Fails of the Urban Explorer: Turner Brothers


Fails of the Urban Explorer: Turner Brothers

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One of the final locations I wanted to visit in the Rochdale area of Greater Manchester was Turner Brothers, a former asbestos factory that was reputed to be huge.


For one reason or another the visit was delayed, perhaps in the back of our minds we figured breathing asbestos fumes without masks was far from being a good idea.

By mid September the nights were drawing in and I knew that even if we gained access we would have an hour tops to check the place out.


Being in these places in the daytime is enough for me, I am not derelict ghost seeker and like to see where I'm walking.

The Turner Brothers Asbestos Factory was initially sold in 2004 with the new owners intending to redevelop the site and create an urban village of 600 houses and a children’s nursery. There was strong opposition from local residents when planning was applied for including from the campaigning group Save Spodden Valley.

This lead to tests being carried out in 2005 revealed the site was contaminated with asbestos.

It's hardly surprising that a factory supplying and manufacturing toxic materials is going to be a great spot for a children's nursery!

The factory has stood empty since it was sold, that's 16 years of abandonment. Research told me that the security had been stepped up so I wasn't expecting a walk-in.


The visit with @goblinknackers turned out to be more like a long evening walk. We walked and walked around the circumference of the perimeter looking for a break in the fence.


If this was an old 'staff entrance' then it was no longer very inviting.


Some outhouse buildings stood in a ruinous state and had been filled with graffiti. I stepped up and had a look. There was little to see beyond these photographs.


Just a few minutes later the local yobs and druggies turned up on their bikes and took over this area.


We hurriedly moved on, walking up the perimeter of what looked like the edges of Colditz Castle.


In fact we had to walk quite a way before getting a view of our target. It was large, and far away with what looked like a huge ‘berlin wall no man's land’ section between us and it.


The local thugs had taken to lighting some fires in the local wood and were yelling amongst themselves. They didn't appear to have seen us and undeterred we continued looking for a way in.

...'there must be something good in there, lots of razor wire and spiky fences'

Parts of the metal fencing were different, but if you are athletic enough to jump over then you would meet with.., guess what.. more razor wire and then a fifteen foot drop.




After walking around a housing estate at the top end of the wood we retraced and decided to go say hello to the guards.

We had spotted a security hut at the front entrance of the building. This is the closest we were going to get to Turner Bros.


As what generally happens, Mr Guard was startled when we entered his hut with a booming, ‘HELLO’.



They are generally friendly but won't let you in under any circumstances. This one was no different and explained there were detection devices inside designed to alert the posted guard.


He claimed he had turfed out several lots of Urban Explorers and told us the usual tale about how dangerous it was, and you might just die of asbestos intoxication if you were to go inside.


I didn’t retort with anything snide such as, ’but how come you're still alive when you went inside to eject those other explorers’, though it's always tempting to say such things.


We had come to the end of the Rochdale regions' Urban locations and felt a little sad ending on a failure.


Turner Bros is a big old place, but if you want to get in then you will need to find your own way. It’s like a fortress complete with rifle-less guards.



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You'd think the new owner would check for asbestos before they closed the deal. And I feel sorry the for the poor guard, was it just him on his own all the time?


You'd think the new owner would check for asbestos before they closed the deal.

and now they are paying guards to keep people out. It wasn't always like this, the locals pressuring the council to do something about this eyesore. There have not been any recent reports made on the big Urbex sites which always make me things it's now inaccessible.

And I feel sorry the for the poor guard

They generally have their feet up and are reading a book or watching something on an iPad. It's a hard life.. but a very dull one. This dude was quite chatty and told us some history. I do probe them for information.

Wow. Cant say a former asbestos factory is high on my bucket list but some cool shots.


Thanks, it wasn't the best and we barely got close to it. I have several more in the bag I'll post soon and send to Twitter.

The latter action is starting to get some momentum. If we could only get more people here posting these.

Damn pesky invincible guards!

Isn't it funny how local yobs just love to drink and shout in the woods? It's universal


The yobs find their way into the derelict places sometimes, the generally leave us alone when they figure we are no threat to their drinking / shooting up /shooting pigeons session.

It does look like a bit of a fortress. Could make a good location for post-apocalypse movies. I wonder if there's any way to clean up the asbestos. Meanwhile it's a nice place for nature. I recently saw something about Chernobyl showing how wolves and other creatures have moved in. They may suffer from the radiation, but they won't be disturbed by people.


It's a huge site and we could not have covered it in an hour. I prefer smaller places in general. Get in, do your stuff and get out before anyone notices.

The removal of asbestos to safe levels is costly, so they would prefer to do nothing, at least in the short term.

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It is probably just as well that you weren't able to get in. That asbestos is nothing to mess around with. Usually it isn't a big deal, but you accidentally step in the wrong place and break something so the crystals go airborne and it could end bad for you.

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Nice big old place, one I have personally avoided, due to the residual risk of exposure to asbestos (having spent 30 years in the field of H&S, this is a risk too far)
But you do see Internal shots of this place posted by novices, wearing simple disposable dust masks, fools don’t realise they are pretty ineffective, let alone the unseen fibres clinging to their day wear and shoe soles just waiting to be transferred to the family home!
Well shot well avoided @slobberchops


We put this one off for ages.., probably due to that 'fear' of being infected. Couldn't get near it without impaling our balls! haha..


Good call

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