Cannon Brewery Visit: Part one
Being relatively new to exploration my first real visit (other than to do a quick scout round the perimeter) to the well trod Cannon Brewery was a first for me in that entry was clearly going to involve a little more thought than visits of the (more or less) walk in of the street variety.
I duly arrived at said Brewery complete with butterflyâ€™s and sweaty palms fully expecting to have to perform some sort of feat in the ninja stylee in order to gain access only to discover that this had been made somewhat easier when I discovered that a certain section of the building had been liberated from its moorings (now sealed off). It was clear that this proved helpful to many urbexers as I saw about 4 groups wandering around inside â€“ a busy day for a derelict brewery somewhere in the middle of Sheffield.
As I emerged into the light I immediately felt comfortable â€“ probably because so many urbexers were wandering around all of whom were polite and friendly. I felt I could have wandered around quite happily all day â€“ important when you are on your own and lugging around expensive photographic equipment. Looking around at the various buildings from this level I could see why this place is so popular â€“ lots of fire escapes leading to mysterious places, oddly shaped buildings reminiscent of Mervin Peaks Ghormanghast and endless dark and mysterious doorways promising much to the explorer. There also seems to be a connection between Cannon Brewery and rain as most of the photos I see all seem to be taken during occasions when itâ€™s pissing down (as it was when I arrived!)
I began by looking around the ground level area â€“ lots of nice examples of street art, some of it quite amusing. One or two that stood out for me was the â€˜Misoâ€™ tag next to a door leading to oblivion which begs the question how on earth did it get there? My best guess is that she (assuming this is the Miso from the Ukraine?) suspended herself from the roof armed with an elongated paint roller â€“ either that or the tag was painted from a rope ladder suspended from a hot air balloon! I confess I am as much in awe of street artists who paint in the seemingly most unreachable of places as I am of explorers who can gain access to the most (seemingly) secure of buildings. Also loved the pink â€˜delirium tremensâ€™ elephant (obligatory?) , one of the green bottles which I managed to find near one of the roofs (several months too late even if I had been lucky enough to locate the other nine!) and the Anubis tag adorning one of the roofs.
One thing that I always like to do on a visit is to spend a few moments reflecting on the building during itâ€™s heyday when it was filled with vibrant energy; workers going about their daily business, the ever present hum of machinery, the dynamics of a busy workforce. Where are these employers now? It did occur to me though - having wandered through cellars more suited to the hunchback of Notre Dame, spiral staircaseâ€™s leading downwards with barely enough room for a hobbit and iron girders above stairways threatening to crack the skulls of all but the most wary explorer that the past workforce must at least have consisted of a sizeable contingent of dwarves.
Another thing that surprised me is the blue door which can be seen from outside the building next to the MISO tag. I had expected this to be well and truly sealed up but no - itâ€™s wide open. OK I guess weâ€™re not supposed to be in there in the first place + I doubt anyone could walk through it by accident but itâ€™s worth noting for future reference.
"Thanks for coming - are you OK to see yourself out"?
Down below in the cellars seems to be the â€˜must seeâ€™ area as I saw several people wandering around down there. This is a great explore with loads of nooks and crannies and would make a great set for a horror movie â€“ even I managed to scare someone half to death when I walked around a corner while shining my Maglite into my face to check the batteries. I was also intrigued to see three people sitting and chatting to each other at the end of the tunnels! There is something extremely something surreal about the sight of three people having coffee and sandwiches by torchlight in the (almost) pitch black cellars of a derelict brewery!
Leaving the site (or trying to) was not as straightforward as I had imagined as I was struggling to find the place where I originally enteredâ€“ a bit embarrassing when you consider that for most people the problem is one of trying to get in! My problem was solved when I saw two people at the gate asking how to gain access. I passed on my info and they agreed to make a lot of noise on the way in so that I could actually get out!
On my return I stopped for a quick recce at Stanley tools seeing as it was only a few yards up the road and was surprised to see a coach parked in, what would have been (I guess) the staff car park â€“ are they now bussing urbexers in from other areas?
Visit: Part two (with Snotrocket)
Having seen barely half of what I hoped to see during my last visit â€“ a result of doing too much photography and not enough sightseeing â€“ I made a second visit a few days later accompanied by Snotrocket. I noticed that the place was much quieter than on my first visit â€“ I assume because access was not quite as straightforward as it had been the on the previous occasion. I also noticed that it had been turned into a skate-park!
We began by wandering around the open area visible from the main gate. Great (at least for me) to see tons of rubble, smashed glass and broken windows, busted furniture, puddles reflecting the various buildings and of course the usual scattering of graffiti. These are the kind of environments I really enjoy â€“ makes me feel like Iâ€™m caught in the middle of an apocalyptic nightmare. It also wasnâ€™t long before we found evidence of squatters. I wanted to grab a quick photo of Snotrockett in - what I guess passed as the living room - consisting as it did of a scattered beer cans, drugs paraphernalia and a busted sofa â€“ but decided to move on â€“ the area was someoneâ€™s home after all.
"It wasn't long before we found evidence of squatters"
Moving on from the open area we wandered upstairs and down for 2-3 hours surrounded by nothing more than a creepy silence broken only by the occasional flapping sound of a pigeon, the creek and groan of rotting floorboards and the rustle of a skulking Pikey it was good to see a group of skaters making their way in (with â€“ I hasten to add â€“ much more finesse and dignity then was managed by either Snotrockett or myself!). They told us how they used the area as a skate-park but were now leaving the equipment out as it was heavy and cumbersome. They also told us how to reach some of the higher and more interesting areas with which we departed and continued towards our next steel ladder!
Having had a good scout round the roof area we made our way past the skaters. I had intended to have a quick look at them in action and maybe say â€œHiâ€ â€“ unfortunately the moment was ruined somewhat when in my haste to look cool & dignified I slipped in a patch of mud. I tried to save my dignity by making some sort of joke about practising skating but this is difficult when you actually look like a helicopter taking off sideways.
All in all though this visit was deffo more interesting than my first - I had inadvertently left the best till last â€“ fantastic street-art, amazing views from the roof (which seem to indicate that the surrounding area is adorned with derelict factories), lots of nooks and crannies, surreal sights like light rays streaming onto piles of old beer barrels, the fermenting area which is a must see â€“ not to mention that double doorway with the stairs leading down with no signs of how the door was ever shut! (see photo).
Shut the door on your way out!!!
All in all one of the best visits I have ever been on and will definitely be returning again.
Thanks for looking!
On our way back we nipped up to Stanley Tools to check it out for a future visit. Unfortunately it was straight into the car park and straight into trouble. I had made the mistake of driving through the gates and into the car park â€“ thinking that no one except explorers/Squatters/Pikeys etc would ever be in the vicinity when we spotted a guy in an unmarked white van drive around the corner from the back of the factory. As soon as he saw us he slowed down and dealt out a dose of stinkeye. Since I hadnâ€™t intended to stay for a visit anyway we made to drive out of the car park and as I did so motioned for him to drive past â€“ he continued to fix us with a menacing stare. I gestured a thankyou and drove on (which hopefully made me look like a motorist who frequently gets lost inside derelict factories. This is the second time I have seen vehicles in this area â€“ does anyone know what they are doing there? Is a company using the factory grounds, do they belong to the current owner (assuming there is one) would like to know before I return.