Prior to it becoming Waitrose, the old Burger King building stood abandoned at the top of Pride Hill for quite a few years. It was here that my addiction to exploration began. Around 2010, I wandered blissfully around the town of Shrewsbury, probably on my way to the Quarry, or KFC, or maybe Monty's, or whatever a man happens to come across when he walks down Claremont Street. One often forgets the initial planned destination, when life becomes a whole less mundane and the outcome of the evening is infinitely better than whatever the original plan was.
I overheard a conversation, between two teenagers, regarding exploring the old Burger King building and playing Hide & Seek in its pitch black coridors. This intrigued me and I was quite content to drop whatever I was doing in favour of checking this place out.
Sure enough, around the back were two barriers- one with a gap easily crawled under and the other a climbable fence, and beyond the gateway, a spiral staircase to the top. Once on the roof, a trap door led into the building itself and once there, all its floors were explorable. Fascinated, I told any friends who would be interested that this wonderful place existed, and it started a little addiction with finding similar places. An addiction that still nags at me to get out and do more, because these things are everywhere.
Note- The group I explore with have a strict policy of leaving everything as it was, not vandalizing or stealing, and not exploring or violating any residential properties, nor do we force entry, merely utilize existing openings. Any entry on the blog that does detail a means of access does so under the assumption that the means of access can no longer be reached. Never would we reveal an existing opening over the internet, for fear of negative consequences against the property or the person entering.
(Click on a picture to see it big)
Most of the offices we didn't dare enter, due to widespread mold or decay of the floor. Also, for reasons such as being seen through the windows that take up a large portion of the walls, meaning it would be difficult to hide our presence. In hindsight I find this quite entertaining, and also rather annoying, as I've become a much more confident explorer, and certainly more daring, meaning that if this building was still big, empty and accessible, I'd probably take more photos and explore it in much better detail.
But we learn from our mistakes.
Allegedly in the past, a World War 1 vet committed suicide in the basement, but this was something we learned later. At the time we were thrilled that it still smelled of burgers from when it had been the kids area at Burger King.
My favourite part was definitely this awesome stairway to nowhere.
But beyond that there was a corridor leading away from the building itself, although it was flooded with rain water, and so we never got to explore where it went- as mentioned, the Burger King buildings explorability was known to the teenagers of Shrewsbury, and so it didn't take long before it was well known to the police too, and the entire thing was locked up and alarmed. The fact that I never got to follow this flooded tunnel still irritates me, and certainly sparked in me the fascination with the underground passages of Shrewsbury myth.
However, when Waitrose began working on the place, the building was wrapped up in scaffolding and we were able to once again access the buildings rooftop, and in addition, we were able to expand part of the way down Pride Hill, as far as the roof of Super Drug. This wasn't easy as we had to straddle the triangular rooftop and shuffle along with the fear of a drop on either side. The challenge, however, proved to be in our minds rather than in our physical capabilities. Anyone can do it, but the trick is teaching your mind to accept that doing something so absurd is possible. It was the first time such a ridiculous thing had been done by us but it was good fun, with a better view of the Darwin Shopping Center.
Shrewsbury would prove to be good for rooftop exploration, but naturally I would continue to look deeper...