A visit to GKN Shadow Factory: Video

GKN Shadow FactoryAfter walking around with a flip cam in Belmont Row I decided to try out a go pro and take another visit to the GKN factory.

Thankfully having a headcam meant that there was a smaller chance of tripping over some debris and shredding my hands, maybe they could work that in to their marketing somehow.

Anyway the weather was amazing and I took a good look around. I still haven’t managed to find the tunnel system but I’ll keep looking and maybe find some other urban explorers who I could join.

I have to say this was one of my favourite visits and am really happy that I can share it with you.

Belmont Row Co-op factory (41)

Belmont Row Co-Op Factory, Birmingham: Video

Belmont Row Co-op factory (40)


It’s been a few months since I last visited the Co-Op factory in Birmingham and I thought I’d try out a video walkthrough of the building.

It was hard to get in this time as there were police around the area so I tried to look as inconspicious as I could whilst lugging a camera and flip camera… not suspicious at all.

The video is quite shaky as it was my first time and there was a lot of debris on the floor. There was also the though of the floor collapsing beneath my feat.

Also it was sunny, yay!

Anyway, check out the video below.


A taste of things to come

My taste for derelict buildings started when I visited Berlin in the summer. The city is littered with beautiful abandoned buildings. My curiosity was struck and among the group of people I travelled with, I was the abandoned buildings guy. Not the catchiest nickname, but I took it.

Berlinker Eisfabrik

Berlinker Eisfabrik

Berlinker Esifabrik

The first site I chose was the Berliner Eisfabrik. This building was an ice factory, making 1.5 metre long blocks of ice. However after running in to financial difficulty it closed down in 1995 and is currently occupied by groups of travellers who now call it home. Rather than renovating the building, there are plans to knock it down. A Wikipedia entry on the factory details the potential future of the building.

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G├╝terbahnhof Pankow

The next place I visited was G├╝terbahnhof Pankow train station. The site is huge, with many buildings scattered around and vegetation slowly reclaiming the area. It used to handle up to 1800 trains a day, but was hard to imagine in its current state. The main attraction now is the impressive round building, which was user to rotate freight trains without the ability to reverse.

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It is always an unnerving experience visiting these buildings. Standing in an abandoned building, in an unfamiliar city is bad enough without having to watch out for other explorers. When I stumbled across a massive dog and its owner in Pankow train station I froze in fear. Incidentally both were very friendly but it is these moments which attract me to exploring these locations. Watching out for nails, broken glass and any other number pitfalls adds to the charm of the building and makes it a more somber experience.

Why Birmingham?

I later realised that there are lots of places with derelict buildings, waiting to be explored and have their stories told. Some may have been left derelict for many years and are awaiting destruction. Others are recently being closed, due to the economic climate and have communities rallying to get them re-opened.

Whatever the history behind the buildings, I am interested in finding out, exploring and documenting them with audio, video, interviews and text.