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Hong Kong Styles

Took a bit of doing, but I got to HK. Fish went last year on a stopover, giving me the push to book the flights. In the end 11 of us met up and we didn’t stop for five mins.

Everything’s here for ya – rooftops, drains, metro and even decrepit walls & towers.

Most of the hipsters don’t touch metro unless they’re in Paris, it was pretty nice to get involved with a fresh system. Not to say that its untouched, DrH has been smashing existing and future metro projects – keep ya eyes peeled here for new developments.

The storm drain systems are huge as you might have guessed. Felt like the first drains I did – shorts or rolled up kex and bare feet!

Not forgetting big big rooftops. Climbing 40+ flights is tough at home, different game here. Melting.

After leaving HK we grabbed a connection to Beijing, spending a few days in the manic streets and climbing about on the great wall.

Shouts to DrH, he’s doing HK as it should be done. Thanks to the lot of ya!

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Bank House, Manchester

I’ve managed to sit down for ten minutes so I thought I better drop an update, keep it switched on as I will schedule some more new posts!

 Bank House looks a bit like something a child has built on minecraft, as seen here from a snap I grabbed around six years ago from a rooftop across the road. Tweek gave me a roll of slow fuji reala, so these are all on that.

180ft/13 floors and it’s dead centre in the middle town. Thanks to Stu, Jack and his bird – I’m sure I caught your name… The two below are from an equally milky night in Sheffield.

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Forum/ABC/Cannon Cinema, Liverpool


On the way back to the car in the early hours, we walked past this place. I filled Nick in on what we had tried in the past but everything had failed. We said we would come back soon, for one more go and it went smoothly. I’d always wanted this place, it was one of the buildings in Liverpool I had on my radar when I first started exploring.

With Nick’s knowledge he sorted the work lights and we grabbed a few photographs. It looked more fruitful in meths photos from 2007 but sadly it’s fairly gutted. The floors, seats and walls are either water damaged, collapsed in places or completely removed. 99% of the equipment is removed with only damaged bits and pieces remaining.

We did some hella tight squeezing so if you’re big there aint no chance. After weighing up the alarm box, we messed with the lights, checked up and down a million stairs, dived in a couple of the rooms and up to the roof. The first photograph below is from Liverpool’s Libraries & Archives/National Museums Liverpool, taken in 1949.

‘Opened as the Forum Cinema on 16th May 1931 with Clifford Mollison in “Almost A Honeymoon”. It was designed by William R. Glen and Alfred Ernest Shennan for Associated British Cinemas(ABC) at a cost in excess of 200,000 pounds. A massive six-storey curved Portland stone facade remains a distinctive and highly prominent feature of Lime Street – one of Liverpools major thoroughfares. The foyer was lined with Italian marble. The auditorium, in a semi-Atmospheric style, depicted Venetian scenes, contains an amazing proscenium treatment consisting of a vast curved canopy over the arch and the side boxes. Indirect light light was a feature, except for a huge ‘sunburst’ light fitting above the balcony.

A shallow stage was provided together with a Compton 3Manual/12Ranks organ on a lift in front of the stage, which was opened by organist Reginald Foort. Because of the relatively small width of the site the 1,835 capacity was achieved by having a huge circle containing 750 of the seats.

It was re-named ABC from 17th February 1971 and due to its opulence and excellent location the cinema survived intact until 1982 when it was converted to a three screen operation by installing two mini-cinemas under the balcony seating 272 and 217 seats. From 1986 it had been re-named Cannon. It closed on 29th January 1998 with a special screening of Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”, when a special admission fee of 50p was charged.

There were proposals to convert the building into a conference centre, but these stalled and the building has stood empty since closing. Proposals were put forward in late-2007 to convert it into a ‘boutique’ hotel and supper club, with plans going to Liverpool City Council in July 2008 and if permission was granted, work could start in late-2008. The building remained unused in April 2012. It is Grade II Listed building.’ – cinematreasures.org.

 

Shouts to Nick!

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Boucle Villiers/Van Dyck, Paris

 

Before the days of the RATP, the CMP (compagnie du chemin de fer metropolitan de paris) were running the joint. They formed in 1899 and the construction of a metropolitan railway using electric traction was well underway. 

 

The 19th July 1900 brought the opening of Line 1 and within two months eighteen stations were open for the public. The first trains to serve this line were wooden M1 and MM1 stock but after 13 years and a large fire they were phased out in favour of the Sprague-Thomson or ‘Sprague’ stock. These first arrived in grey but were quickly painted a brighter yellow, the M.473 which sits just above this text is in its original colour and has been freshened up in later years with a couple of fat caps. After reaching Villiers station the old Sprague’s would disappear into the loop, reappearing soon afterwords to continue on their journey along line 3.

 

Back to ‘La Boucle’ or ‘The Loop’ to you lot. Under the feet of hundreds of runners that carry out countless laps of the park above, lies a network of tunnels and rooms. The loop was converted over the years as war time shelters, used as RATP training offices up until the 1980’s and in more recent years a paradise for writers. Before reading dsankt’s post on the Paris metro in 2010 I had never really considered running metro. What I did know was that it cemented the need to find some of those empty stations and if I was lucky the mythical trains sleeping in the loop!

 

photo: Nick

 

xxx

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North Sea Producer/Dagmar Maersk, Middlesbrough

 

This thing was massive. I’ve only ever messed around on a passenger ferry and the odd frigate, the next one will have to be something special to better this.

 

Converted to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel in 1997 the North Sea Producer is currently floating next to Middlesbrough F.C. Built in 1983 the NSP’s original name was the Dagmar Maersk and I’m sure you’ve got time for the odd fact – 99,800t deadweight, accomodates 73 crew and is 700ft long. With the rising cost of oil and the cost of operating something of this size, I’m sure this will lead to her demise.

 

After 9 of us tried our best to creep around Redcar, which somehow we managed with out getting mega caught. We returned to M’boro twice for this mammoth, eventually getting on board on our second visit. fb wanted engines and I wanted photographs of the flame tower so you’ll find those below. I’m not sure what Nick wanted, he just got stuck in the seatbelt on the lifeboat and tried to paddle his way out.

 

Shouts to fb, Bigjobs and Nick.

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Saint-Martin Metro Station, Paris

 

Another of the empty stations in Paris and one of the biggest I’ve visited. If you’re not paying attention you’ll find that it’s sometime difficult to work out whether approaching trains are heading down towards the platform that you’re on, the parallel track running across from you or the line running upstairs/downstairs.

 

This place first emptied out at the start of the second world war, spent a couple of years in use after reopening and then closed its doors for good. It has been used to hide the homeless, sell Nissan Qashqais and to advertise for sportswear giant Nike.

 

It has been over two years since I have kicked about on dusty platforms in Paris, if you’re interested check out Croix-Rouge & Arsenal, a couple of photographs from a jaunt in 2013.

 

Hold tight for more Parisian metro!

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Paddy’s Wigwam/Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool has always been my favourite city to explore, I’ve always liked the birds and it aint half bad for a skate either. I started out down on the docks with Rookie, Appo, Sui, OBO, Niall, AT & Joe climbing into buildings and up the sides of anything we could. The first raid was back in 2009 when 8 of us climbed up that mad curved ladder in the middle of the day at Tate & Lyle.

Since then I’ve taken on the metro, collected a handful of towers and skated the tallest building but she always offers more to the right client. This one was always on that list – there were an older set of snaps from Snappel and SL, the story of how Fish hit the deck trying to master the slopes and finally a couple of the SNC lads flying contraception over the top to aid them in a successful climb.

Armed with a couple of ideas we set off and before we knew it we were stood inside that cone like crown at the top, sweating and talking about when the first service of the day starts.

‘See ya later laa’

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Cliffe Fort & Westwood Mine

I’ve never been an avid mine explorer, I’ll go for a poke about if we’re in the area and that’s pretty much it.

The first time I visited a Wiltshire mine was for a party, the second time was for a party and oddly enough the third time was for a party.  I’d never been to Cliffe Fort, an ideal place for a shindig so long as you watch the holes!

Shouts to Maniac ❤

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Manchester Cathedral

This post originates in 2012, when the photograph above was taken.

Sometime earlier that year I was stood in a lengthy queue in the Spar on Oxford Road when something caught my eye. On the front of the MEN was a photograph of the cathedral with some sort of vandalism caption. Following the instructions to page six I was greeted with a short article about how some wrong-uns had nicked something from the old girl.

It wasn’t the best time to tackle it but it stuck in my mind for a few months, long enough for us – Tweek and Sho included to walk past and climb up onto a lower roof. After a peep over the edge the cathedral had had some new security measures installed, two PIRs.

We couldn’t get any further across or upwards so we jumped back down and said if she ever had a bit of work done we’d climb the scaffolding for an easy ride. Three years on and it happened, sadly without the tower.

This one was relaxed with no fuss. One of those watch and waits, just for that one snap in the rain, we’ve all done ’em.

xxx

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The Alpini Routes, Italy

 

I ain’t updated here for a while, so you can have some snaps from the dolomites. Last year we dipped our feet, this year we followed the routes from start to finish, spent a lot of time in hammocks and the odd night in a mountain refuge.

During the Italian Front from mid 1915 the mountain warfare or Alpini troops fought at high altitude and in freezing conditions across the alps. As the conflict was in such a difficult area both Italian and Austrian forces built huts, emplacements, lookouts and aided routes for the troops crossing and fighting in the mountains.

In the 1930’s the Club Alpino Italiano set out to restore many of the routes and huts described above as these were abandoned after the war. The ropes were replaced with steel cable and wooden pegs with metal pegs, providing some of the via ferrata routes that you can climb today.

After doing some diggin’ last year we picked a couple of routes to follow and jumped on a cheap ryanair flight to Bergamo.

 

After a couple of pizzas and a wash in lake garda we were sorted. Everything you can see here was shot on 100 speed Ektar. Shouts to Andrew, Cathy, Maniac, Jimmy, Amy, Bigjobs and Hils!

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Cains Brewery, Liverpool

My first encounter with Cains was a few years ago sat in The Pilgrim. After sitting on an old isca selle saddle that refused to soften up after thirty years a rest stop was earned and this is where we ended up. ‘What doesn’t taste awful… and is cheap’ someone said, Cains.

On a complete off chance we were in Liverpool and parked close by, in a now up and coming area full of bars and restaurants. A while ago many of the firms sold up, so warehouse space became cheaply available, some art types even built a fullpipe inside one of the warehouses that I managed to damage myself on quite a few times.

After many mergers and take overs Cains finally bowed its head and closed up shop in 2013, discussions are taking place for a tourism, retail and leisure hub at the site.

I haven’t spied too many photographs of the stanhope street site online, the place has undergone a major strip down since 2011 however if you wish to check out some more photographs follow the link to these pair – Speed Clebby.

 

Shouts to fish for dressing up in the Cains crew gear and tasting some of that old ass beer that was lying around!

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Co-Operative Hanover Building, Manchester

 

Tweek has this one covered 100%. So I’ll let him roll this one out too ya!

 

The photograph above and one below are mine. The rest under the line, along with the words are from T.

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‘A few years ago now, Gone and I tailgated our way in through the front doors of the Dantzic Building, one of the many buildings owned and operated by the Co-Operative Group at their Manchester headquarters. We darted straight past a confused receptionist on the front desk and started descending the first staircase we could see. The echo of the woman’s voice followed us, “has anybody seen two little boys run through here?”. Despite her obvious error in referring to two 6ft-bearded-20-somethings as ‘little boys’, she had at least done her job of seeing us and flagging the security breach. We knew we were on borrowed time, but it didn’t prove to matter much, as once we’d made it to the basement level of the beautifully-tiled staircase, we were met with a locked door that required a fob to continue.

Some rather suspect mumblings were uttered once we reconvened with the lady at reception, claiming we were lost and looking for a different insurance and banking-related building… i’m sure very convincing given how dishevelled we both looked in trainers and jeans. We didn’t realise we’d need a pass to get out! Thankfully, a Co-Operative employee put his pass up to the doors to exit and we could finish spouting rubbish excuses at her and scarper before a rather more daunting security encounter took place.

“We’re just looking for the Hanover building… on Dantzic Street?”

“Well this is Dantzic Street, but this is the Dantzic Building. There is no Hanover Building on Dantzic Street. The Hanover Building is on Hanover Street.”

“Yeah, kinda makes sense, well, it’s not this one anyway, so, erm, bye then”

We were clearly jumping the gun attempting to access the tunnels that interconnect the various Co-Op owned buildings when the premises were still occupied. But the glimpse of those tiles always peaked our interest. I’ve spent more time than I care to mention trying to access various parts of the Co-Op; sidestepping closer to the smokers outside Federation trying to tailgate into the clocktower stairwell; watching the hefty cameras track NickUK’s every movement as he tried to climb down into some service areas; listening to some of fb’s ludicrous plans on surmounting the CIS Tower (which he’ll probably end up doing), and one afternoon; with a fire engine pulling up alongside us, trying to talk Gone out of following firemen into the ground level of the same building.

“What you on about, man? What’s wrong with you?”, is what HE said to ME!

In 2013, the Co-operative Group colleagues started the migration to former SNC-playground One Angel Square, and Hanover now belongs to the NOMA regeneration scheme. As part of the plans, Hanover Building is the first of the listed buildings to be renovated.

Attempts were made recently by Gone and some others to get down and finally spy these tunnels while the Hanover building was scaffed with many windows left open. Access was very simple, but getting down past the ground floor required passing PIRs situated at the bottom of each staircase, and after setting them off and hearing sirens, that particular attempt ended abruptly.

A short-while later, Gone spoke to fb and myself about going again with a slightly more refined plan. We went for a nosey without Gone and had a similar experience, but crafted some potential solutions. One very simple method ended up working.

We’d spent so much time and thought on just getting down to the basements, that when we actually made it, we were hideously unprepared. Before we got down, we didn’t armour ourselves by revising even the crudest of plans of the tunnels that are available, which made locating where they ought to be quite difficult. Do your research kids, save yourself time. There are reportedly 6 tunnels connecting the basements of Old Bank, Hanover, Dantzic, Federation, E Block and the CIS Tower. Probably the two most notable, the tunnel between Dantzic and the CIS Tower and the tunnel that connects Hanover to Old Bank (and subsequently New Century Hall) we failed to locate. We managed to pass from the Hanover/E Block basements under Federation Street and into the basement of the Federation and Dantzic Buildings, from there we found filled in tunnels and blocked off areas behind padlocked doors that alluded to tunnels. Many areas were sealed off for asbestos removal and obviously we didn’t go interfering with those. It’s quite hard to retrospectively work out what you checked and what you didn’t, trying to position yourself on a map from your memories of when you turned left or right, etc. We were fairly thorough, but there is always potential for opportunities to go unnoticed, or even for the work to open up new areas as time goes on. In that sense, this report can be viewed as a lead. Especially if some of the other buildings open up from above ground’.

‘Hanover is forged from two original buildings, E Block, a Co-operative Wholesale Society Drapery warehouse constructed in 1904 and Hanover, added in 1909 to create office and additional warehouse space. It was designed by Co-operative Wholesale Society architect F. E. L. Harris and was built using over 1.5 million bricks and the newest construction techniques of its time. The building was listed as a Grade II building in 1988.


Originally, there was another floor which housed the Mitchell Memorial Hall – named after John Thomas Whitehead Mitchell, the third CWS President. The grand, top floor meeting hall was well known to Co-operators in its day, but was destroyed in the Manchester Blitz of 1940 and never rebuilt’.

 

Credit to Tweek, a don of film photography and a write-up king. G.

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The TBM/Trafford Storm Relief, Manchester

First off, the top photo is of me, but Tweek snapped it.

 

After a photograph of the innards of a meaty looking tunnel boring machine winged its way to my computer screen, I jumped in the car with my accomplices and ended up in Trafford. Now Trafford the area or at least the name has a reputation in the football world but that’s boring stuff, so I’ll breeze past that.

I met up with Tweek and Lauren down by the Hilton hotel, drove the short distance and after a few minutes of trudging around in the mud we were peering down into a massive concrete hole. Luckily for us the stairs were still rigged and with an aluminium clang our feet landed at the bottom. 

 

With the bright lights on full power there isn’t anywhere to hide, not like you would need too I guess. If someone was to look down into the huge mouth, they would spot three small figures being swallowed by the concrete bowels.

 

 

 

The mini tracks run mini trains and the TBM runs Windows XP.

 

For giant Spanish TBM’s click here, but if your interest is more in the way of the miniature trains and miniature tunnels then click here.

xxx

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Złota 44, Warsaw

This place is meant to be decked out with a 10,000 bottle wine cellar, private cinema, 80ft swimming pool and the HMS – the home management system, which facilitates control of the air conditioning, roller blinds, heating, illumination and allows order placing to local restaurants and other services.

 

Not bad eh, shame the project has pretty much gone bust, no pizzas for you.

 

We had gone to Poland in search of drains and ended up 630ft in the sky on the first night. Meeting up with the MSP hero Thelma, we ended up eating like kings and got sloshed for the rest of our time there. #britsabroad.

 

Shouts to Tweek, MD & Thelma ❤