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

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Castle Inn

(DISCLAIMER: As an overall nice human being, I do not force entry, vandalize, steal, or disclose means of entry or location if it isn't obvious. I do this to protect locations and respect them. Trespass without forced entry is a civil offence rather than a criminal one, which isn't worth acting on unless one causes damage, steals, has ill intent, etc. I simply photograph and leave everything as I find it. I do not condone breaking and entering, and I do not condone what I do. I'm a danger to myself and a terrible role model. )

Wow! I read in the newspaper today that four black guys raped a white woman! I'd like to thank the mainstream media for pointing out the skin colour of the attackers. That does indeed make the act of gang rape so much more intolerable. They could have just said "Four men raped a woman" but that wasn't at all shocking enough. The media will waste that extra ink, just for you and your daily intake of perception management. I love the media.

So todays blog!

With abandoned sites, I feel almost morally obligated to get in and appreciate them while they're there, because there's a good chance nobody else ever will! Such places as the Abandoned Gym went unnoticed and was eventually converted into flats. The cinema features above the Gala Bingo Hall have gone untouched for decades. And of course there's the opposite end of the spectrum, with places like Calcott Hall and your typical abandoned house that suffers from a continuous stream of visitors, there's the need to get in and appreciate it while it is how it is, because in all the photos by visitors that came before and all the photos by visitors who came after, something has changed, furniture layout has been drastically altered, and some objects have vanished altogether. Calcott Hall is a terrific example.

So in spite of the constant offers of people to come with me to places, picking ones posse is one of the most important parts of this sport. Tree Surgeon and I work well together because we both have very different skill sets, and attention to detail, so we each bring something to the adventure. We also have a similar, rigid, code of ethics, and that is important. One needs to recruit someone with a conscience. These won't be your standard law-abiding citizens. In fact, law abiding citizens are quite dangerous. There is a big difference between obeying rules and laws mindlessly and standing by what one knows is right or wrong. Laws are sometimes wrong. This is important to remember. History is littered with attrocities that were perfectly legal at the time. People who rely on the law to decide for them what is right and wrong instead of making up their own minds are the sort of people who wander into an abandoned site, freak out at the sudden freedom, and start urinating everywhere. So for adventures it's important to seek out people who don't use the law as a substitute for a  moral compass, and also people who are willing to put aside any macho posturing.

There are other explorers, rooftoppers and miscreant adventurers now in Shrewsbury and wider Shropshire, and I can't speak for all of their moral compasses but I have been teaming up with one in particular who so far, has not proven to be an arse. I'll refer to him as Rushworth. Recently we checked out The Castle Inn.


There's a bit of a risk going exploring with someone new and before the newspapers pounce on it, I did not encourage him to take up this dangerous sport! He'll do this regardless of if I go with him and he'll still be doing it long after Gravity, Pigeons and Asbestos have had their wicked way with me. My interests in hanging out with him originally lay purely in making sure a sport I'm passionate about wasn't getting commandeered by an idiot. And so far I don't think it is. In fact he brings his own creativity to the table much like Tree Surgeon does. But what I really like about this guy is that he didn't just get in touch with me and say "How do you get to this place?" He goes out and finds his own adventure. I didn't even know he existed until he'd done plenty of rooftopping, and when he finally reached out to me, it was initially to brag that he'd gotten somewhere that I hadn't. That magnificent bastard!

 And so we've teamed up a bunch of times. The Castle Inn is just the most recent, and it's been an area of interest to me for a long time.



The Castle Inn stands in a part of town called Coleham. It was nicknamed the back-to-front pub because its rear was facing the main road, whereas the front of the pub faces a little backroad. But back when this place was built in the 1700s, the little backroad was the main road, and as Shrewsbury grew and evolved, the road behind the pub became the wider-traveled route through this part of town, leading up to the English Bridge and Abbey Forgate. The pub doesn't look anywhere near that old, but over the years it has undergone a lot of changes, including amalgamating itself with an old manor named The Gibraltar.

It was originally named The Windsor Castle, but by 1780 was recorded as being called the Bull and Pump. It was auctioned in 1820 and became the Castle Inn in 1856.

Originally the premises were much larger, having stables, a piggery, other outbuildings, and an excellent garden with a pump, but these all got cleared away as the 20th Century introduced the motor car, and the pub needed to give them a place to park.

In recent years, some of the locals referred to the Castle Inn as a vital part of what they called "The Coleham Run," a pub crawl that also incorporated The Globe and other pubs that have since vanished. The Castle was popular, and apparently often had live music there. While I do not know when exactly it closed, or why, the nifty time tool on Google Street View shows it open in April 2009 and boarded up in May 2011. So the place has been closed for roughly five to seven years. I wonder what's left! Let's slip inside!



 The bar is still there, but the ceiling behind it is collapsing. This didn't stop me taking a little look down there to see what was left behind.




 A bottle of ant killer.


 The sign on that cupboard there is interesting. "Don't ask because you'll only be disapointed by the answer." I really relate to this when people ask me how I get to places. 



Further behind the bar are some hooks for hanging keys, a price list and the main light switches.




But moving on out to the public part of the bar...


 There's a lot of wreckage, and I don't know why. Presumably it was accessed in the early days of its closure. This is supported by the fact that the boarding on the windows has been changed and replaced numerous times.



Here are the remains of a pool table. The balls are all gone, as are the legs and the table top.



"Ray Smells" according to this board. Hello Ray, whoever you are.



The sign advertising the price of pool cues and balls is of interest. Perhaps they were selling them when they closed down.


The pool triangle had sat in the same spot for a number of years, and then been moved, probably by peoples feet.



Curiously in the bar area there was a bed frame, as if someone had started clearing out the upper floors and then just left it.


The floor was littered with beer mats and, oddly, childrens books.



Check this out- two unopened bottles of Schweppes.



A little box of Christmas balls.










Old bar taps.


Another unopened bottle of Schweppes. I am curious, was this from the actual pub days or was this brought here at a later date and left?


The old dart board wall. Ray, apparently, still smells. 


And finally in the corner, there was an old TV rack. And thats where the bar portion of the Castle ended. But there was loads to see in the staff only areas.



There was a small kitchen that led to behind the bar, identifiable as a kitchen area by the sign on the wall that indicates the colour of the chopping board used for different food types. And I guess the kettle is evidence too.


 There wasn't a cellar as such, but there was a back room which was clearly used for storing the alcohol. But there were still some interesting things back here.





Ah, and here's the dart board. It was taken down off the wall but it didnt go far!


 The TV magazine is dated 2006, and as you can see in the world of television over the past decade, absolutely nothing has really changed.




A box of drinks that was left after the place closed down.


And there is this safe, which is locked. The contents of it are a mystery!


On one shelf was some abandoned glasses.


The toilets were reasonably clean, but here one could see nature starting to claim back the world.







Back to the public area, there were some stairs leading upwards to the higher floors.



One thing that there was a lot of upstairs were fire alarms, and they did occasionally beep as the batteries began to run out. This is quite disconcerting in an abandoned place because one is naturally alert, and sound is a big indicator of whether or not one is alone in a place, so these gave me quite a fright. Regarding being alone here, I don't believe in a hierachy between two examples of the same species, even if they don't have a home, so I'd be 100% respectful to any squatters if I encounter them, but people who live off the grid can be dangerous, and I'm also wary of criminals also using abandoned places. This one was empty but did have a surprising number of knives lying around.


The upstairs floor had some tiny rooms. Presumably these were small bedrooms.


 Notice though that the windows of this floor arent symetrical, even though they appeared so from ground level. We'll come back to that.




 The childrens artwork on one of the walls was intriguing, as was the name "Celina" nearby. Who was Celina? Did she live here? Would she agree that Ray smells?






 In this wardrobe was a photograph. Who are these people and do they wonder what happened to this photo?



And on the door was coat was still hanging.

But anyway, remember the mysterious non-symetrical windows? Well progressing down the hallway answered the mystery.


It seems that at one point these small rooms were added to the existing building, and the walls cut through the actual windows. It might seem like a strange mistake for anyone to make while installing these walls, but then thinking about it, if they tried to fit the entire window into one room then the hallway down to that door would have been one heck of a squeeze, and maybe they'd had to knock down the wall with the door in and rebuild it further along too. So cutting the window up was probably the more affordable, if sillier looking, option.

But I am not one for mocking anyone for looking silly! I explore in a Dr Seuss hat! It's impossible to be unhappy in a silly hat.

The door was labeled "Private."


The room beyond it had a seriously creepy vibe.


In the corner was a TV, next to an empty glass. The bed was diagonal across the room, and next to it was a magazine rack with its contents all over the floor. I can't place what's so creepy about this room. It just is.


There's a cutlery tray on the bed. What, don't you sleep with cutlery?





The room seemed to me that it could have been a squatters room, given the magazines close to the bed. But they were dated 2007, so they probably owned by the previous legal occupier.

This bedroom was a lot larger than the previous three, and did have the word "Private" on it, and given that people did live above the pub I think this may have been a lounge area for the people living here. This is also supported by the fact that it connects to a kitchen.



 The kitchen had a lot left over. Like cutlery.




 The crackers are open and went out of date in 2007. Yum.






A door at the back of the kitchen led out to the main hallway, just under some stairs to an even higher area. The downside was this particular part of the hallway was right above the bar down below. And if you recall, the ceiling was a little crumbly around that area. The floor here was in a predictable state of decay. In fact this  corridor was actually impossible to venture down which was a shame because it seemed to continue on to another room, as well as a cupboard under the stairs.


The contents of this cupboard, beyond what can be seen, remain a mystery until the day the ceiling collapses and it ends up on top of the bar.

Speaking of which, a quick backtrack down to the bar revealed something awesome- a second stairway heading upwards, this time to the other side of the untraversible coridor, allowing us to find out what it was that the unstable floors wouldn't let us see.




 In this picture you can see the door at the far end that would be the upstairs kitchen. The left turning upahead is to the bedrooms and to the stairs that go even higher. The wreckage on the floor is the ceiling. That is the part of the place that is collapsing that we had to avoid. On the right is a door.


 It was a little bathroom, probably a communual one for anyone staying here. The weird thing was it still had toilet paper.






But back to the main stairs, they led further upwards to an attic!


 As you can see, the floor area of the hallway thats right above the bar (that will likely collapse if anyone walks on it) is also in similar bad condition on the ceiling above it, and these stairs were leading directly to it.


The pool cues are on the stairs for some reason.


At the top of the stairs was a bin bag that I knew better than to rummage through. But it seems to contain part of a kids halloween costume.


 The cause of all that interior floor and ceiling rot was revealed to be this bathroom. No doubt the rot was caused by water damage. There was no way I was going into this bathroom but I still got a shot around the corner.


Hmm. Still in better condition than the toilets in some active pubs and clubs.

The attic was divided into three rooms, the first of which showed signs of being squatted in.




 This football sticker book was full. Whoever had once owened it had collected every last sticker. It's dated 1998.







The next room was creepy again, purely because of what was left behind.





 Here we have a childs bra, and a Mr. Bean DVD. The latter was understandable, but a bra seemed to be an odd thing to leave behind. Of course if the owner lived here when the place closed down, it probably won't fit them anymore. But it's still an odd thing to leave. Anyone abandoning a copy of the animated Mr Bean has a lot of common sense though, in my opinion.





The final room had a few more things in it, mainly toys. The light shade is of interest to me though.






 See, isn't that an awesome light? It's the sort of thing I'd have in my house.


And let's end on a creepy note with this doll.

And that about wraps up the Castle Inn. Currently on the door is a planning application so I assume something is happening to it. I wish I knew more about the people that lived here and the circumstances for the places closure, since a lot of personal stuff still seems to be here. I wonder why it was left behind.

But then this can be said for any abandoned place. Whats left behind is often mysterious. To my knowledge, the "Urbex" community has yet to get wind of this place but then I'm not exactly in the loop. This place could have had loads of stuff that has since been stolen.

Regarding the Rushworth character, he seems somewhat likable. But as established, a likable human is still not an adventure buddy if they don't have a similar code of ethics. But so far our team ups have been enjoyable. It's just important to note that he's not involved with this blog and his actions are independent of my actions, his thoughts, views and opinions are not mine. If you see him on a roof and he spits on you, he's not with me. But if you do see someone on a rooftop and they're doing no harm, don't panic, they're just living their life off the beaten track.

Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not is ran by decent human beings. Sure, we look odd, we're eccentric, our senses of humours don't quite match yours, and our farts smell as fishy as our current prime minister, but we'll never hurt anyone.

In every blog I encourage my readers to be good to people. The Butterfly Effect is always something to think about. When you're kind to another human being, even if it is just a friendly smile, it can not only turn a day around, but it can cause a ripple-like phenomenon across the entire species. If someones disposition becomes slightly more positive, it impacts a teeny bit on every human being they come into contact with that day. And that is what humanity really needs. The heroes of the species are not the politicians with their lies, it's not the corporate higher-ups with their overabundance of money. The heroes of the species are the ones who care about and cheer up others. As someone who has been to rock bottom and back, I know this to be true. So when you're done reading, go out there and turn a day around.

Next blog post will be a real treat but as always, to see this blog progress if you can spare the pennies please do so using the donate button above. No pressure though. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And if you like the blog, share it around.

Thanks for reading. Stay Awesome.