west park | public domain

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men. Ben had to give his pictures a location for the Independent's photo library, and the caption editor, unaware of our decision, immortalized the location in print. The Independent article appeared with the location fully revealed, despite the editor's and Rhodri's good intentions.

The brass viewer of the padded cell was stolen a month later, the glass smashed for good measure.

The Independent article was blamed by some in the urban exploration community: too much was given away, it was an open invitation, it lead directly to the theft. I can understand this point of view; I have held of publishing pictures and items in tours for fear of vandalism and/or theft. The 8000 Adams Mirror in the Cane Hill Administration Block being a case in point; Grand Tour not being published until I'd confirmed that the mirror had disappeared (which became Spooks And Structural Failure).

But to connect a mention of the location in a middle class broadsheet which didn't even mention, nor picture, the brass viewer, to someone finding West Park, finding a way in, and then locating the padded cell out of the thousands of rooms in the hospital is utterly far fetched. It was far more likely to be the various other groups of visitors, or vandals viewing other urban exploration websites which did picture the brass viewer in all its glory. Such an assumption is more likely, as the owners of St. John's discovered that vandals caught inside their building had found out about the instituion from websites.

© Simon Cornwell 2005

Some of Ben's shots from the day
Rhodri's full unedited text