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Report - - The Last Years of Pinebanks - 2016 to 2018 - Norwich, Norfolk | Leisure Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Last Years of Pinebanks - 2016 to 2018 - Norwich, Norfolk


Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
Yes, yes - I know what you're thinking. *Another* Pinebanks report, really?

I quite agree that arguably Norwich's most documented explore has had more than enough reports, highly varying in quality, however over the course of a couple of years I took a huge amount of photos across several explores there, and rather than having them sit on my hard drive doing absolutely nothing, I'd like to throw them into the pot so they're at least out there and contributing to the overall history of the place.

Pinebanks was finally reduced to rubble (with the exception of the Victorian folly located at the back of the complex) in early 2019, so my photos below will hopefully stand as a document to the sad state the old place was in by the end of its life.

I won't bore you with the full details of Pinebanks when there's such a glut of history already on this forum alone. Potted history = former Norwich Union sports centre, playing fields, rifle range and event venue Pinebanks first saw life as a private villa contructed in 1880, added to significantly over the years before its closure in 2008, around the time Norwich Union merged with the Aviva Group and they decided they didn't fancy taking on this new expense. (Aviva love a good redundancy - trust me!)
Inevitably, the mindless teenager brigade got wind of the place and as years went by it became trashed beyond recognition. Pinebanks was the subject of an arson attack several times; though most notably it was original listed Victorian villa which was "tragically" burned to a shell... this part of the building was proving to be a planning quagmire and delaying redevelopment of the site into housing. How curious then, that it should be torched to cinders late one night?? I'm sure this could only be the work of mindless yobbos and certainly not foul play by ruthless developers. Certainly not!

If you'd like to see how Pinebanks looked before the vandals got hold of it, I recommend this report - https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/pinebanks-norwich-july-2013.82333/

Most fascinatingly, Pinebanks was the location of a highy classified "Zero Station" WW2 bunker designed for covert ops in the event of German invasion and occupation. These Zero Stations were so top secret that to this day, the location of many of them remains a mystery.
I was in fact able to find the entrance to (well, actually, escape tunnel from) the Zero Station, but sadly it had been sealed with a block of concrete that would take a crane to lift. I'm reliably informed by someone who's been in there that there was little left inside the bunker, however it was still a really fun place to investigate, comprised of a warren of small rooms, corridors and crawlspaces.

Anyway, on to my photos. These are a selection of some of the best ones I took from around the entire site, over a two year period. I hope you enjoy, and let's all raise a toast to absent explores and poor, abused Pinebanks.

I'll break these across several posts as there's quite a lot of photos.

Part 1 - Exterior around Pinebanks & The Old Building

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Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
Part 4 Final - The Admin Offices & General Photos

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The server/IT room. Motherboards and circuit boards galore!


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What's this, a face reveal?! From about three years back, before my dreadlock days, less ear stretchage going on and way more facial hair, sure. Go crazy. ;P


Hope this was interesting for everyone! I've tried as best to thoroughly document the place as best I could at the time. Some areas were completely pitch black and didn't photo well.
 

Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
Blimey its unrecognisable in just 5 years!! Good complication of its destruction but somewhat sad.
It really is sad, the Pinebanks complex was huge and varied, and the original old building in its prime was very charming with all the wood panelling. You could lose hours there searching every nook and cranny, so it's a real loss now that it's nothing more than a pile of bricks.
 

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