Tales of the Urban Explorer: Prudential Assurance Buildings
…"If he can get in, then so can we"…
I was talking about a certain YouTuber who made truly terrible videos, but that was not the point. The ‘Prudential Assurance Buildings’ was open again and this time we were going to get in.
In July 2020, myself and @dizzydiscovery had tried and failed. At the time it seemed like some kind of impenetrable fortress that would be locked up forever.
@dizzydiscovery mentioned that the old way in was up the fire escape, then jump on to a window and hope the ledge didn’t crack before you hauled yourself in.
I’m a fucking explorer, not someone who dices with death. The fire escape is still there in all its rusty glory along with many sealed windows and a few bushes.
It is for the best and we don’t want anyone falling the 30 feet or so, dying and thus giving Urban Exploring a bad name.
‘Prudential Assurance Buildings’, it said to us looking out of place in the busy town centre with sprouts of greenery growing from every orifice.
It was so large I couldn’t get it all in, and the very recently built train station platform behind me was not making things easy.
I would need to take a few shots and hope at least one of them could be used as my cover shot.
Walking up an adjoining dodgy alley teeming with broken glass and a very suspect wheelie bin we found our entrance.
@anidiotexplores, as lithe as ever jumped on the bin and disappeared through the broken window in a second.
I followed with an ill-timed jump cracking my shin hard on the bin, and followed up with a loud 'Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... that fucking hurt".
So much for my forsaken agility, it must have stealthily made for the door several years beforehand and didn't say a word, bastard!
Struggling to get through the largish window I dropped down, barely missing a large piece of shit.
Bypassing the faeces and hoping the drug-fuelled ex-owner was not home, we made our way into the depths of a very bare-looking ex-bank.
It was looking remarkably like Salford Police Station inside with long creepy corridors and peeling paint.
So much that systematically going round and then up the stairs seemed the logical approach.
The courtyard below I guessed was the Nightclub, 'Holy City Zoo' which I had been told was hard to find.
That's if you don't want to go the direct way by jumping 20 feet through broken trees and hoping you don't break a few limbs.
It was going to be one of those places which looked remarkably similar all the way through.
Even the stairs seemed to be similar, that is rotting, with bits of masonry and peeled paint.
However, they were remarkably solid and contained handrails.
Was that the legendary 'Holy City Zoo'? If so, I wasn't going to take a leap of faith.
Just when I thought I was never going to see writing ever again, the elevator proved me wrong. There was even some poor graffiti.
If that open fire was ever a roaring one, it might have melted whatever used to be in the safe.
Talk about bleak, I was hoping to happen upon the bloke who had taken a shit at this point to ease the tedium.
The artwork was sparse but not bad when found. I get the feeling that the 'Prudential Assurance Buildings' are not open very often.
Not a sausage in any of those cupboards, unless you count handfuls of dirt.
The doors were ubiquitous in number and thankfully all open.
Down there was probably the smoking area once.
It was large, but not lunatic asylum large. I didn’t feel creeped out inside and was mostly alone. @anidiotexplores had buggered off somewhere and I had lost him.
Had this building rotted too much or could it be saved? The green walls told me of severe damp and water damage.
The endless corridor; There’s always at least one classic image like this.
Someone has had a fire; likely the smack-heads. Once out of it, it’s nice to keep warm.
A huge wad of congealed pigeon-shit; delighful.
You do get used to wandering alone through something that looks like a horror set.
I started walking down these steel outdoor steps until they started creaking a little. At the end was a door that looked a little locked.
At this point, I couldn't help wonder what the fuck I was doing and hastily back-trod. The drop was rather big.
Those pigeons looked quite startled when I entered this room and kept their distance on the outside wall.
Why would one have a bath in a bank? A shower I can understand, but who would have ever used this?
I started making my way down the steps intent on finding this hidden nightclub that some never find.
I can't say it was the most photogenic explore and there was little to look at in terms of anything but cracking paint, broken glass and bits of masonry.
I hooked up with @anidiotexplores and we discovered what used to be the entrance hall.
This is what the customers would see, and so needs to be a little grander.
All that dark wood with stained glass windows would have been nice once.
Some of it was even clean..., well slightly so.
Not so private anymore, we searched the entrance thoroughly looking for the hidden stairway to the basement.
It was tough to find, narrow and hidden so well we almost missed it. Surely this must be the way to ‘Holy City Zoo’? We descended slowly down into the bowels of the old bank...
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