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"One of the most thrilling reads of the 21st Century"- Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shrewsbury Market Hall and clock tower.

In my last blog post I showed us all the view from St Chads Church, which is a tall building, and a common sight on the Shrewsbury skyline. The Market Hall's tower is also a common sight on the Shrewsbury skyline and given that most of the buildings near St Chads are residential properties which I do NOT climb, the Market Hall tower is more commonly seen in my pictures than St Chads purely because it's near areas that I do climb. So if you've been watching this blog you know what it looks like. If you saw the photo of it from St Chads, you'll know that it was covered in scaffolding at around the exact same time. The only problem was this meant we'd never get a clean photo of either tower without scaffolding on it, which is a shame since the architecture of St Chads is brilliant.

The Market Hall tower? Not so much. It was built in the 1960s, and it's considered very ugly by todays standards. In fact, Shropshire Council are contemplating demolishing it and rebuilding the tower again.

Now let me remind you of something I pointed out in the post about Riverside Shopping Center. Shrewsbury's Lord Hill column currently remains wrapped in scaffolding for the foreseeable future because Shropshire Council cannot afford to fix the statue on top and prevent bits of it falling and striking passers by. Why are the council planning demolishing huge chunks of Shrewsbury to rebuild them when it can't even afford to repair one statue? Their impulsive actions are going to leave Shrewsbury looking like a war zone, decorated with demolished buildings that can't be replaced.

In addition, while the current Market Hall tower might be considered ugly, so did the one that existed before it, when that got knocked down and replaced with the current one.
Now, let's compare the two.

 Shrewsbury Market Hall, as it looks now.

The old Shrewsbury Market Hall prior to demolition.

That's right- the old clocktower, indeed the whole building, does look considerably more epic and if anything this proves that whenever Shropshire Council think that demolishing something and replacing it is a good idea, it usually isn't. I mean who had the bright idea to demolish that in favour of the other?

In addition, in the 1920s they wanted to demolish parts of the castle that were considered ugly and medieval, and now it's preserved because it's an ancient structure that everyone loves, so tastes change and people shouldn't be too hasty to destroy the current building even if it is inferior to the old one.

Anyway, the current Market Hall is still explorable and the view from the top is epic. First though, I explored the parts of the interior that were off limits, and I did it alone in broad daylight before the scaffolding was even up, simply by looking like I was meant to be there. It was something of an infiltration, and a definite sign that my addiction to exploring was taking me down some risky routes.

Note- The group I explore with have a strict policy of leaving everything as it was, not vandalizing or stealing, and not exploring or violating any residential properties, nor do we force entry, merely utilize existing openings. Any entry on the blog that does detail a means of access does so under the assumption that the means of access can no longer be reached. Never would we reveal an existing opening over the internet, for fear of negative consequences against the property.

Click a picture to see it big. Sadly they get blurry at times- I was terrified of being caught and therefore shaky.
Interior shots-






















Exterior Shots-









Alas, no means of getting up the tower revealed itself at this stage. That had to wait. And when it did, my group was dismayed to discover that it was heavily alarmed. There was no way of getting onto the scaffolding and up to the next level without setting off one. It looked impossible.

However, we reasoned that so many alarms were probably pretty costly, and a lot of people install duds as a deterrent. Luckily, the market hall was right next to Maplin, so we came up with the genius scheme of taking it in turns to climb up, do a bit of a jig in front of the motion sensors and then run away to watch from Maplin to see if security showed up. Even if they did, eventually they'd just assume there was a fault causing the alarm to go off if they kept on repeatedly getting called out to find nobody there, right?

Well we discovered that some were duds, and some weren't, and having tested them enough to raise awareness that someone was interested in getting to the top, we called off the adventure for another day.

And another day did come, and this time a second genius idea presented itself. Rather than take the ladders, we utilized a tiny crack in the scaffolding to emerge on the first level between two genuine motion sensors. From there we went up again, by pushing the slats on the level above to one side and pulling ourselves up the scaffolding in a directly vertical fashion.

And here's something I need to say- it's stupid. Don't do it. We're bonkers. Construction sites require safety clothing for a reason, and that's the fact that they're bloody dangerous places. I do not recommend anyone do this sort of thing rashly, and if you do, take full responsibility for anything that happens to yourself.

Needless to say, the view from the top was epic.

For navigation purposes, the photos are from facing St Chads Church, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a giant tent, and then proceed clockwise.  As with before, click a picture to see it big.




Yes, the rooftop was sloped, and the wind made it quite scary. Each one of us got our photo taken next to the spire but as my friends and I wish not to show our faces they won't be displayed.

And wait, there's more!
The clocks hands had been removed from the clockface, leaving a nice big hole that allowed us to gain access to the interior of the tower itself.




But sadly, police vans began patrolling, and we decided that there was a small chance we'd triggered an alarm somewhere. And so we left, climbing back down the scaffolding. The road didn't loop around the building in a complete circle, meaning the police vans couldn't circle it very well, but they were doing their best! We had to time every move on the way down and luckily evaded them.

The scaffolding was later taken down, rendering the adventure completely unique, and the experience entirely ours. But this marked the last time our group came together to explore before our lives took us in opposite directions across the world. Sure, we remained friends, but Shrewsburys further explorations would be done by me alone.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The view from St Chads Church



St Chads church isn't the tallest building in Shrewsbury, but since it sits on a hill overlooking the town it is pretty high. It's definitely one of the defining monuments in the skyline, visible from a lot of my rooftop photographs, behind the clocktower. It may be the highest part of Shrewsbury I've ever been to, but it's always been difficult to tell whether the clocktower or St Chads is higher, even from the top of both. And I have covered both, as we'll see in a future blog. Chronologically St Chads came first though. You may remember the Music Hall entry did depict the St Chads tower with scaffolding around the base?

Well I observed the progress and made my plans. I wanted to see just how high the scaffolding would go, and sure enough it eventually consumed the tower. My group were scattered to their own individual paths by this point, but this was St Chads Church. We all knew that even if we never explored again, together or individually, to say that we conquered St Chads would be the ultimate prize. And so the group came back together. And we actually went up more than once- the first when the scaffolding was a storey or so from the top, as a precaution in case they didn't make it go any higher, and then a second time when it did go higher.

Note- The group I explore with have a strict policy of leaving everything as it was, not vandalizing or stealing, and not exploring or violating any residential properties, nor do we force entry, merely utilize existing openings. Any entry on the blog that does detail a means of access does so under the assumption that the means of access can no longer be reached. Never would we reveal an existing opening over the internet, for fear of negative consequences against the property.

 In this case we simply climbed the church tower for an amazing view. For those wondering about navigation, the photographs are arranged in a clockwise order over Shrewsbury, from the Quarry park to the clocktower.
Click a picture to see it big.







There in the distance Shrewsbury clocktower was similarly covered in scaffolding, albeit only partially.
That was to be our next target.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Riverside Shopping Mall

In Shrewsbury there are three shopping centers in close proximity to each other- The Darwin, the Pride Hill and Riverside. The first two are beneath the Rat Run while Riverside is a smaller one, with almost all of its shops empty. Why are all the shops vacant? Because Shropshire Council want to rip the entire thing down and rebuild it as a mighty domed monstrosity that merges the three shopping centers together.

I've seen pictures, and the proposed design looks pretty funky. But then we must take into consideration that Shropshire Council can't even afford to repair the Lord Hill column statue, and have instead decided to wrap it in scaffolding for the foreseeable future. So I don't see how they could possibly afford to demolish an entire shopping center and build a whole new thing that links onto the other two. Soon Shrewsbury will be left with a massive crater of rubble where Riverside used to be. So it's a good thing I got photos of it! Naturally, we obtained only the most unique shots possible.

Note- The group I explore with have a strict policy of leaving everything as it was, not vandalizing or stealing, and not exploring or violating any residential properties, nor do we force entry, merely utilize existing openings. Any entry on the blog that does detail a means of access does so under the assumption that the means of access can no longer be reached. Never would we reveal an existing opening over the internet, for fear of negative consequences against the property.




While the view inside Riverside is interesting, the exterior views are fairly simplistic. This isn't very high up you see. It was a pain to get to though, but still relatively low down.

But it won't be there forever and the view is unique, so it was a fun adventure.