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Report - Pocock Brothers Padded Cell - Haslar Psychiatric Block - Nov 2014

Discussion in 'Noteworthy Reports' started by Speed, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Explored with @Oxygen Thief and @clebby

    A 350 mile round trip for a one room explore is probably a record for me but oh so worth it. As always i shall tell you a little story, a story of epic discoveries, unexplained thefts, lucky finds and many wasted hours all in search of another one of these fuckers! As always there's a moral to it, an underlying truth that should be obvious but probably won't be to all so listen well and you might learn something.

    Almost a little over 10 years ago today the first photos of a derelict Pocock padded cell appeared online. The recently closed West Park mental hospital in Epsom had been on the exploring radar for little more than a few months. The internet was still in its infancy when it came to UE, 28 days was yet to be conceived, the idea of finding places to explore from other explorers who were not you best mates was an alien one to most, we all drove around just looking for places, everywhere was new. The padded cell at West Park really became one of the first UE tourist attractions, suddenly everyone was talking about one thing to see at one place and everyone flocked to the same place to go see it. The hospital was easy at the time so this was no real bother but after a few months the foot fall of even a small band of explorers back then was taking its toll. The brass makers plate that made up the infamous spy hole mysteriously went missing. No one knew where at the time and no one to my knowledge really knows now. It just vanished sparking fear that it had simply been stolen and weighed in rather than ending up in a museum (personal or private!) that it deserved. It was this plate going missing that changed my outlook on exploring. Before this i had probably been under the illusion of the footprints and photos thing but that scenario just proved to me that sometimes its better to take than to leave, sometimes things are so abandoned and so important that they just shouldn't be left to the mercy of 'whatever' might happen to them in a derelict building. The building, the cell and the plate had been abandoned by the NHS 100%. There was no interest from them in preserving that cell as it should have been they just wanted rid, someone should have saved it.

    In the years that followed the UE community grew massively, asylums became the staple of Urban Exploring in this country and with the massive interest in them the race to find another Pocock padded cell was well and truly on. With every new asylum that closed down and became explorable there went with it a hope that we would find another one of these beauts tucked away forgotten about. It wasn't to be however. The asylums came and went. Rumors flew of what was hidden in various places, The well alarmed Lancaster Moor was supposed to contain a cell in the outer wards but it never meterialised. Harperbury was rumored to contain rows of the things, there was even alleged to be a photo of them but in reality we only fond one modern example in the whole hospital. At Hellingly the frame work that held the padding was all that remained and at Graylingwell only a door was found hiding away, abandoned in the steam tunnels.

    By 2010 its fair to say id given up pretty much all hope of finding another. All asylums were now well documented, even the ones that were still open and other possible locations like prisons and even schools seemed like they would all be too modernised to retain one. 2010 did however see the closure of Haslar Naval Hospital. Intrigued more by talk of decompression chambers than anything else i went down to Gosport that January to check it out and came away after 6-7 hours having had one of the best hospital explores i could hope to imagine. Some real exploration certainly got done! In that time we only skimmed over the site and i felt sure there was more to come LOTS more to come!

    So now we find ourselves at the end of 2014 nearly 5 years later. Yes that FIVE whole years! Countless people have followed me to Haslar but i can honestly say in that time ive not seen a single photo of anything we didn't see on our first 'quick recce'. For me its fucking disgrace to exploring how this place has gone. 5 YEARS and nothing. No reports of new outbuildings, Mortuarys, Towers, Churches, Boiler hoses, Tunnels, Wards oh yes and the fucking padded cell that's been sitting there all along just waiting for a REAL EXPLORER to open the fucking unlocked window and have a look whats inside the 'quite intriguingly named on every fire map in the place Psychiatric Block'.. When i first posted Haslar i expected people to be there exploring it not following me taking the same pictures i took and walking round the same corridors i found. I expected people to go there and do the rest, it was a golden opportunity (and still is for the most part!) for some local southern base explorers to get in there and find some shit for once but no its left to some guys from Birmingham to go down there and get it done and you know what after i press 'post thread' on this keys will be jangling in a thousand pockets of a thousand chumps who think going here and seeing what we saw yesterday is exploring. Masks or no masks, HDR or no HDR is simply isnt. Its tourism and its SHIT. Its following other people about to see what they found and to take the same photos as they took to show everyone else sweet fuck all they haven't seen before. Its pointless. Sure go here and see it. I urge you to, its probably your last chance but spare us the reams and reams of copy cat reports and 'art shots' because no one cares, you have missed the chance to truly feel lie you have explored, discovered, beaten everyone else to it or what ever else SHOULD motivate explorers.

    So maybe i should stop winging now and write something about the cell itself and how we came to find it. I essence we had a lead, the cell was mentioned on a Facebook page for retired nurses who lived at the hospital in this very building. G block as it was known was originally the navy 'Asylum' but for a short while became a nurses home. Its a miracle really that the cell survived this change. I think it could have been perhaps in part from the design of the place where the cell was actually built int the design of the building as opposed to the other examples out there where they appear to have been tailor made to just fit in a spare seclusion room. This not only made the cell a bit bigger then the other examples but it made it easy to shut away and forget about just like a cupboard or store room. It also made for some interesting additions such as a radiator behind the padding that vented through holes in the sloping corners of the cell.

    The find was really down to clebby. He spotted the post on facebook after researching a trip to the hospital (something that most people obviously don't bother with) and from that we found that there was a couple of pictures of it floating about online. Nurses even told of accounts of the public phone being in the small link room between corridor and cell during there time living there. I couldn't quite believe we had missed it for so long. We plotted a course there ASAP and got in without trouble. It was easy really, since my first trip all the razor wire had been removed off the fence making it a simple hop over, i felt a bit of an idiot for asking other for advice before the trip!

    The only disappointment for me was again the lack of makers plate, this was in the photos we had seen of the cell so we expected it to be there, maybe its been taken for safe keeping by someone, even by another explorer i wouldn't blame them after what happened last time! Then again i was glad of not having the face the dilemma of save/leave again. In the end security rocked up and busted as as we prepared to leave. Didnt really care as we had succeeded. 10 years of trying but finally succeeded, i can still smell it now! :)


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    #1 Speed, Nov 16, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
    BoroLad likes this.

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  2. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Couldn't agree more mate. Well said.

    Anyway, it was a good explore and good day. Thanks.
     
  3. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    Nice few photos there, that place is calling my name, and been meaning to get down thee for the last few years, just never seem to et round to it
     
  4. Gabe

    Gabe 28DL Regular User
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    its a good thing to see, and im glad someone has found something a little different from that place.
     
  5. Bugsuperstar

    Bugsuperstar Irresponsible & Reckless
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    Looks good Speed
     
  6. Boba Low

    Boba Low ____/
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    Enjoyed reading this, can't say im bothered too much about asylums and padded cells and things because they all happened a bit 'before my time' but your points about discovery and exploration are as true as ever, and I think in a way they apply to everything that has ever bean meaningfully fetishized by the 'ue crowd'. Anyone saying now that they need to see this, should probably ask themselves why, or at least feel like a chump when they post their Hdrs to Flickr and their FB 'photography page'...
     
  7. kevin arnold

    kevin arnold 28DL Member
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    great report, i like the pictures and write up a lot, couldn't agree more with it.
     
  8. bhg

    bhg In Search of Lost Time
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    great report and a very good write up.
     
  9. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Well, avoiding all of the controversial shit that this seems to have stirred up :eek: , I've gotta hand it to ya Speed, another epic report. Excellent words and snaps. Never a dull moment eh....... ;)
     
  10. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam 28DL Regular User
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    same tiny room yet a totally different look and set of photos on it :thumb
     
  11. tumbles

    tumbles Trip Hopping
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    Anyone still think there maybe an original Pocock still in situ at one of the live ones? Can't help thinking there might be one sat in Whitchurch!
     
  12. Fudge

    Fudge 28DL Regular User
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    Corrected for you there.
     
  13. tumbles

    tumbles Trip Hopping
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    Actually was quite convinced there was one at St Cadocs just never had the time to fully confirm my theory before it was time to leave!

    Had an email from a patient of WP recently that recalls that the one in Denton was still in use into the 1990s..
     
  14. TheTimeChamber

    TheTimeChamber The other one
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    |the one at Claybury was used right up until it closed as a safe space for a blind patient.
     
  15. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    This. I'm discovering new drinks almost every week & I'm happy :D

    Top stuff Speed, very much how I feel about places :thumb

    Although saying that, as I mentioned on here before, I'd love to read a report from anywhere, that shows how much fun & how happy the people were to be there. Let us know how excited you were/are by your visit & we'll probably read it & be happy for you rather than regurgitating the same history & the same shots. By the 3rd report from a place, with pretty much the same shots, the reports need something more IMHO, step up people, there's lots of fun to be had out there :thumb
     
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