explorations | 2003

This is a handy log of my explorations, ranging of one-off visits to small installations, through to multiple visits to large sprawling areas (the later which forms the basis of the project section of this website). It breaks it all down into handy "Day Trip" activities, a dossier of what can be seen in one day, and fun for all the family.

My diary of urban exploration if you like.

Which brings me onto another point. Some of these sojourns were simply recces, designed to scout potential targets out before attempting infiltration with a team (Severalls and Warley are high on the list to visit). Some were interesting in themselves (such as setting the scene at Cane Hill or discovering what was at Rauceby) but it you wanted the excitement, musty interiors and broken toilets, then you’d be disappointed.

Others were complete and utter disasters. The first return trip to Rauceby was an excellent example of things going completely wrong. I included it here to point out that urban exploration can be a frustrating exercise at times.

So, I’ve implement a handy scale so if you want the get to the fun stuff quickly then you can just select and click:

Recce. Scene setting stuff. No internal explorations.
Limited access but mostly walking around in the rain outside.
Full infiltration. Access all areas.

Severalls Lunatic Asylum 26|01|03 (With Ian and Smorgy)
After a recent arson attack, the plan was to get in and survey the extent of the damage. We also wanted to check out the main hall, one of the best areas in the hospital. Unfortunately there was still no easy ways in.

Severalls Lunatic Asylum 08|03|03 (With Mr. C)
If you keep trying, you will succeed. And that's what happened, for my third trip to Severalls asylum was a complete success, as we walked around its alternatively pristine and decaying rooms and corridors.

And never go urban exploring on windy ways - I lost count of the number of slamming doors, weird noises and creaking windows.

Whittingham Lunatic Asylum 04|04|03 and 07|04|03 (With Smorgy)
My research on Whittingham turned up one very interesting fact – apparently it was the largest asylum in Europe. This hospital used to look after 3000 patients.

I had found “The Daddy”.

(Cane Hill held a mere 2000. And Rauceby was a baby by comparison, having 400 to look after. But this place catered for 3000. It was “The Daddy”).

Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum 18|04|03 (Solo) Mostly demolished between 2008-2009
In celebration of one year of this web site, I returned to Cane Hill, hoping for a full infiltration, and a tour to match my original Grand Tour.

However, it turned out to match my first tour, a stroll around the perimeter fence. But this time, I took some better pictures.

Horton Lunatic Asylum 18|04|03 (With Mr. C) Demolished in 2003
I met Mr.C whilst taking pictures of Cane Hill, and after being unable to find an easy way in, decided to cut our losses and head off to one of the most overlooked and undocumented areas for urban exploration. Because about ten miles from Cane Hill lies the Epsom Cluster - five mental hospitals waiting to be explored.

This brief tour covers four of them.

West Park Lunatic Asylum 18|04|03 (With Mr. C)
The final hospital in the Epsom Cluster was intact, dilapidated and closing down. Our recce was very successful, with partial infiltration into several areas - this one looks potentially very exciting.

Severalls Lunatic Asylum 07|06|03 (With Mr. C)
It was time to go back to Severalls - I had unfinished business with that water tower. But this tour turned out very different - for we looked inside a couple of villas before exploring the industrial heart of the hospital and part of its extensive tunnel network.

Paddock 12|08|03 (With Nick Catford)
The BBC World Service were preparing a program on urban exploration and were looking for interviewees. So, after agreeing, the small matter of a suitable venue needed deciding. Tunnels would be best - and Nick Catford of Subterranea Britannica suggested Paddock.

Rauceby Lunatic Asylum 16|08|03 (With Smorgy and Phil) Demolished/Redeveloped in 2006
Finally, finally, finally we got inside. And we found one of the best preserved asylums I have ever visited. Sneaking and peeking, we covered a lot of ground internally, getting to see the illusive main hall and water tower.

But, it was also pretty unnerving as well, with several dashes outside. Rauceby is just too quiet.

Cane Hill Bunker 17|08|03 (With Smorgy, Phil, Offkilter and Laurence)
It was time to visit one of the neglected parts of Cane Hill - neglected that is by Urban Explorers. And who can blame them? A massive Victorian Lunatic Asylum sits high on the hill looking wonderful - who’d want to get all grubby diving into a hole in the ground? We would!

Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum 17|08|03 (With Smorgy, Phil, Offkilter and Laurence) Mostly demolished between 2008-2009
And after getting grubby in the Cane Hill Bunker, where better to freshen up than Cane Hill asylum itself? And for the first time, I gave a guided tour of the asylum, as we worked our way through its battered corridors.