Derelicts Leicester GEC Alsthom Whetstone
Urbex exploring is something i used to do quite a bit, but over the past few years my time has been filled with the day to day mundane tasks that mean your passions get buried by the spoil of everyday life, so when I had to find a location to do a model shoot I knew it was time to don my urbex boots and get exploring.
The site I had in mind for the shoot was a derelict site in Whetstone Leicester which was once owned by GEC Alsthom who manufactured parts for the nuclear industry.
I had been to this site previously as part of a university assignment and so was familiar with the general layout of the site which meant I didn’t have to research access and knew precisely which point of access is the best.
You can gain access to the site via various entrances but most of these are now blocked up and the rest mean you have to climb over fences which is something I prefer to avoid. Add to this that most of these areas are monitored by CCTV cameras and watched by the estates management team and it quickly becomes apparent that discovery is something that you need to prepare for.
However on my previous trip I managed to find one way in that isn’t covered by any CCTV cameras and is not visible from the other parts of the industrial estate and after checking this route was still accessible I headed straight in and once access is gained to the site it is only a short walk over to the main entrance. However I should point out that if you enter the building via the main entrance or walk around that area you are immediately visible to two CCTV cameras one dome camera and one standard type camera, so you have to take a casual walk into the building and hope you don’t get spotted – I am telling you about the cameras because that is how the estates management team pick off urbexers and so best I point it out as this has happened to me previously on my Uni assignment and I got booted off the site.
Once you are in what would have been the main reception area it is clear to see that this building has been disused for sometime and the local youths have all but destroyed the original buildings fixtures and fittings. All of the windows are broken, walls smashed up, doors kicked in and generally the site is now just a shell. Add to that the elements, along with natural deterioration and you have somewhere that looks like a movie set and a perfect place for my photography shoot.
Before continuing I should point out that these photographs where shot on my mobile phone (read more about my phone here) as I see no reason to drag loads of kit around when I am simply doing a location hunt. At most I carry a light meter but rarely bother with it and no need for a torch as I have a handy torch app on my phone.
I digress…………… as you continue to explore the site it quickly becomes apparent by the shear scale of the place that this was once a very busy and no doubt important industrial site and there are two very interesting silo’s located in one of the buildings. I went down into one of them but it was filled with water and general junk and I’m pretty sure they where probably used for something very boring even if they look exciting now.
As I continued to walk around the site I found various intersting corridors and rooms that for me would make great shoot locations and so I quickly mapped out in my head the various places that I could shoot in.
Once i had covered the buildings at ground level, I gained access to the roof area, which is done by simply stepping out of one of the many broken windows. I then had a good old wander across the roof areas and as with the rest of the site, the roofs are smashed up with broken skylights, ripped off roofing panels and general damage.
After this I headed across the roof and back to the reception area and made one more casual dash by the security cameras and headed back to my car.
All in all this is a great site for urbexers and a photographers a like and once you have been here a couple of times you quickly learn the shortcuts and which buildings are worth exploring. If you would like anymore information on this site then like me on Facebook and drop me a message via my page HERE