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Report - Water Eaton Silos - 'The Dawning'

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I was going on a wedding centred family weekend by the river Cherwell in Oxford, not on a mission to find old derelict stuff that nobody else seems interested in. Excited cries of “there’s a something on the A34 that looks abandoned†and “Oooh it’s really big and really grey and really old and very...very... BIG and .......good†had not swayed me in the determination to spend the two days being very civilised and adult about it all for just a couple of days for once in a while.

But driving into Oxford, oh who it looms into view and verily fills the windscreen with abandoned, concrete & masonic majesty.

The cottage I was staying in had a wireless connection and so the evil web of the urbex started to reel me in. I found it had been done already a couple of times, and not too distantly in the past, but I was still suckered in. But when to yield? The schedule was fully booked. Wedding and Oxford touristing stuff all day Saturday, family breakfast and quite hideous & gruesome travel arrangements all day Sunday.

Then the gods sent a sign. 5:15 am and the local pigeon perched atop the chimney began to send its rousing coo coo, coo coo, coo coo, COOO!!! Down the fireplace and into me sleepy head. I was awakened.

From the roof and facing East, you can see that the ground was absolutely saturated and the mist was rising. Charging through the undergrowth meant I was completely soaked, the camera was getting seriously wet and the brogues will never be the same agian.

But back at ground level the central tower houses some gadgets that may be furnaces or air heaters some kind. I found out later that the place was built by the Government in 1940 as a WW2 grain buffer. There’s a rail head next to it, so its makes sense that the place might just have been a collection point for harvested or imported grain. It gets unloaded and dried before its blown into the top of the silos. It was still in use in 1983 apparently, but today its full of junk outside, a pet supplies company uses some of it and there may be some van and truck rental operations still there.

The light in here was pretty cool, but it was a bit dark and I started spending too much time fiddling around with the flash. I didn’t want to spend more than an hour in here as I was supposed to be out buying breakfast provisions for everyone else. Most of the following stuff is a bit rushed because of that but here goes.

More of the heaters

Good olde cast iron contactors, starters and fuse boxes hmmmm

In my haste I was buggered if I could find any way up. I didn’t see the stairs in the picture above as I was too interested in ye olde switchgear, and I was looking foolishly at this elevator for longer than was at all sane.

Ah, but the stairs came into view and upward I ventured. All the intermediate floors are like this. Vertical, rectangular and round trunking, presumably for blowing the grain up, down or around to dry and move it. Each floor also had large areas of loose wooden flooring that should probably be avoided. But its all mostly concrete and pretty solid.

The two long halls at the top are like manifolds that feed into the silos. Every trunking junction throughout the whole building has gates or valves to control whatever goes where. All controlled by electric motors with shafts, chains pulleys or ratchets. Checked out the South hall first. This is where we have the ubiquitous rickerty chair with rope accessory and ladder accompaniment.

Went out through the end of the North hall and up the outer ladder. You can see the ladder on the first picture above.

A bit barren on the roof but there’s the pretty cool looking vents. I think they still move but I’m not prone to a great deal of pushing and pulling at these heights. Beware if you stick your head in the doorway though. There’s a couple of dozen pigeons inn there and one nearly took the hat off when it bolted. And we don’t want any more hat rescue episodes, do we.

More blowers etc, a sweet little pigeon nest in a bucket and some impressive guano stacking.



I was trying to set this up when the pigeons let fly. Pure luck to catch them like that but it wasn’t pure luck that I got it on raw, Otherwise this would have been virtually black & white.

One last shot on the way down, just to remind of the pigeons in the dark.

And the hat stayed on this time.