Abandoned Storr’s Bridge Works (Loxley, Sheffield)

WOW! What a place this is and I am really happy that I got to see it before it gets demolished, even though I know that I am a little late to the party. 28 Days Later and Derelict Places have lots of reports on this place, going back a few years, so you can take a look at how the place has deteriorated.

The footprint of this place is huge, the site was owned by Bovis Homes who bought the site back in 2006. They had planned to put 500 homes on the site. However, local opposition halted plans stating that the area could not sustain that many new homes, which I agree with 100%. I believe that discussions are underway once again to build on the site, but the plans have been scaled down. I personally think that the site should be made into some sort of nature reserve as it is located in a quiet valley surrounded by countryside.

The factory is known locally as the Storr’s Bridge Works. However, I believe that it has been occupied over the years by a few different companies, including Thomas Marshall and Co,  Hepworths and Carblox. The valley of Loxley supplied bricks to the Sheffield steel industry, beginning in the 1800s and ceasing in the 1990s. The area was rich in ganister which came from the Stannington pot clay seam. There were multiple mines in the area (I believe one may remain but I have yet to find it).

The factory closed when the demand for produce decreased alongside the decline of the steel industry in Sheffield.

There is hardly anything left of the factory today. Most of the interiors have been removed and what is left has been trashed. People have done a great deal of fly-tipping on the site also, which the council have failed to clean up.

The site is located along a public footpath and whilst there are some signs up that say “do not enter” the site is easily accessible due to the temporary fencing being removed in parts. There is some great graffiti (and some not so great) on the buildings. The most interesting part of the site was being able to walk through what I think are the old furnaces, but you will have to watch my video in order to see that :).

If anyone reading this worked at the factory, please comment and share your memories as I would love to hear them.

If lockers could talk. I bet these have heard some stories.

The Mystery of the Creepy Coastal House.

I tried to recall from my many visits to the area if this house has always been derelict. However, I could not remember. The house is situated along a public footpath, a route popular with walkers and joggers. Despite the boarding on the windows, there are no fences up, no private, or no trespassing signs. I find it strange that a house in such a beautiful area is derelict.

In the garden, there is an old, rusty lawnmower and some plant pots that grass has now grown over. It appears that the gardens were once carefully maintained. There is a small outhouse containing some rubbish and a catalogue from the 1980s. It looks like maybe this house has not been touched for some time.

There is no glass in the windows, but there is a small gap in the boarding that I managed to poke my GoPro through. When I looked at the video (linked above), the inside of the house is ransacked. Perhaps someone broke in and looked through whatever was left for anything valuable. From the interiors, I think the house has been derelict for some time.

I have scoured the internet, but I cannot find any information relating to the history of the house. I wondered what its initial purpose was. It is situated away from the other residential homes around the port. I wondered if this building was either a watch house or a fisherman’s house. The stairs at the rear, that provide access to the upstairs level made me think that it served another purpose than just being a residence. Perhaps someone elderly lived in the house and after they passed away, there was no-one to inherit the property, so it was left.

For now, it remains a mystery.

The Remains of RAF Woodhall Spa

Today, parts of the old RAF base at Woodhall Spa make up the Thorpe Camp Visor Centre. However, if you look around the area, there are other hidden remains of the old base.

Before my visit, I found some blog posts and watched some YouTube videos on the derelict parts of the base. However, when I got to Woodhall Spa, some of them have now sadly been demolished (video below).

However, if you know where to look (some locals told me) there are still some buildings that remain.

RAF Norton Aerodrome

This site is very overgrown, there is a lot of rubbish; an old van, broken caravan and litter. It looks like people have used it as a dumping ground. There are some buildings left but they are pretty trashed and are covered in graffiti. I do not know what the future of the site is. Earlier this year the Sheffield Star published as story which stated that the buildings are to be demolished. However, the future of the site is currently unknown.

It would be nice if the council converted into a park as the site is huge and there are some lovely wildflowers. However, it is prime real estate and I would have thought that Sheffield Council will put houses on it, or sell it for housing eventually. It is in a Green Belt area so maybe that will have some say on what the site will be used for in the future.

There is not a great deal of information online about the site. I assume that the local archive will have more, but with COVID, it is currently closed. The air base began as the No 16 Balloon Training Centre in 1939, and was the home of three squadrons of barrage balloons to fend off attacks.

In 1943, the balloons were transferred to London and Norton was used as a station in the in the Royal Auxiliary Air force Signals Group, concerned mainly with radar & radio equipment, becoming the n°3 Ground Radio Servicing Squadron. This continued until 1965, when under an RAF reorganisation the Squadron was moved to Rutland. RAF Norton officially closed in January 1965.

In the 1970s, the site was owned by the NHS. There were plans to build a third big hospital for Sheffield on the site. However, for whatever reason, this did not happen. I remember learning to drive here as a teenager, I think it was £5 and parents used to take their kids there to practice along the runways. That was in the early 2000s. I believe this ceased as the council felt there were too many health and safety issues. However, as you can see from the pictures, the site is very easily accessible and there were a lot of people milling around, some people on quad bikes, motorbikes, etc. I think it is more of a health and safety hazard now than when it was used as learner driver training.

Thanks for reading.

The Ruins of Errwood Hall

Errwood Hall is located in the Goyt Valley near Buxton. From what I have read, the hall was built in around 1845, for a wealthy merchant from Manchester called Samuel Grimshawe.

The Grimshawes loved to travel and would bring back exotic plants which they would plant in the gardens of their home. As you walk up to where the hall once stood, you can imagine what these gardens used to be like even though they are now overgrown.

The last surviving family member, Mary Grimshawe-Gosselin died in 1930. The contents of the house were auctioned by auctioneers Turner and Son. The hall itself was purchased by the Stockport Water Corporation in connection with the construction of the nearby Fernilee Reservoir. Sadly the hall was demolished in 1934.

Below are a few images that I took whilst visiting, it was in the middle of the day so the light and shadows were a little harsh. The hall is a popular lunch stop for hikers, I have been on a weekend and there were lots of people sat around the ruins, so I went back on a week day to get some photos with no people in.

Thanks for reading.

The Abandoned Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel and Baker, California, USA.

Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel opened in 1957 and closed in 2009. There is not a great deal of information about the motel, but it is currently for sale at a price of $390,000. I first saw Arne’s on a YouTube video and so when we were driving through Baker, I had to stop off for a look. 

The town of Baker was named after Richard C. Baker, president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad.

Baker has some other cool places to stop including; The Mad Greek Cafe, The World’s Tallest Thermometer and Alien Fresh Jerky.

The World’s Tallest Thermometer

The thermometer is 134 feet tall in honour of a 134 degree Fahrenheit (56.67 degrees Celsius),recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The thermometer was built by the Young Electric Sign Company of Salt Lake City, Utah in 1991 for a man named, Willis Herron, a local businessman who spent $750,000 to build the thermometer next to his Bun Boy restaurant (now closed).

Alien Fresh Jerky

Luis Ramallo opened his first Jerky shop in Crystal Springs, Nevada, in the year 2000. In 2002, he moved the store to Baker, CA.

Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada, USA.

On the way to Beatty, Nevada sits the once booming town of Rhyolite.  Today, there is nothing much left of Rhyolite apart from a few ruins, the bottle house and the old station.  Nevertheless, it remains one of my favourite ghost towns.  I first visited Rhyolite back in 2016, and then returned in 2017. Unfortunately, in the space of a year, I noticed more graffiti and the old truck near the bottle house had gone. 

In 1904, Frank ‘Shorty’ Harris and Eddie Cross discovered gold in the nearby Bullfrog Hills.  By 1908, it is said that Rhyolite had a population of around eight to twelve thousand people. Although the mine produced more than $1 million in bullion in its first three years, by 1910, it is estimated that the population fell to just under seven hundred people.  The last Rhyolite resident passed away in 1924.  Many of Rhyolite’s buildings were relocated to the nearby town of Beatty.  The Miner’s Union Hall in Rhyolite became the Old Town Hall and many other buildings were used to construct a school. 

Rhyolite gets a mention in Ian Flemming’s 1956 novel, Diamonds Are Forever.  

Spectreville is a fictional place but there is a Specter Range near Amargosa Valley in Nevada.

The Bottle House (known as Tom Kelly’s Bottle House) was restored by Paramount pictures in January of 1925 for the filming of a silent movie, The Air Mail. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I did not take a picture of the house.

The movie, The Island (2005) starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor was partially filmed in Rhyolite as was Six-String Samurai in 1998.

Ruins of the School Building
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 

Useful Information:

Rhyolite is a mixture of private and federal land.

Entry is free and the ghost town is open 24/7

Remember, be respectful and take nothing but pictures.

Happy exploring!

Zzyzx, San Bernardino County, California, USA.

Formerly Soda Springs

Located off Highway 15 in California, Zzyzx is home to the California State University Desert Studies Centre.  However, it was once home to a health spa called Soda Springs.  The spa owner, Curtis Howe Springer was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He worked as an insurance salesman and then a radio evangelist, calling himself “the last of the old-time medicine men.” However, it seems that Springer had no formal medical training.  After making some money through preaching and selling homemade homoeopathic remedies, Springer used the money to file a mining claim in the Mojave Desert, which he called the area, Zzyzx.

Springer built a hotel and health spa on his desert land, heating the water with pumps and claiming that the site offered miracle cures.  Soda Springs ran for almost 30 years with people believing they were receiving natural medical treatments.  In 1969,  several customers made complaints and the American Medical Association subsequently investigated Springer, labelling him the “King of the Quacks.”   He was convicted in 1974 of fraud for which he served prison time.  Springer died in 1985 at the age of 88 in Las Vegas.

Only a few of the old buildings remain today but nevertheless, they are a reminder of the obscure story of Curtis Howe Springer and how one man managed to con people for the majority of his life.

Tips for visiting.

We just stopped by on route to Los Angeles. The place was quiet with maybe one more person having a look around. I assume you can walk around at your leisure as we did, but if you want to make sure before visiting, contact the university. http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/desert-studies-center

Happy exploring.