Tuesday 4 June 2013

Ham and jam and spamalot!

Finally, a sunny day! We only had to wait until the beginning of June. Fragglehunter enjoys his trips to the fairground, so Tin Dog and I decided that as he had been very good, we would take him for a day out...

He was very excited!

But enough of this silliness. Although Camelot is a silly place...

Camelot closed down at the end of the 2012 season. I gather that the rides are presently being sold off and dismantled. The 3 water chute rides are off, one to each of the Gulliver's World sites right now. Fragglehunter though has for years harbored the desire to get inside a ghost ride and shoot it. Today was the day!

 Rat up a drainpipe...

The back yard was filled with mannequins. Here we have Paul Whitehouse and George Best, both looking worse for wear.

 Rollercoaster will soon be dismantled. If you are going, go now.

Lots more pics from this shoot to come. Go and see it before it becomes another housing estate!

Saturday 30 March 2013

Trinity Church Bolton

These were taken in 2012. I had my eye on the building for some time, but it had a fence around it, was locked up so far as I could see, and worst of all the building stands right next to a busy junction next to the railway station. There are always lots of people about! A good clue for would be Urbex explorers - look at the grass and the bushes. If someone is going into a building, they will in all likelihood disturb these. Flattened grass is usually a sign that we can get in...
I didn't like this place at all. It felt distinctly creepy. A building surveyor had fallen to his death a few years ago whilst examining the inside of the tower. Also, the place if heaving with pigeons. It stinks, and the floor is missing. I won't be going back, but here are a few shots...
View from the front bit where the priest would stand. Stage? I am not strong on my religious terminology!
That said, on the right under the pink towel is the font. On its side.

Rotten as a pear. Floor removed to expose the dwarf walls. 

Wide open. But well hidden from the road. It has since been secured. It looked as though the building was receiving regular visits from somebody. 

This church is sort of 'fake old', I have no idea of when it was built, but arched doorways and  reinforced concrete stairs?  The clock faces have '1988' on them, but I seem to recall that the clock was refurbished back then.

Note the railway station clock tower to the left.

While the Earth Remaineth... the church falleth into disrepair?

A loose fence panel. And we're in.

If ever a building felt hostile. I didn't like this one. 

...and I don't think it liked me.

Way Down In The Hole

On the outskirts of Bolton, lies an underground reservoir. It was build in the 1960's as water storage for the town but was never used. So there it lies, a reinforced concrete box under a field. We didn't measure it, but I would guess it is roughly 45M square and 6M deep. Access has since been blocked, but at the time we visited it, we had managed to gain permission from the owner. The owner incidentally, had bought the land in order to build a house. It was described as the site of a former reservoir, which he took to mean it had subsequently been filled in. I gather plans are now afoot to partially excavate the structure and build the house underground. Taking photos underground in the dark was a bit of a challenge. We really don't have the kit for it, but it was fun to have a go. Incidentally, the acoustics down there were amazing. Echos just ran and ran...

Taking pictures in a black box can be a challenge.

Several torches, bag of candles, egg whist and a ball of string. All cutting edge stuff!

Self shot using the shutter delay. The white wavy light is from my head torch!

Fragglehunter engaging in a spot of sparkiness.

Lovely sunny say up there.

A very unusual afternoon.

The only way in, and out. Not one to visit alone. There is no phone coverage and if you have an accident, who's gonna know?!

We should let off a smoke bomb...

...actually, that was a terrible idea!

Sunday 24 March 2013

Winstanley Hall, Wigan

A few shots taken on a recent mooch around a rather impressive old house. Access was somewhat tricky and was a case of parking up and then crossing through a tennis club, a cricket pitch, a couple of fences, a plantation of trees, a forest and a moat. Yep, a moat! The house was built in the 1560's by the Winstanley family who were the lords of the manor dating back to 1252. The building was in good condition until the late 1960's when it fell vacant. It is now rotting in planning hell as Wigan Council have refused the present owners (Dorbcrest Homes) permission to convert the hall into private flats.

Hiding in the trees, on land surrounded by a moat.
Winstanly Hall stands gently rotting.

I could fill a page just with the architectural features on this house.

Once of several extentions. The house also boasted stables, a large courtyard, and a building for keeping bears in (obviously!).

At least someone had the presence of mind to get a fence around this fountain.

The lead thieves have been in, so the building now leaks badly and is rotting within.

Hand painted walls in the nursery.

Fragglehunter trying not to meet the owl.

Once a very splendid reception room. The huge fireplace deceives you of the size of the place. Compare it with the doors.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Chernobyl 3. Some more photos from our trip through the looking glass.

So, time for a further installment from our recent trip to Chernobyl. Allow me to introduce...
 Mick Darabuka. Teacher by day, Drummer by night. That is not tea in his teacup...
 Dave Fragglehunter. It is his fault. He got us into this. This was his idea. Do not go drinking with this man. You will end up somewhere you were not planning to go...
 And this is me. Urban Spaceman, Rob to my mates. My my this 'tea' is moreish...
This is the checkpoint at the entrance to the exclusion zone. Here the Ukrainian army check your passport to make sure you are who you say you are, and check the list of people they are expecting. Watching Mick's face when two armed guards with dogs couldn't see his name on the list is a memory I will treasure for years to come...
I should add, you are not allowed to take pictures of the checkpoint or the soldiers. So I haven't. This photo is simply one which I found on the internet. Obviously...
 A new sarcophagus is being built at the moment. Hans Blix and the International Atomic Energy Authority have insisted on it. What you are looking at is the first half of the construction at the first lift. The drawing below explains. Firstly they build the blue section, then made two side sections and fixed them to the ends of the first. They then used 40 jacks to lift the arch. This will happen twice more. The arch will then stand over 110M tall. They will then push the whole structure out of the way and build another identical one. Once this is done, the two sections will be bolted together to form one huge tunnel which will then be clad. Once completed, the whole structure will be slid on concrete and steel rails, half a kilometer into position over reactor 4. This involves knocking down buildings, building roads, etc. All very difficult to do when everything around is radioactive. The work though, has to be done this way as the reactor is still far too radioactive and unstable to work near.
The construction drawings. A remarkable project, bue for completion next year. This will hopefully contain the radiation for another 100 years. So it isn't a solution, just a sticking plaster. There is no solution.

Inside Pripyat High School. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Nuclear Exclusion Zone was left unguarded for some time. Thieves and looters ransacked the place and stole anything they could sell. Hence all the fluorescent tubes have been taken from the classrooms. One would think the market for radio active light fittings would be somewhat limited.

Fragglehunter, in his Chernobyl hat. On the prowl in Pripyat High School.
 School corridor. Note - somebody has stolen the lintels from over the doorways. Be very careful if you visit, there is very little keeping some of these buildings up.
 Another inevitable chair shot.
 Performance stage and stage seating. Piano could use a tuner.
 In the biology labs.
 A science classroom, learning all about atomic structure. Sadly they know rather a lot more about it now.
 Poster for something. Suggestions welcome.
 The sort of piano I would expect to find Wile. E. Coyote under.
 I think the high school and kindergarten were the hardest places to take in.
Road safely poster from the kindergarten. Splendid artwork.
 Pripyat stadium. Shot from the football pitch. Now steadily turning into forest. Not my finest photograph. I have to confess to being tired and cold from walking all day in deep snow. This was not helped by all those cups of 'tea' I enjoyed the previous evening...
 Hiding in the trees, Pripyat bus station.
 Pripyat, being an 'Energetic City' was blessed with an Olympic standard swimming pool. The USSR did not provide a swimming pool to cities the size of Pripyat. This was one of many features in the town installed to attract their best scientists away from Moscow in favour of the Ukraine. The town was designed to be a showpiece. An example of Soviet success. I will come on to look at the living accommodation later. To say I was shocked at the space afforded to a working family under the Soviet regime would be an understatement. To realise that people relocated to here for a better life though, I can only wonder how they were living before.
 Lamp posts, decorated for the May Day parades now hide in the trees. Lenin Boulevard was the centerpiece of the town. The forest is steadily reclaiming it.