Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Crowmoor

(Disclaimer: I fully understand the risks/dangers involved in these adventures and do so in the full knowledge of what could happen. I don't encourage or condone and I accept no responsibility for anyone else following in my footsteps. Under UK law, trespass without force is a civil offence. I never break into a place, I never photograph a place that is currently occupied, as this would be morally wrong and intrusive, I never take any items and I never cause any damage, as such no criminal offences have been committed in the making of this blog. I will not disclose locationI leave the building as I find it and only enter to take photographs for my own pleasure and to document the building.

A while ago, I found out about this derelict nursing home only a short walk from my home. It was in a fairly residential area, which meant if I went to have a casual mooch, I would be about as subtle as a naked face on public transport in 2020. Nevertheless, how could I resist?
What I wasn't expecting was for every door to be wide open, allowing anyone to just walk right on in. 
With just over thirty years of history, it's not the oldest place I've ever documented, but I imagine for many this might be quite nostaligic.
 
For this adventure I decided to team up with someone who actually knows what they're doing with a camera, my friend Olivia who coincidentally also turned out to be my neighbour. Olivia and I go way back, initially crossing paths when I blogged about an abandoned cottage in Shropshire that she then visited and documented on her own website. She later repayed me by tipping me off to that big abandoned flour mill that I blogged about a little while ago. One time when we were drunk, she told me that her husband is in the FBI or something. The exact details escape me, what with the fact that I was drunk. But the truly amazing thing about Olivia is she's only a quarter of an Alice tall, whereas I'm about one and a half Alices tall, so I feel like a total giant hanging out with her. 
 
If you follow me on Instagram and saw some of my venting over the summer,  then I should clarify that this Olivia is not the same Olivia who was messaging a bunch of people that I don't know, telling them that I want to sleep with them. That was... well, it was a bit weird, and I didn't ask for it, or know about it,so sorry to anyone who had to put up with that. It also came with a load of other strange attempts to make my excellent life less excellent. You know how it is. The curse of being happy is that people who aren't happy only want to drag you down to their level of uselessness in order to feel powerful for a little bit. Todays adventure is about a totally different Olivia who happens to have the same name. We'll call the one I'm hanging out with "Human Olivia," because she has more human traits, like basic empathy. You can view her website here.

But enough rambling. Let's get on with the final look at Crowmoor House!

Slipping inside was pretty easy. As mentioned, all the doors were open. The building itself is shaped roughly like a figure eight, with two central gardens in the loops of hallways that just lead back to each other. The main entrance brings us in to the middle with the two loops on the left and right. There's also this little booth for making phone calls right next to the reception.

Crowmoor House was allegedly built in 1984, but the name of the home, Crowmoor, actually shows up on maps from the 1890s, although Shrewsbury wasn't quite as big back then, so it refers to a single solitary farm house surrounded by fields that this entire neighbourhood was eventually built on top of. Nearby is also Crowmere Road, and it's typically believed that both Crowmere and Crowmoor derive from an old medieval rookery called Cromer Croft. 
 
I haven't been able to figure out exactly where Cromer Croft was, but it probably had something to do with the Abbey back in its glory days. The clues are in the names. Off Cromere road are Freer Meadow, derived from Friars Meadow, and Flagwall, derived from a spring called Fleg Well. Even the name "Monkmoor" is said to be derived from "monk" from the abbey and "Mora," being the name of a wood that existed nearby at the time. On top of that, there are telling names such as Abbots Road, and Holywell, which literally derives from the Holy Well, a reference to St Winifred. But I'm getting carried away. I just find it fascinating how names can be traced back in such a way, and also how they evolve.

The little nook for phone calls. The phone is gone.

 
Crowmoor House had 58 rooms and was initially run by the council. A CQC rating from 2012 was pretty positive, but later on the council sold their care homes to private companys, and some of the former employees of Crowmoor seem to think that this was where it all went a little bit shit.
 
Of course, when I heard this, I initially took it with a pinch of salt. I've worked in some places where a change in management hasn't gone down well because they've done something silly like make a minor regimental change that ALL new managers do, just to send out that message of "I'm in charge now," and the staff resist purely because they've been doing everything a little differently for so long. Whereas in the last care home I worked in, a staff member was bragging about spending his night shift prank calling the Samaritans helpline, and the manager thought it was the funniest thing ever. 
Heck, someone said, about a guy with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair "if he wanted to go out, he should have learned how to use his legs," right in front of the poor guy, and the manager made that person a team leader, and then they had ice cream for their evening meal because nobody could be bothered to cook. So when someone says they're management is shit, I still feel like I may have encountered just a teeny bit shittier. 
 
Not that it should be a competition when peoples wellbeing is at stake. A few of the former staff members of Crowmoor House have told me some pretty hairy horror stories about the last manager, and apparently there was even a work piss-up to celebrate their eventual leaving. I think one thing all good care workers have in common is that they've all looked at a colleague and thought "Why does this person even work in care?" I think a good care worker understands the gravity of the situation, that they are literally responsible for another human beings quality of life. Some just see jobs to do instead of people. I think when it comes to care work, most people go into the job for the right reasons, but when the culture is bad, you gotta bail before you turn into them.

The majority of my pictures are pretty terrible. While some of the shots are taken during the day, most were taken after dark, and because it was in such a residential area, I kept the lighting low to not alarm the neighbours of our presence. Here we are behind the reception area, and I was quite surprised to find many of the keys still hanging up.

 
Rather amusingly, one of the hooks is labeled "Nania," which is a misspelling of Narnia. Narnia was allegedly the old records room.
 

My understanding is that when the care home closed, many of the residents and staff were relocated to a new modern setting in Sundorne, and the company that owned Crowmoor were a little apathetic about what got left behind, even telling some staff to leave stuff because it wasn't important. Even so, it's a little shocking to see medication keys still hanging up. That sort of thing is pretty important.

There's a pile of telephones in the corner.

The managers office is nearby, but it no longer has anything in it.


I guess the managers stuff was considered important enough to take.

Perhaps the most notable room in the entire care home was the function hall. It was used every now and again for special events, like 100th birthdays and such.

From what I gather, the room was also used by outside groups, for things such as ballet lessons, a slimming world group, aerobics classes, and discos. Of course, there would also be performances for the residents too, as well as a huge focus on activities, believing that they provided a basis for a meaningful and satisfying quality of life. I'm quite happy with what I've heard, actually. The last care home I worked at had more of an emphasis on how it looked on paper rather than what it actually did, and we had our infamous beach trips, where the management would get all the residents into the company vehicle, they'd drive to the beach, the team leaders and their friends would have a cigarette outside the vehicle, and then they'd all drive back. And it would go on the notes "trip to the beach" and it wouldn't be a complete lie, but no resident actually set foot out of the company vehicle.
 
In contrast to that, Crowmoor actually seems to care. At least, the staff did. Let's be honest, if they're grumbling that management don't care than that means the staff do care. Although thats seldom how management sees it. 

Theres a map on the wall which proved to be quite useful.

 
Theres a pretty nice piano thing here. I know piano is probably the wrong word, and it will be pointed out to be by someone, I'm sure, and I'll probably be called an idiot for not knowing everything about musical instruments by some guy who never washes, because that's just how the internet works, but fuck it.
This piano thing was apparently regularly used by a man with a learning disability who sat at it every day tapping random keys and singing along. He wasn't particularly coherent so nobody ever knew what he was singing, but it was apparently the sound of the home. 
 

There's an entire box of VHS tapes here.



Moving on to something a little disturbing...

Partially because I blurred the faces for the sake of confidentiality and consequentially they look pretty creepy, but more so because these definitely should not be here.

I've blurred all the faces because I think that's the right thing to do, but this is a photo of an elderly couple celebrating their fifthtieth anniversary. Apparently when the care home closed, staff did start packing all this stuff up, but the management told them not to, because it wasn't important. 

I guess with the doors left open, clearing this up turned out to be pretty damn important after all. No wonder the staff had a piss-up when the manager left.

 
It's unusual that a care home would close after just thirty or so years, but the standards of care are forever evolving, and the lack of ensuite bathrooms, along with other issues, caused them to eventually move to a more modern setting, closing Crowmoor House forever.

 
This sign makes mention of the "Ruby disco room" which was essentially a sensory room. The Ruby Unit was apparently for adults with learning disabilities. It was the smallest unit with only a handful of residents. 


At the corner of the hallway was this little shuttered-off area. Apparently this was once a small shop where residents were allowed to sell toiletries and sweets. It actually sounds like a great idea to keep residents active and feeling like they're doing something of value. But at some point it stopped being a shop, and they started using it to store medication instead.

 
Which brings us to more stuff that should have been taken but wasn't. I've censored the name, but this medication reminder card contains confidential information and should have been destroyed or archived when it ceased being relevant.
 

 
Here's the controlled meds cabinet. That, at least, has been emptied.
 
 
Thankfully the oxygen has all been taken too. I guess resources that keep patients alive are more important than all their personal information and personal posessions. Leftover bits of confidential information aside, the meds room had little more than a few notices hanging up.
 

The hallways had these little seating areas but all of the cushions have gone.

I'm a little disappointed that this place was just left empty. While I can appreciate that care standards called for somewhere a little more modern, structurally Crowmoor House is fine, but it was left empty during an an entire pandemic, when it could have been used to isolate covid patients so that they wouldn't infect non-infected residents in other care homes. It seems a terrible waste to have kept it empty during this time.



Just off the middle hallway was this tiny old lounge with attached tiny kitchen. Apparently this area was known as the Chestnut unit, and the lounge was called Coppers Corner, but my sources have admitted that it's been years since they were here and their memory might be incorrect.

 
It was mostly men who lived in the Chestnut unit, although some men lived in other units if they didn't want to just be around men. Each unit had a lounge and tiny attached kitchen, altough the food wasn't made here, just brought here from the main kitchen. While every unit has a lounge and dining area, towards Crowmoors later years they apparently tried to reduce staffing and this led to a reduction in the lounges and dining areas being used, preferring to keep everyone in just one place. This was apparently an unpopular decision, but then this was under the manager whose leaving was celebrated, so there is that. 
 


 
There's a clothes hanger here.
 

And on the window ledge is this heart-shaped christmas tree decoration. 
 
Onto the multi-function room.
 
 
I'm not sure exactly how many things this room would have been used for, but one sign suggests at least one function was a hair salon.
 

 
I like this room though. It's got a good colour.
 
 
As for the bedrooms, I'm probably not going to post all 58, because let's face it, that will get repetitive. A care home could provide the best care in the world with the most loveliest carers you'll ever meet, but that doesn't change the fact that care home bedrooms are samey and abysmal. They tend to consist of teeny rooms with teeny ensuite bathrooms. Crowmoor House didn't even have ensuite bathrooms, but they did have teeny wash areas. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, because I love my personal space, and I like that personal space to be little more than a single tiny room.
 
Nevertheless, some effort has gone into making these ones personal to the former occupants, and that's nice.
 
 
Even though the rooms are empty, the carpets can be very telling, because the wards were all colour coded. In this case, the red carpet indicates that this particular bedroom was from the Ruby Unit. 
Alas, many of the rooms have had the carpets removed, but not all of them. It seems that whoever was in charge of that started but gave up.
 
 
This room has a stripper scaffolding pole, which indicates that the building is in some state of developing disrepair after all. But to me this effort of preservation seems odd. Crowmoor House was demolished about a week after we went in. Why would anyone care if nature and physics helped it along?
 


While the home doesn't have ensuite bathrooms, there are regular bathrooms scattered around. Admittedly it does seem undignified to support patients to bathrooms down communual hallways when they need personal care, but I have no doubt that the staff made it as dignified as possible. 

Onto the store room...
 
 
The store room mainly had just old cleaning products left behind.
 


 
Here we have what appears to be a sling for either a hoist or a stand aid. I think these things are pretty valuable, but they do have expiry dates, in the interests of safety.
 
 
Loads of former residents stuffed toys are also here. I must admit, I am curious about what became of all this when the building was demolished.
 

 
These paintings also seem to have been done by some of the service users. It seems kinda wrong that these were left behind.
 
 
It was while we were in this store room that Human Olivia and I suddenly heard a door slam somewhere in the building. We immediately turned our torches off and stood around in complete silence in the dark for ages, fearing that we'd been discovered. But oddly enough, we didn't hear any more noises after that, nor did we spot any other torches lighting up the hallway. Whoever slammed that door was gone. My best guess is someone else was in the building but left, perhaps because they heard us in there. I guess we'll never know for sure.
 

This hallway leads to the Ruby Unit, which was primarily learning disabilities. But first along here was the main kitchen!
 

 
It's seen better days.
 



 
The kitchen rules are still on the whiteboard. "Put away your cooking things after use." 
Whoa there, Crowmoor. Go easy on the kitchen jargon. We didn't all go to catering school.
 


 Next up is the laundry room.
 

 
These are pretty decent machines, but they aren't cheap! In the last home I worked in, the company got through washing machines faster than syphilis gets around Rhyl, purely because the company insisted on getting the cheaper option, which was a standard residential washing machine like the sort you'd see in the average house. They aren't made for the near-constant use that they get in care homes, so they broke all the time and ultimately cost the company more in the long run to continuously replace than simply buying one of these ginormous contraptions that were more expensive short term. Of course when you're dealing with minds that have short term vision, you get long term expense.
 


 There's a couple more bathrooms down this way too.



 

 These are still in better condition than the toilets in some pubs and clubs.

 
Of course it's a little grim that someone, presumably someone who worked here, decided to use the toilets before the place shut, and never flushed or cleaned them. Hopefully this is the work of local trespassers who strolled in, what with the doors being left open. It doesn't seem logical that this place has had a lot of yob trespass though. There's no graffiti or anything.
 


And there's a staff room down here.

 
The cabinet is labeled "Pens etc."
 

Here's an incontinence pad.

 
I think this may have been the old staff kitchen.
 




At the corner of the Ruby Ward was yet another hallway bench, and also a lounge that seems to have been used as an armchair dumping ground. .


I guess there was plenty of armchairs at the new home, and these weren't needed.



Here's the units sluice. 

And look, someones daily notes are still here, albeit on plain paper instead of an actual form. Presumably the writer was taking notes that they would later transcribe to the actual paperwork. I censored the service users name for obvious reasons.

 
The accomplishments listed definitely seem more indicative of someone with learning disabilities. I can't see such things being mentioned when describing an elderly resident. It's pretty cool that they actually promote and celebrate the things that these people do to achieve independence. I've seen some learning disability care homes where the residents are simply left to their own devices, and   done for them simply because it's more convenient. I think that's the biggest trap a care home can fall into, where everything is done for the convenience of the staff rather than the wellbeing of the service users. When that happens, it becomes culture, and then you're fucked, because lazy staff aren't going to leave a place where they have a minimum effort job, and new staff are going to learn from them. You might be okay if you have a strong manager who prioritises the needs of the service and isn't afraid to piss off the workers, but if your manager prioritises gossiping with the workers in the smoking shelter like high school buddies and doesn't want to crack the whip in case they unfriend them on Facebook, then the entire service is fucked because the good staff will get fed up and leave.



There's still some mop heads and a roll of yellow bin liners. Yellow is exclusively for clinical waste, and a blue mop is "general areas." You wouldn't use a blue mop to clean up urine.






 
This bedroom had a little paper butterfly hanging from the ceiling. This was actually made by one of the residents during an activity, so it's a little sad to see it left behind. It might be flimsy paper to us, but she had a learning disability, so it may have had more significance to her than we realise.
 

 
The rooms all have their own personalised decor, which is pretty cool.



 
Here's a fairy decoration on someones old bedroom mirror.
 
 
And someone has written "Karen" on some paper and then scrumpled it up and left it on the sink. She'll be speaking to their manager about this. 
 


 
This area was originally an entire dining area and lounge, but from what I've heard, by the time the place closed, it was used by only one resident who allegedly had some rather antisocial behaviour that made the other residents stay away.
The kitchen area here has some interesting bits left behind.


 
Now this definitely shouldn't have been left behind. It's an old incident form! It's been torn up, and I've censored the name, but nevertheless, this is confidential information that should hve been archived or disposed of correctly.
 



 
There's someones coat still hanging up here.
 

This ward was apparently called Hawthornes, and was for dementia patients.

Here's another small lounge connected to a tiny kitchen. This one has access to one of the central gardens.


There was a rather grim discovery. There's a mattress with a very suspicious stain.

I guess, when all the other beds were transferred to the new home, someone took a look at this mattess and decided it was a write-off. But insteads of getting it disposed of, they just dumped it here to be someone elses problem.

This metal frame apparently attaches to the chairs that are atached to baths, allowing a pretty swift transition. Patients could be supported to undress in their bedrooms, sat in this chair and then wheeled to the bathroom (Presumably covered in a towel for the sake of dignity) and then the chair would attach to the baths lifting equipment and just lift them into the bath. It sounds like a pretty convenient way to support people with mobility issues. Obviously with the new house having ensuite bathrooms and the baths staying here, the frames became redundant and were also left behind.





Here's a calendar from 2015. The person has penned in some names, presumably who they're going to call and visit that day.




There's some socks here.

This door leads out into the back garden, where a flimsy wooden fence is all that separates the residents from a publically accessible footpath. I'm not sure why it has to be specified that it's not a fire exit. It's a pretty functional exit, and in an actual fire, you take what you can get.





There's an armchair in the sluice for some reason.



Here the dereliction of the building is becoming apparent as nature is starting to creep in around the window. It's almost a shame that this place was demolished. Just imagine how it would have ended up if nature was given a little more time to work its magic.



I'm not 100% sure but I think that box with a lid is a waste macerator. They're basically used to dispose of cardboard bedpans and wash trays. Nobody knows where they go. You just pop the bedpan in the hole, close the lid, and it makes a few angry noises, and the bedpan is gone forever. Some say that the Macerator runs on the Mandela Affect, and that the Macerator just transports us to a paralel universe where the cardboard bedpan never existed to begin with.

There's some ant killer here.

Here's a bath which displays what I was talking about before, showing that the seat does detach.


This bath is pretty cool.


In the far corner of the care home is this green lounge. It still has pictures hanging up.


There's still stuff in the linen cupboard here.




It's time to wrap up the interior shots and take a quick look at the gardens.


The trees in the garden have been recently cut down, a prelude to the homes upcoming demolition. 
 

Given that the gardens are completely enclosed, and cut off from the outside world, they provided a safe place for people with dementia or learning disabilities to get some fresh air and exercise while also keeping them safe. Apparently the house also had a pet rabbit, so presumably that lived out here too.




That's it for Crowmoor House. As far as urbex goes, it was a fairly straightforward adventure, with open doors making access easy. The rooms get a bit repetitive but given the number of people who lived and worked here, and all the happy memories, I'm glad I documented it while I could.
From an urbex perspective, there's a really bad habit among people of begging for locations, which I refuse to entertain, due to the fact that the sport of urban exploring has the word "exploring" in it, which implies some degree of effort in finding it yourself. Unfortunately lazy, entitled strangers on the internet don't see it that way, and they've taken to reporting people for bullying if they refuse to disclose where something is. And you know what Zuckerberg's like. You can see videos of literal decapitation on Facebook, but you can't call someone a silly sausage without a week in jail. I'm quite sick of going to Facebook Jail just because I know how to use Google, so I'm quite looking forward to publishing a blog about a place that doesn't exist anymore, just to piss off the beggars when they try to go there and cant. After this blog, my other hobbies include annoying stupid people.
 
The site of Crowmoor will apparently become the site of 33 homes, and even though Crowmoor house will be gone, its bricks will be recycled. The concrete will be put towards mending the roads, the doors put towards making clipboard, and the metals will be reused by scrap merchants. There will be bits of Crowmoor everywhere. Every time someones driving along, expecting the same old bump as always, but it doesn't happen, that could be a chunk of Crowmoor making your journey a little more pleasant. That's my prediction for 2090, when Shropshire Council finally get around to fixing the pot holes.

My next blog posts will be on the national blog, and they'll be a pretty photogenic leisure centre and then some sort of underground bed maze. In the meantime, I can be followed on Instagram, Vero, Reddit, Twatter, and reluctantly the algorithmic hellscape that is Faceboomer.
Thanks for reading!