Imagine this scenario if you will. You travel the length of England, under the Channel, through France and on to the opposite side of Belgium…squashed up with two other blokes in the back of a Ford Focus. Having set up your tent in the bitter cold, your group journey out again in search of the first stop of the trip – an abandoned hospital. You drive, you search, you consult the satnav, you consult your notes, you drive some more, you search some more, you swear a bit. Eventually you get out and walk around a small hamlet on a hill telling each other “Well, it’s supposed to be here…I think” and “Is that it? Wait no, that’s a post office”.
After a while you start explaining to the documentary film crew you brought that “It normally goes a lot better than this, I don’t know what’s gone wrong.” and giving a slightly embarresed shrug of the shoulders. The group climb back into cars tired from travel and disapointed with the uninspiring start to a five day urbex road trip. Engines start, cars leave and a village scratches it’s head trying to figure out why it was just overran with a large group of photographers wandering in circles but taking not a single picture.
A sorry-looking building is spotted as we drove away. Does it have the character of the hospital we were searching for? Was it on our list at all? Does it look more than a redbrick shell? No, no and no. Still, it was a building, it was abandoned and, judging by the state of the place, entry was not going to be a problem.
Sometimes you find a site almost perfectly preserved and, other times, you can struggle to see past the broken windows and rubble. Still, when faced with a building like this I see it more as a challenge. Anyone can take a nice photo of a nice manor house. However, taking a pleasing photograph of somewhere like this requires more work and more skill.
Much of the building was stripped bare but there were still nice little corners here and there which acted as some consolation given our poor luck finding the hospital. Not being ones to admit defeat we did eventually track down the elusive Red Firetruck Hospital as it is known and that I will detail in a future post.