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Report - Blundell and Howards Store, Newcastle - June 2015

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by WildBoyz, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    The Blundell and Howard's store, more commonly known as the Howard’s Store, was once one of the most popular department stores in Newcastle until it closed nearly thirty years ago. It is described by many as having a beautiful Georgian façade, and it reportedly holds onto a vast amount of potential for future use as another department store, accommodation or perhaps a hotel. Yet, despite several rumours that it is due to be renovated in a number of different multi-million pound deals, none of them have ever been initiated. Now, the building is completely derelict, although, as the photographs below demonstrate, a number of the floors continue to hold onto an interesting range of very random objects. The ground floor, in particular, appears to be a large graveyard for old fruit machines and other pub entertainment systems.

    A particularly interesting story also exists as regards the old Blundell and Howards store, since a gang of bank robbers used the abandoned site in 1998 to hammer and drill their way into a Barclay’s Bank that was located next door. First the group of men broke into the former department store and from the cellar they used ‘specialist equipment’ in their attempt to enter the main vault. Unfortunately for the group, they miscalculated its position and ended up tunnelling into Barclay’s boiler room. In a final act of desperation, the gang lay in wait for the manager to arrive at 8.30am, so they could force him to open the safe. The manager, however, refused and unanimously they made the decision to leave the premises before the police arrived. Although the raiders escaped empty handed, one of them, named William Stuart Laidlaw was caught five years on. Police allegedly extracted his DNA from a discarded cigarette butt which was left behind during the attempted heist. In court, in spite of being unsuccessful, the judge described the incident as ‘well-planned and persistent’. Laidlaw later committed suicide by hanging. He was discovered at 9.30am in HMP Acklington Prison hanging from a ligature in his cell. Before his arrest, Laidlaw had been planning to relocate to Thailand, but he was apprehended before he was able to board his flight; whether or not this had a part to play in his death remains unknown.

    Next then, in our early morning escapade across Newcastle, we found ourselves outside the old Blundell and Howards store; although we didn’t know that at the time. Getting inside wasn’t particularly challenging, even after no sleep, and once inside we were initially quite disheartened at the level of stripped-ness… Things did improve as we ventured downstairs however, as we began to find a good variety of very random things. An emptied suitcase belonging to a Mr. Daniel Charles lies on one of the floors, and strewn across the ground are a number of photo albums, love letters and other pieces of evidence that reveal plenty about his life. A lot of it seemed to be very personal stuff so we didn’t take many photographs of it. Further down, on the ground floor, is a fruit machine graveyard, as I’ve mentioned above, and, judging by the layers of dust, many of these machines have been there a long time; though some new additions appear to have been added in recent years. Of course, before anyone asks, they were indeed all empty as far as we could tell.

    Explored with Ford Mayhem and Soul.

    1: Early Morning Cloud Across Newcastle

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    2: Blundell and Howards Store

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    3: Next Floor Down

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    4: The Main Staircase

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    5: Inside the Lift Shaft

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    6: Another Empty Floor

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    7: Outside on Part of the Roof

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    8: The Life Centre

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    9: Newcastle City

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    10: Daniel Charles and His Suitcase of Secrets

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    11: Reading Through a Certificate Collection

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    12: Random Belongings and Photo Album

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    13: Fruit Machines

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    14: Little Devils Slotto

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    15: Many Years of Dust

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    16: The Graveyard of Fruit Machines

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    17: More Fruit Machines

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    18: More Random Bits and Pieces

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    19: The Floor with the Covered Sofa

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    #1 WildBoyz, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015

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  2. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking stuff, looks awesome :thumb
     
  3. UrBaN2k14

    UrBaN2k14 28DL Full Member
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    It's always nice seeing reports from my local city! Great work ;)
     
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  4. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Thanks :thumb

    Cheers. Not done a huge amount in Newcastle up until recently, but got plenty more to do there :thumb
     
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  5. UrBaN2k14

    UrBaN2k14 28DL Full Member
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    Decent! Looking forward to seeing your reports :thumb
     
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  6. Westernside

    Westernside 28DL Member
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    Awh - love seeing stuff from the North East - I've got so much exploring to do there! Trying to get my bucket list of County Durham ones done first!

    Great pics!
     
  7. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers :) Stick around, the next one is coming soon ;)
     
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  8. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    The North East has some decent locations. I've done few reports on some of the locations - plenty to stick on your list.

    Looking forward to seeing some reports.
     
  9. The Shepshed Diamondback

    The Shepshed Diamondback Slithering down a drain near you
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    looks great, I cant believe how many fruit machines are just sitting there.
     
  10. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Hundreds of them. Was quite a surprising find.
     
  11. FreshFingers

    FreshFingers Choose life, choose tunnels
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    Hit the Jackpot there lad!
     
  12. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Haha :p
     
  13. projectionman

    projectionman 28DL Full Member
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    great pictures there thanks for sharing
     
  14. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers. Glad you liked the report.
     
  15. The Shepshed Diamondback

    The Shepshed Diamondback Slithering down a drain near you
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    omg really hundreds? I wouldn't be able to leave them just from amazement.
     
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