A little history…
George Eastman the American innovator and founder of the Eastman Kodak Company were responsible for developing the seven-acre plot of farmland into the largest manufacturing plant in the British Common Wealth. The Harrow site opened in 1891 and employed over 6,000 people at its peak in the 1950’s when the site was increased to 55 acres in size. It was Kodak’s first facility outside of America and spent 125 years developing and printing photographs.
The Headstone Garden site contained over a hundred chickens, which supplied the egg white, used within the covering of photographic paper. The company also owned much of the surrounding land and built the Kodak Sports Stadium for the use of its employee’s.
After The First World War the government frightened of a repeat used some of the plants buildings as “secret retreat positions” for government officials and civil servants.
Sadly with the plant becoming unviable due to the drop in demand of photographic printing paper, operations ceased in the end of 2016 and with the loss of 250 jobs. The headquarters remain in Hemel Hempstead and other smaller plants continue to function.
I had some preconceived ideas that this maybe a rather tricky explore, which I soon found out to be the case lol. Firstly I had an unsuccessful yet pleasant walk around the sites perimeter on a calm sunny afternoon but decided this just wasn’t going to happen so a revisit was in order.
A few days later I found myself in the early hours of the morning freezing my bits off in a windswept field, this wasn’t looking good again! Exploring a little further, I found myself almost peering up the fluffy black and ginger bottom of a rather chilly German Shepard. I was lower down to dog and handler so all I could see was furry feet and hear doggy breathing, I kept still then slowly crept back into the darkness
So on with a few pic’s…
_MG_7014 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
Once inside I actually found this explore one of the most disorientating I’ve ever experienced and being a solo trip made it even harder.
The site was fairly large but like the tardis it is much bigger on the inside! I found myself getting rather confused at where I had been, on what level I was on and generally where the hell I was. This was amplified by the fact that the main building contained no windows whatsoever, so it was impossible to get any bearing in relation to the outside.
_MG_7081 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
The internal layout was a rabbit warren of small rooms interlinked by darkened corridors, pitch black rooms, smaller rooms then just as your eyes were adjusting to the darkness I’d open a door and find myself in an orangey lit mini warehouse.
_MG_7058 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
Narrow staircases lead to even more smaller rooms and yet more darkened corridors, I was actually starting to feel quite lost at times, which is never really a nice feeling when alone…if there had been some windows (which obviously wasn’t possible due to the manufacturing process) I wouldn’t have had an issue but it soon became a little too oppressive for me so taking some externals and getting some fresh air felt great!
_MG_7053 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
This particular corridor instantly gave me the feeling of when I was a kid at the funfair, on the ghost train crashing through the double doors, I almost expected one of them freaky sirens to scream as I sneaked through it
_MG_6744 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6741 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
The claustrophobic atmosphere did make me wonder how the employee’s felt working there…but then I guess they knew where they were going and didn’t have to constantly hide from the distant voices that appeared to get nearer and rattling of trolleys being pushed through the corridors lol.
_MG_6732 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6729 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_7036 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_7033 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_7012 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6996 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6946 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
The sun broke out from the clouds for a brief time to create some lovely shadows beneath the mass of pipework
_MG_6935 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6967 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6928 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6889 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6862 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6859 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6757 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6753 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6828 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6798 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
the large disorientating, windowless building, ahhh fresh air. I was hoping to see some of the wonderful machinery that is in AndyK's consistently amazing, yep proper green-eyed, report but alas that window of opportunity was firmly shut as the machines had been sold.
_MG_6782 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6715 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6697 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6660 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6657 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_6776 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
_MG_7089 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr
I just had to include this finale shot as I found it rather humorous, especially in today’s atmosphere of political correctness where everyone is offended far too easily lol. I didn’t want to waste valuable time lens changing so this is take with a wide angle lens and heavily cropped, so hopefully you can just read it…
“WARNING FOR LADIES…
PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE ON THIS MESH STAIRCASE WHEN WEARING HIGH HEEL SHOES”
Hmmm…and make sure you’re wearing that short skirt with lacey stockings whilst putting your finger in your mouth like your suckin on a lollipop
No German Shepard’s or feminists were harmed while writing this report.
Hope you enjoyed folks