The Eighth Expedition

The biggest and best exploration yet, this occured on the 27th of May. We went up there with two intentions - going down the tunnels and also exploring the laudry which someone else had kindly opened for us. First off, we went to explore the new tunnel entrance, the one with the step irons. I had a torch and the camera. Most of the times before, places we've been hace had more than one exit, but going into the tunnels meant there could only be one way in and out. I psyched myself up for going down the ladder. It was secure, so I started to descend, the torch in my mouth. I could really feel the adrenalin start coming through. The way the ladder is, the tunnels are behind you. Someone could jump out and get you so easily. I reached the bottom and quickly turned round. The tunnels had a big thick iron door on them, it was open though. A couple of barrels littered the floor.

A view through the iron door

I ducked and walked through the door, and the tunnel lead off in two direction. I went right first. About three metres along, light came in from above, and there was a pile of black powder on the floor. Looking up to where the light came through, I realised I was at the base of the incinerator chimney. God knows what was in that ash though. It must have been where they cleaned out the chimney from.

The base of the chimney

So I turned round to go the other way. It was a very odd sight. The tunnel sloped downwards a bit, but although they had about 6 feet head room, half of the tunnel was filled with bricks. Not a collapse or anything, just a huge amount of used bricks piled up all along the tunnel. Why, I don't know. The tunnel continued along for 50 feet or so, and at the end there was a brick wall. There could have been a T junction, but I was unsure. However, in the wall at the end, there was a hole where about 10 bricks had been removed. Light shone through the hole but I could not see what was on the other side. I went back to the surface and the other person with me had a look as well. We didn't feel like crawling over the bricks, and we weren't very well equiped either, so we didn't explore the tunnels further, but we knew that we'd be going back for more. We covered the entrance with the pallet just in case anyone came along to fall down it.

The brick filled tunnel

Well, after that we thought we'd pop into the nearby laundry. There was a minor risk of asbestos, but we weighed up the risks and climbed through the kicked in panel on the door. Interestingly, it had been kicked in from the inside, so it could have been dwellers that caused it. We weren't sure what we were going to find in here, how big it was, or anything. The first view was of the blue cylinders that we had seen when we looked through a window of a nearby room. We found out that it is one of the biggest buildings and quite interesting.

The blue cylinders

To the left of these cylinders, there was a small room. Cylindrical holes in the floor and screw holes on the tiled wall suggest that it was once a toilet. Lot's of graffiti about condoms is scrawled on the walls, why I don't know. In one corner, a small workshop has been set up.

The blue cylinders

To the right of the cylinders are two big machines, steam presses or something. A lot of the pipes could be coated in asbestos, but they have been left alone so there is little risk.

The steam press

Leading off from this room is a doorway, going into a very big and long room, which must be the main part of the laundry. Skylights run along the centre of the roof, most of them have been smashed, allowing water and birds in.

The main laundry

A big washing machine

The first room that leads off from the laundry has a lot of weird concrete piers poking out from the walls, to hold the metal laundry trollies. A small weighbridge type scales is used to measure the weight of the laundry, although they don't work anymore. For some reason there is a big wooden sliding door, as for a loading bay, but there is no way to get the laundry trollies up to it because it is about 5 feet off the ground.

The trolley room

Further down, there are some side rooms, with smaller steam presses in them. Some of the patients clothes have been left behind, so we took some as souveneirs. They were clean, just a little bit musty. Probably waiting to be pressed before the hospital was closed.

The patients' clothes

One thing dominates this room, and that is the huge roller press in the middle of the room, about 30 feet across, and 30 feet long. I think that the plant room with the compressor powered this huge machine as they are very nearby. Most of the floors in the laudry are concrete, but around this heavy machine, they are made of wood, which is a bit strange.

The roller press

Down the end of the main section, there is another section, but this is almost empty apart from some bags of concrete and trollies. What looks like an office section is sectioned off with a glass partition. There were some interesting looking bits of paper, but the floor here was wooden and very rotten so I decided not to look in there.

The offices

We had another good look round, in all the side rooms. There seemed to be a lot of toilets about. This was the first place in the hospital where you thought about the fact that the hospital was working only 10 years ago. A lot of stuff remains as before, and you could quite often imagine the whole place coming back to life, despite the damage and damp. There are quite a few weird images, such as the way the wheelchair has been left in the picture below. I've just included some random pictures for interest here. The washing machine looks as if it was being used then everyone just left the place...

The offices

The offices

The offices

At the end of the laudry, there was a doorway blocked by a trolley. After getting through, you ended up in the corridors of the hospital. We thought we had probably already outstayed our welcome, so I just ran about taking pictures, and I can't really remember where anything is. Anyway, it was all in a pretty bad state, with ceilings coming in and the floors peeling up. However, once inside, none of the doors are locked, which is a definite advantage to us. I went up to the third floor up some stairs and walked in, and put my foot straight through the floor, so there is quite a bit of danger in exploring the upper floors.

One corridor

Another corridor

A portakabin kitchen

We left the fenced off bit of the hospital and decided to have a walk around to get some pictures of the whole place. Nothing much interesting popped up, we had a look at some outbuildings but didn't go it. I'll put some of them here so you can see what the rest of the hospital is like. The last image is of something weird. A metal cage is bolted to the wall, and a door leads out to it. It looks a lot like some of the high level walkways, but doesn't go anywhere.

A ward

The hospital is big...

The greenhouses

The chapel

A weird door

That was it for this journey, it was starting to get dark and we had done a lot of stuff.

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© Andrew Tierney 1998-2002