With the decline of the huge derelict sites of yore, and hence the joy of spending a whole day exploring a truly massive hospital or industrial site increasingly rare, the exploring community seem to be turning to smaller locations for their regular fixes. All hail the growing trend of the derp house! I have explored the occasional local small derelict house in the past, but this is the first time I’ve made a significant journey to one.
The house was originally discovered by somebody by accident whilst on the way to another site in the tail end of last year, and was given the title “The Machinist’s House” in recognition of the surprising contents they discovered. In a smart and busy village in the Surrey commuter belt lies a brooding two bedroomed house filled with, amongst other things, frankly massive typesetting and printing machinery. In death of the house (and one assumes possibly the occupant) the neighbours must hate its derelict state given their quaint cottages and neat gardens; in life you’ve got to assume they possibly weren’t keen on it either since it must have made a serious racket (plus given the amount of junk outside this was never a neat quaint household)!
The actual history is scant, though a significant amount remains in terms of addressed mail and other clues if somebody really wanted to find out more. Apparently over the last five months plenty has disappeared courtesy of exploring “magpies” but it’s still full of loads of random stuff. The printing appears to have been pretty serious, and you’ve got assume small scale commercial rather than simply a hobby. Quite how the machinery was installed, shoe-horned into the lean-to conservatory and shed outside, is unclear. Other things you can glean is that somebody who lived there was a dab hand with a sewing machine, though the large number of much older machines originally inside is now greatly reduced it appears. At some point one of the bedrooms was a child’s, with numerous stickers on the door and varied trinkets. Another hobby was amateur radio, with postcards from other enthusiasts with their call signs on and an aerial unceremoniously dumped in the bath. Also, whilst it might be fair to assume the owner was older, they were into computing with various bits of old PCs and hard disks about. Oh … and an occupant clearly hid various frankly “saucy” videos outside in the shed!
The walls are covered in tarry grime – I didn’t touch them to determine whether it was from cigarettes or something to do with the heat and oil of the printing press; the curtains are filthy and tattered; some windows long broken and repaired with plastic; the kitchen disgusting. Everything tells me that this house was like this in life as well as death, and contents including IKEA bags and PlayStation controls back up that it hasn’t been empty perhaps as long as its state suggests! Structurally it’s sound though and not leaking, and so could easily be on “Homes Under the Hammer” and fixed up with a rewire, new kitchen and bathroom, and head-to-toe redecoration!