All my old exploring videos

Over the years I’ve enjoyed making exploring videos, though my principal medium has always been photography. Hence my videos have always been recorded on my main camera as an afterthought, mostly from the days when I used a Sony bridge camera but more recently on my Canon DSLR. I got out of the habit though when I moved exclusively to Mac since iMovie wasn’t good enough and I never got on with Final Cut despite it supposedly being the “industry standard”.

Hospitals

The Mount was a local hospital that I kept an eye from when it closed to when I was possibly the first to explore. It’d formerly been an TB hospital. I finally got to use In the House, In a Heartbeat from the film 28DL.

Possibly the most famous derelict grand asylum in the UK, when I explored Cane Hill I could finally use All the Madmen by David Bowie given the strong (but never confirmed by Bowie) linkage between the two.

And then there was West Park and the padded cell. Too much footage and the ten minute YouTube limit back then meant split screen mayhem.

Harperbury was a pretty dark and dismal place, partly because of any early start on a gloomy day.

Ahh CMH! A wonderful place with quality dereliction in both the maternity unit and the main hospital with its monster main corridor. This video was originally carefully edited with a superb Black Sabbath track, but back then it seems Ozzy and boys weren’t into getting some revenue from YouTube ads and I was forced to change the soundtrack to some sort of spooky royalty free music.

Ironically we rushed to Severalls because redevelopment/demolition was due to start. It’s still there now, eight years later! A simple editing trick and a favourite track from Kingston Wall.

My very first exploring video, a favourite place to mooch – Hellingly – and the gorgeous 1992 from my favourite Blur album.

Military

I popped in to Longcross Barracks without any prep on the way back from West Park. I didn’t even know where it was, but somehow managed to find it. It’s one of those interesting videos that attracts comments from service personnel who were stationed there which is awesome.

One of the most visible landmarks over Portsmouth, I still to this day can’t believe they demolished the art deco beauty that was Portsdown Main!

A couple of ROC posts from a journey home in the Vee through Oxfordshire.

One of the few WWII remnants left in the New Forest.

Industrial

Born and bred on the south coast, an opportunity to go and clamber around some dock cranes was not be missed. A excuse to use Shipbuilding too!

Another favourite … Pyestock! Nothing else like it anywhere, and sadly no more!

Others

Another one that attracts cool comments from people who used to work there, or stayed there, or even had their wedding receptions there.

And finally another local one – I used to go swimming in the La Sainte Union pool when I was a lad.

Graylingwell Hospital, Chichester

Retro post from : February 2011

After not getting out exploring properly for a year or two, when some meetings got cancelled at the last moment and I found myself with a couple of days vacation to use up just before the end of my holiday year, I decided to take a day off and make a solo visit to Graylingwell Hospital. For years it’d had been very well secured, with sensible regular security, some exterior sensors and the simplest of security techniques – screw every door and window down tightly with angle iron from the inside.

Originally called The West Sussex County Lunatic Asylum, a pinched bit of history reads “The hospital was built between 1894 and 1901 as a lunatic asylum for the pauper agricultural population of rural West Sussex. Since then it has been a prominent part of Chichester’s rural (and later suburban) landscape, particularly its tall brick keep-like water tower.” It was the real deal, and some friends had recently discovered the stripped padded panels and cell door from a padded cell in the tunnels.

The site had just started being redeveloped/converted with work on the admin building and water tower when I visited, and this is why it was suddenly explorable. Sure you had to avoid the builders, but when they started work they had to undo a lot of the original internal physical security.

Graylingwell-182It was seriously pissing with rain, and so wasting 15+ mins looking for entry wasn’t perfect. I’d had a chat with a friend who’d been there a while back, but the way he’d used was sealed. I almost gave up; then I just got bold and found something in plain view of the fence and was in.

It’s was funny old place. In many ways it was awesome to have a fully formed and increasingly derelict asylum to explore but, where it’d been broadly modernized and stripped of the more personal stuff when they cleaned out, in the end it did feel a bit samey. However, it did have a particular stand out area!Graylingwell-001

I knew the hall was good, but didn’t realize just how good!

Graylingwell-037Behind the stage curtain, the stage was ace with almost a full fly and left with all its equipment and lighting! Being on my own I resisted the urge to climb all the way to the top though!

And then down the back, in keeping with most large asylum halls, there was the all important projection room, again with everything still in it including various films! Awesome stuff!Graylingwell-057

At some point they’d clearly divided off part of the hospital as some sort of admin/training/IT unit, with plasterboard walls across the original corridors. Elsewhere there were things like the patient bank and library, a pharmacy, very pigeony but empty kitchens, the stores which had a bit more left about, and finally something which more directly showed the hospital’s history – an ECT suite, with rooms nearby that better fitted the pattern of classic small exclusion rooms.
Graylingwell-149
When I explored Cane Hill a few years previously it was a very rainy day, and my friend I did it with was really spooked by it. Graylingwell was much much noisier with water pissing in all over! At times it was daft inside, because even though the roofs were complete, it was pouring in. Indeed I took a load of video and on play back I don’t need a sound track because the rain is ever present and so loud! When I’m exploring on my own I’m very quiet (and enjoy the solitude), and whilst rain masks sound even more, it does make for an edgy explore since you likewise can’t hear other people! Thus ever corner had to be taken with that bit more care. Still an awesome way to spend a day on my own, quietly find my way about!

Want to see how it all turned out once converted and more? Take a look.

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