It recently dawned on me that the blog has some glaring omissions. As a result, I am posting this report detailing a visit I made some time back but represents quite a personal milestone in my journey into the world of urbex photography.
Since I first gained an interest in urban exploration there were two sites in particular which captivated me. Pye, the oversize industrial playground now undergoing rapid demolition, and Sevs, the gigantic asylum site famed for its corridors and quirky security staff. Being inexperienced and without transport, I focused on smaller local sites in order to cut my teeth. Thoughts of ever getting myself to the two sites were pushed to the back of my mind as unrealistic.
Move on a year and a half and I had been well and truly bitten by the UE bug and interest had moved onto obsession. As I got to know more and more members of the community, travel became much more negotiable and I found myself arranging trips further and further afield. Suddenly Sevs seemed tantalisingly, finally, within reach. Doing them both in one weekend trip put a massive smile on my face.
Following our Pye explore (I am posting this somewhat out of order – I will report on Pye soon though), we drove across the country towards the beautiful and massive Sevs Lunatic Asylum, sleeping in a van parked in a supermarket car-park about half way there. The next day we completed the last leg of the journey, parked up and made our way to the perimeter on foot. Having heard some very off-putting stories about the high levels of security surrounding the site, our fears proved to be utterly unfounded. In we went and out came the cameras.
This bay window shot was one of the first photos about 3 rooms in. As it happens, I was so pleased with that single shot that it actually took pressure off – knowing that I had probably already got my killer shot so anything else was just a bonus.
Indoor garden – I walked through this 1st storey room bracing myself for potentially falling through to the room below – flooring should not really look like this. Luckily the flooring held out despite my size-11 boots.
Not being used to buildings on this scale, I had expected that we would more-or-less find our way around alright. Wrong! Within about 15 minutes I had already lost all my bearings resigned myself to aimlessly wandering the corridors and seeing where we ended up. Next time I will be taking a map for this maze.
If you’re anything like me, you like nothing more than delving into dark tunnel networks. The unmistakable sound of security guard Mike’s approaching footsteps prompted a speedy dash inside to avoid detection. As we explored we realised these tunnels covered the whole asylum site providing a handy and discrete way to navigate to different areas.
Not for want of trying, we were unable to make our way to the top of the water tower. There is always next time – the view would be amazing, I’m sure.
Is David Shrigley doing graffiti now?
As the light faded after several hours exploring the abandoned wards and offices, we ventured outside in an attempt to get ‘caught’ by the enigmatic Mike The Security Guard. After 30 minutes wandering and taking external shots, we saw Mike approaching…slowly – I think he was about 10 meters away before he noticed us…standing in plain view…and waving at him. :). Still, probably the nicest security guard you’ll ever meet – just a shame there are not more like him.
Long awaited, but lived up to its reputation. I was extremely pleased to be able to tick this place off my list.
Thanks for reading.