Tales of the Urban Explorer: Smudges

in Urban Exploration2 months ago (edited)

It is always strange to me that my perception of an explore is rarely correct. Take Smudges, an abandoned pub, diner and Indian restaurant.

On seeing other reports I figured a night job, as it was too exposed during the daytime regarding access.


Once again I was wrong and on showing some interest to @anidiotexplores who had already been, I was told….

"You need to climb a 7-foot wall to get in there", it's not that hard.

Whoa, hang on a minute. 7 feet is not so easy for me anymore. Hauling your body up is harder than it looks. Don’t assume you can still do it, because you could at 14 years old. It doesn’t work that way.


One of the other big belly lads who’s 17 stone managed it…, you can too”, he continued with a grin.

That was it, we were going to Smudges and that stupid wall would not get in my way, however big it might be.


Smudges has been gifted several names over the years, The Crofters Arms and Magees being a couple. The building dates back to around 1870. An Indian restaurant under the guise of ‘Moghuls Palace’ appeared to be in the basement area at closure.

In 2009 the pub was taken over by Jane McDonald and Frank Smith, the then licensees of the Howcroft and the Roundhouse in Halliwell. Ms. McDonald and Mr. Smith evicted squatters who had taken up residence in the pub and spent around £30,000 on refurbishment. The pub became known as Smudge's – Mr. Smith's nickname.

Sadly, Frank Smith died in September 2010 and the pub closed shortly afterwards.

There’s more history here if you care to read about it. Smudges was the last known name, and not for long.


…’Smudges in 2012, looking a little forlorn but much better than now’…

We arrived, parked up and I looked at that large wall. I did struggle a little but in the more recent months my fitness has improved in the area. Fat blokes would definitely struggle with it, something I am determined not to become.

I was more concerned with the motorists passing by seeing a couple of blokes appearing to be in some kind of burglary act in broad daylight. This thought only hastened my ascent and we were out of sight within 20 seconds.



11 years of abandonment may mean collapsing ceilings but I was surprised at the state of the interior. It was wrecked but in better shape than many.





Thankfully there was no 11-year-old rotting meat in the kitchens. Still, I did not hang around for too long.



We made our way up to the bar and looked upon a familiar sight. If this would be your first explore, it would likely take your breath away.



The average person is not used to taking in such sights and being there is a different experience than simply viewing these images online.




I could imagine Smudges was once quite classy, the wooden panelling and odd chandelier that was still attached to the ceiling revealed its past character.





The stairs were surprisingly sturdy, though slippery due to all the fallen crap underfoot.



A lovely window at the turn of the stairs; I struggled with the photograph as it really needs a wide angle to get it all in.




On the second level was yet another bar and in better shape than the previous one.



I guess Smudges had not had years of Urban Explorers visiting. To have beer glasses resting here since 2010 is quite something.



I descended intent on checking out the basement area.


@anidiotexplores had wandered off and it was deathly quiet as he was not in a singing mood on this day.



There were plenty of mementoes left behind on the lowest of levels. Trophies, photographs, books, magazines as well as the mandatory old beer barrels.


If Moghul’s Palace was located in the basement, I don’t think I would have liked to dine there.



This was a large area and besides the old pumps, there was this pool of questionable liquid.


Blood? I fucking hope not; I’m an explorer, not a discoverer of old corpses left behind after being murdered.


Finding myself alone once again, I continued poking around the basement.



The books and old VHS tapes were so grotty I didn’t want to handle them.



The restaurant must have supplied takeaway food as well as dining in this creepy cellar of doom.



Not your freshly ironed laundry anymore. Body parts inside? I was not going to look.


I didn’t touch the white mouldy stuff in the corner. That’s an impressive infestation.



Moghul's Palace – A Premier Restaurant? The food would have needed to be premier to counteract the dire-looking surrounding.



Was this the old dining area? I was wondering when I was going to finish down there, the area was large, to say the least.



Seeing this room was one of those moments. It looked like a room from hell itself, or had someone shit themselves and wiped it all over the walls?

It made me shudder and that takes some doing after the sights I have seen.


We left Smudges victorious. Just 2 weeks ago we needed to drive past and the front is now full of scaffolding. Does that mean it is now off-limits?


Possibly and a shame as it’s definitely worth a visit before the refurbishment starts.


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I cannot even imagine this place in full regalia! You can see from what is left that it was quite the looker, Once Upon a Time.

For the life of me, I have never understood how a place as beautiful as this could fall into decay. It has been pretty well beaten up, but, I would have loved to have seen it.

You are still scaling 7-foot walls? Yikes. What does one say when a policeman helps you down the ladder? :)) This has lots of great pictures for me to scroll through! Thanks!

What does one say when a policeman helps you down the ladder?

Hehe, 'please leave' is about all they can say. I have not had any encounters with the law in over 175 explores now. Staying incognito is the best bet.

No kidding! That is impressive. Most people I know get nabbed, but, usually, it is when they have surveillance cameras running. It might be the first thing I check for.

What fun @slobberchops, i would love to see photos of this building when it is restored. Are you going back to see it? Regards Angie

It will be flats, so I doubt I will be welcome!

Definitely not and what a shame.

I would have thought it would cost too much to refurb that? I presume it's being turned into flats?

From what I can gather yes..., flats. Its quite central and in the middle of that town hit with the worst current COVID rate but I wont hold that against it.

It saddens me to see the disrepair some of these places have fallen into. This one looked like it was such a very nice place at one time. It made me think of a place I would have loved to pull up a stool and grab a pint.

I figure it was quite classy once. Just a few years before the closure it was restored. You do all that work and then die (Mr Smith). Must have been terrible for the other partner.

Fascinating, and somewhat sad as the mementos evoke images of the laughter and enjoyment the place once held. I have yet to meet a non-creepy basement. 😂👍

I have done many a basement, they often house the most interesting things. This one was quite creepy on the official creepiness scale. I likely would not go down there solo, though I know other explorers do.

Hopefully they are going to do some restoration. It seemed to be in fairly good condition in relation to some of the other places you have visited. That wood work is pretty amazing. It would be great if some of it can be slavaged.

Smudges was a blast, full of atmosphere and gruesome sights. It has some nice original features, and now has approval to be renovated. I hope they keep the old woodwork.

That is kind of cool how it had different things on different levels too. You don't see that too much around where I live. Probably in the bigger cities.

It’s always good to find little personal mementos brings the place alive
But what the fuck is a cheeky Vimto?


Amy Winehouse's drink of choice it seems. Loved Smudges, a place full of character and the polar opposite of London House!

And that’s a fact !

Hope this is restored to it's old grandeur, what a mess inside still signs of solid wood given some attention may make and tidy refurbishment.

Nice visit not great seeing condition people leave some places in, jumping walls at 14 is one thing, well those days are gone.... So here I am enjoying looking at this all through your lens.


It's not the fear of climbing, more the frustration. That and after a few seconds of this exercise I am totally wiped out and sweating like a bastard. It was so easy once, long ago.!

Frustration knowing we could, now we well... not so agile.... yup calls for lamenting how little thought was needed when exploring.

It's great it's going to be restored and that you had the opportunity to explore it before that. Imagine to visit it again after the restoration, like a time traveller

If it's flats I doubt I would be welcome after the reno work is done.

Where are the bogs? Just seems to be decaying rather than being ransacked. It's good if it's going to be renovated. Will be a big job.

I deliberately did not post the bog picture on this occasion as they are:

A) getting more prevalent in my posts.
B) not very photogenic
C) sometimes smattered with shit
D) only of interest to @livinguktaiwan

.. but as you asked, I have an exclusive for you taken in Smudges.


Just about usable, but due to the non-payment of United Utilities and them being filled with junk... this piss may well end up on your toes.

I hope I haven't got myself a new reputation on Hive 🤨

I must think this in the future...

'Pineapple cake, Pineapple cake, Pineapple cake'

that's a lot better, as long as it's really got pineapple filling 🙃

Maybe in need of some Jif. Yeah, I know they changed the name.

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