer. As a 'grown up' with the joys of the internet, a few years ago I discovered this hidden world of people who still do this sort of thing. Adding my love of photography and that was it, I was hooked!

20-05-2012, 11:52 PM
I grew up next to a big mill called 'TB Waters' it was really cool and as I grew up it became derelict, I'll never forget the all the TBW workers walking out of the gates for the last time. I wish it was still up as I'd love to have been there, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

21-05-2012, 06:25 PM
I grew up next to a big mill called 'TB Waters' it was really cool and as I grew up it became derelict, I'll never forget the all the TBW workers walking out of the gates for the last time. I wish it was still up as I'd love to have been there, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.


25-05-2012, 08:33 AM
:lol: Well good.

My first was Rodley forge in Leeds was mint me dad used to work there, it was massive had cranes inside my mate Lee used to shit off the top, spent hours in there.
Was about 12 when we started going in, had offices, drawing rooms full of plans all rolled up, used to have little fires in there until one day it got out of control and burnt throu 3 floors of the factory floor was scary we escaped only to run round the corner striaght into the arms of the fire brigade! I said "Fires this way we called it in" they believed us and let us go before the fuzz arrived.

Such a ace place probs why I have an interest in derping now

26-05-2012, 12:05 AM
First urbex related place I went (in 2009). St Lukes AKA The Bombed Out Church in Liverpool. Not been back since, but as I'm moving to the city, will certainly be having a nosy at how it's changed!

03-06-2012, 06:45 PM
my first urbex experience was probably when i was 5 or 6 - me and my dad used to walk to the nearby village of kingsmuir along a nice wee path that went past a derelict cottage, and every time we went passed it I would want to go in and look around, and sometimes we would walk the dogs through an old quarry and would frequently visit an old radio station near there.
As I got older I visited an old transmitting station, then me and my friends came across an old factory near our house that we went in and had a look around, I remember seeing cupboards with bottles of chemicals and just being amazed by it Ima try and go back the that factory for some pics soon :)

01-04-2013, 04:37 PM
When I was younger, probably 12/13 we used to rake about an area where there were old houses and new houses being built. Just the usual, sneaking some drink out of the house and the like. We were having a look round when some old man saw us & started shouting. We all ran, we all knew the way out except one (who hadn't been there before), we ran across the building site and jumped the barbed wire fence over a ditch. The newbie missed and caught himself on the fence. Being nice friends we all continued to run and left him 'hanging' by his jeans. It was only after about a week later when we met up with him again we discovered what had happened. He had managed to tear off one of his nuts on the barbed wire and ended up in hospital. They didn't manage to save it !

31-03-2015, 04:26 PM
My first real explore was when I was around 12-13 years old. Was the old butlins site nr Filey. My dad worked for a local engineers and they got the contracts to clear the roads for the demo guys going in. I remember being in the tractor with my dad. He stopped and I asked if i could go for a walk. He let me out and i remember walking up a set of overgrown curvy steps. I walked out onto the side of the outdoor pool..looking into the building holding the indoor pool. I sat on one of the big blue fountains waiting for my dad to come back again lol. Kicking myself now.