Sunday, 31 January 2010

"Rope Burn" Culvert

This 1km long culverted section of the River Medlock in Central Manchester is also known as "5th Ave Culvert" and "Umissed".

Long, dark, and almost featureless concrete.

Visited with Gone...

...and Sui...

Why did we name it "Rope Burn"? Well, isn't it obvious?

Access was A-Team-esque. Except instead of using skill we made the most of gravity. This would become problematic as we couldn't get out the same we came in.

To escape, we had to cross the river and walk through the knee-deep Medlock at 1.30am with the outside temperature at -2C.

A bank of silt leading to a ladder was our refuge. Only this stinking pile of sand was also knee-deep. EEEEUUURRRRGGGHHHH!

What an awesome excursion!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bunker Drain, Warrington - Jan 2010

Visited with Gone, Ojay and Rookie.

Ojay and Rookie


As Gone opened the manhole cover to get back out he shouted "There's a bus!". A bus had stopped right next to the manhole and all of its passengers were staring at Gone as he emerged from this drain. Subtle!

Bunker was also the birthplace of "Wet drain free climbing".

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

BBC MediaCity - The Heart - Jan 2010

After some time at the Lowry footbridge, we decided to walk over to this new development and scope it out.

Security was, as to be expected, tight. But as these pictures show, it wasn't watertight ;)

Fancying our chances, we went for it. After infiltrating the site itself, access to the 25 floor "Heart" apartment building was as inviting as an ice cold cider at the end of a long summer's day.

The building is being completed from the bottom to the top. From about Floor 22 upwards there's nothing. The five floors below are part-fitted with appliances waiting to go in. Below there, most of the apartments are presumably finished as the doors to these rooms are locked.

27 floors above Manchester, things are incredibly calm.

You feel so safe, yet so precariously in danger at the same time.

Visited with Gone. Check out his shots... Gone's Blog.

edit: We're famous...

Football elbows Urbis

The National Football Museum is relocating to Manchester's Urbis.

A city which struggles to separate its identity from football has decided to spend up to £8million of public money on ensuring the opposite happens. The National Football Museum ( will be relocated from Preston to Urbis in Manchester's city centre.

Designed by Ian Simpson (who also designed Beetham Tower), Urbis opened in 2002 as a "cultural museum" in the heart of the redeveloped city centre. After a year or two of ambiguous purpose, Urbis eventually found its feet and the visitors started to come through its doors. Indeed, last year was its most successful, with more than 250,000 people visiting its numerous exhibitions.

Despite it being the aesthetic equivalent of chemical self harm, Urbis holds a position of significant cultural importance in Manchester. There have been exhibitions on The Hacienda, Punk Rock, Hip-Hop and Urban Living and development. Last year, the museum even engaged with the emos who famously loiter in the adjacent Cathedral Gardens by curating an exhibition on Manga cartoons (Japanese cartoons popular within the emo subculture). Not only has Urbis documented the social development of Manchester, but it has actively engaged with it.

The Emos who spend their time nearby are seen as a social problem by many who are intimidated by their presence (despite the subculture's generally pacifistic and self-centred nature). Council dispersion orders and the like only add to the feelings of alienation and distrust of authority that many members of subcultures often feel (Massey, 2006). The fact that Urbis sought to actively engage with these people shows its awareness of contemporary social issues and is to be commended.

The National Football Museum (which drew 100,000 people through its doors last year) had been struggling for funding and was facing closure. That is until Manchester offered an £8million deal to tempt it from Preston to Manchester.

Despite the fact that Urbis welcomed two and a half times the number of visitors the National Football Museum did last year, Manchester has opened its arms to a city-centre Mecca for visiting drunken football fans whilst giving a cultural institution with an active role within the community and space that it occupies the boot.

The Football Association has already pledged to commit £10million to develop a football museum at Wembley Stadium. Why then, has the City of Manchester spent £8million of its own money on the same thing? Are they going to share the artifacts between sites? This massive capital investment, despite its philanthropical nature, will take years to see a return on. Meanwhile, Urbis is kicked to the kerb - evicted with no plans for its future.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

"EW" Tower

Having spotted some scaffolding, a quick recce in the day pointed to the most obvious of access points. It looked easy. A little too easy...
Halfway up, we froze as we saw blue, flashing lights approaching. Imagine our relief when it turned out to be an ambulance.
Partners in civil offenses, Rookie and Gone.

The scaffolding went to the top floor. But not the roof. Luckily there was access to another adjacent roof. That's where these pictures are from.
Conditions were horrible and rainy. This tiny flat roof was covered in water and the rain was getting onto my lens.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Following on from yesterday's post, here's what the drain looks like on the inside. Except it looks nothing like this. It's pitch black.
Gone gets the best view...

Visited with Rookie and Gone.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Cave Clan

This morning, as I made my way down to a culvert I had yet to explore, I spotted graffiti left there by the Cave Clan.
You will struggle to read about the history of Urban Exploration and not come across the Cave Clan. This Australian group of are renowned worldwide in the UrbEx community for their exploration of underground spaces. Imagine my surprise when I saw their tags right here in Manchester.
These pictures were taken with a long exposure. It was pitch black in there. Expect a return visit with some torches. Watch this space...

In the meantime, check them out:

Monday, 11 January 2010

Great Northern Tower. January 2010.

Construction was completed in 2007 on this 25-storey apartment building. The elevators are coded to ensure the privacy of residents. Guess who had to take the stairs to the top.
Seventy-two metres above Manchester at sunset on a cold winter's day.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Guardian Exchange

Hidden between the Town Hall, Chinatown and the Gay Village is the Guardian Telephone Exchange.
Built to withstand an atomic blast and keep communications from Manchester clear in the event of nuclear war, its location was clearly chosen to ensure the safety of Manchester's politicians, Chinese, and gays.

Castlefield Viaduct. January 2010.

After chancing a forty foot drop, we hid from a loitering police van, ducked from passing trams and got asked "Are you fucking stupid?".

Built c.1880. Grade II listed.