Last update: 13|03|13

  • The Health and Safety Executive: "This is not something we get involved in. We only deal with places of work."
  • Kent Police: "It is not a criminal offence"
  • The Environment Agency: "It's not something we would get involved in."
  • Kent Fire Brigade: "It would only concern us if fires were being started."
  • The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings: "You have to commend these people."
  • Save Britain's Heritage: "We have had a few of our sites visited by these groups and they have provided us with great pictures via their websites."
  • English Heritage: A source said he actually uses Urban Explorer websites for more information about locations he's having difficulty getting permission to enter himself.

BBC Southeast's InsideOut

For some inexplicable reason, I like walking around old derelict sites and buildings. There's aspects of urban decay I find interesting, whilst I enjoy the freedom of 'not having to stick to the tour.' You can wander off where your heart takes you.

Therefore this website will document my various rambles through some of the UK's decaying sites.

No vandalism and no breaking and entering.

Take only a camera and leave only footprints

I was contacted by a Phd Student who was researching his local asylum as part of his doctorate. By coincidence, he was interested in Whittingham Asylum near Preston, and was interested in my visual record of the buildings. I helped him as much as I could, revealing that a third of the site had been demolished, another third was being destroyed, but the historical core of the most building still remained.

Part of his work entailed building a virtual record of an asylum. Spurred on my my pictures of the magnificient, albeit delapitated, buildings, he approached the owners for permission to document the asylum inside and out. His work would’ve been a lasting record of a historical building, one that’s at risk, one that’s totally unique.

He was denied access.

Instead, his project had to concentrate on another asylum, long since demolished, but immortalised in photographs. Unfortunately, due to the shortsightivness of Whittingham’s owners (either due to fear of litigation, laziness or apathy), that asylum will not be documented, and the only lasting legacy will be a couple of websites which merely scratch the surface.

Love them, or loathe them, at least an urban explorer with an eye for detail and architecture, could potentially build up a library of snapshots, which could go some way to documenting a building. Such a clutch of pictures could, potentially, be of some use to someone, somewhere. Some of my pictures remain unique on the web; whilst my wonders around Cane Hill, RAF Upwood and others give real insights into these buildings, their function and their architecture. Soon - all that will be lost.

Furthermore, some urban exploration websites evolve into more than just the examination of the ruinous locations visited. They become meeting places of the ex-employees, fellow enthusiasts, melting pots of ideas and discussion. The Shrine (which first started as a ghost story set in the derelict Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital) has evolved into a historical account of the site, the people who worked there and some first hand recollections from some of the patients. Good going for what simply started as a fun, derelict place to hang out in.

When looking back after these buildings have long gone, when drab housing estates sit on the same land, will people then care that the pictures were taken without the permission of their absent owners or the blessing of the totally unimaginative trusts and associations which supposedly look after them?

I think not.