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Report - Greyfriars House (Northampton Bus Station), Northampton - Aug 2012

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by custarddoughnut, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. custarddoughnut

    custarddoughnut 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Hi there, it's about time for my first ever report. I've decided I don't have the balls (yet) for non-permission visits, although after today I can see the appeal: all the time one needs to get the right shot, no one saying 'You can't go in there'. That is not to say that my visit was disappointing. My guide was a member of the security team who was very knowledgeable about the site and very helpful. To him and my organising contact, I am most grateful.

    On to the history:

    Greyfriars House, located above Northampton Bus Station, was opened in 1976 at a building cost of £7.25m. The building comprises of a subterranean pedestrian entrance level, with a bus depot and numerous bus stops on the ground level above. At some height, the next floor up houses a car park which closed in 2007 due to dangerous chemicals leaking through the ceiling and damaging the paintwork of many cars. Above this car park is the interesting tale of the 155,000 sq.ft. of office space. Originally standing empty from the opening of the building until 1981 when council officials convinced a Dutch engineering firm Lummus to rent the building free for five years so long as they modernised the office space. Once their five years were up, Lummus pulled out of the UK and Barclaycard moved in. Barclaycard stayed until 1997: they moved out stating the building was not large enough any more and the rent of £1.8m (estimated) per year being too high.

    Since Barclaycard moved out, the building has been empty, save for the odd trespasser and the numerous pigeons. My guide showed me the areas people used to enter the building when it was in use and when it was not. From what I have seen on my visit, the only way in is with the key for the old service lift.

    The building was occasionally used for exams by the university (rumour) and is still used by Police for training sniffer dogs.

    In 2005 the building found fame on a Channel 4 programme, 'Demolition', and was described by presenter Kevin McLoud as "A great big mouth of Hell". Many people in town describe it as a pair of upturned skips. Ironically, the gardens in the centre resemble skips the correct way up, with the contents of the Town's garden rubbish contained.

    On to my visit, briefly scared myself when I bumped into a hoover, nearly wet myself when a couple of pigeons flew at me from the pigeon room (you couldn't open the door 'cause of the amount of pigeon droppings!), but thoroughly enjoyed myself. The kitchens, I'm told, were revamped 6 months before Barclaycard pulled out, with a brand new conveyor and industrial washing machine installed in the canteen as well as two never used walk in freezers. Much of the building is in serious disrepair and has unsafe chemicals leaking through floors. Stairwells to access each floor are completely unlit as is the kitchen area. The old server rooms were the location for every Barclaycard transaction at one point, now stripped, empty and quiet.

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    I have many more images, look for DarthMeeka on flickr
     
    #1 custarddoughnut, Aug 2, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012

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