Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lord Hill Column

Shrewsbury's famous Lord Hill Column has been wrapped in scaffolding for almost a year now. It went up in September and masked the structure from view. The structure itself is a column standing 133 feet and six inches tall, and on top of that is a seventeen foot tall statue of Lord Hill, who was born in 1772 and became a famous soldier. He fought alongside the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, amongst numerous other military campaigns, and was allegedly referred to as Daddy Hill by his troops who loved him. He saw the world and was made Viscount Hill by his death in 1842.

There was a time when the public could request a tour guide at the nearby council offices and go all the way up the column via a spiral staircase inside it, but those days ended years ago for some reason, and the statue had fallen into disrepair by 2013, whereupon it was wrapped in scaffolding.

I've been watching this column for some time now, waiting as the column was slowly unwrapped this month, the scaffolding slowly peeled back, revealing the proud statue of Lord Hill.

And now I'm confident, nobody can get up there.

Which makes it perfectly fine to tell the world about that time that I did.

The above photograph was stolen from Wikipedia. It's important to note, that's all I've stolen. I don't steal anything from the places I explore, except the photons that carry the image to the camera lens. Nor do I force entry, or disclose access. Unfortunately, the means of access up Lord Hill column were too self explanatory, so I chose to wait before I told of this adventure, just so that I don't inspire some idiot to do it and fall to their death. It's dangerous, what I do.

So as you can imagine, we climbed the scaffolding all the way to the top. Let me tell you, at 133 feet it was pretty windy up there, but the view was spectacular.

But Lord Hill, himself? Now there was a mighty statue. And I looked him right in his big concrete eyes.

The statue himself has remarkable detail. He's so tall he stands on  multiple storeys of scaffolding. He has stars on his uniform. He has fingernails! And he's holding a big metal sword.

And that seemed to be that. However, while we were up there, a thought occurred to me. You see, the way up was in view of numerous roads, as the column is right next to a roundabout. It made the actual act of climbing it very tedious and scary. But I knew there was a staircase inside the column, and since nobody whose ever gone up it would expect people to get in through the upstairs doorway, why would it be locked? Assuming the lock on the bottom was openable from the inside, this would provide a cool means of getting back to the ground floor without being seen.

Well the upstairs door did open.

What a mystery. What could possibly be in this chest?
In the end, the door at the bottom wasn't openable, so we had walked down a 133 foot spiral staircase only to go back up it, but it was worth it.
Also on the walls, of the interior and the exterior at the top by the door, were loads of signatures, most of which were from the 1990s when graffiti was cool, but some went back to the 1940s. And it was dark, so I no doubt missed it.

In closing, let me say this- they are planning on letting people go up the column from September 11 to September 14, and according to the Shrewsbury Chronicle you can procure a place in this tour group by e-mailing
I recommend it, as the view is spectacular. Sure, you won't get to snap the actual statue from eye level like we did, but for a four day window it's pretty impressive.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Secret Garden, Shrewsbury

Very recently I was exploring Shrewsbury with a good friend of mine, determined to find something new and interesting. And sure enough, the old saying that if you can't find anything to explore in your hometown then you aren't searching hard enough, is indeed true.
We found this harmless, inconspicuous bundle of tires surprisingly close to the middle of Shrewsbury. What exactly could be going on here?

From another angle, it was obvious that what I was in fact looking at was a staircase made out of tires. Of course, the big metal fence in the way made sure people didn't often see it from that angle, and the overgrown plants made sure it remained nicely disguised.

So what was at the top of these stairs? A curious bench placement, with no real view from it, but clearly placed deliberately in what must have been a garden at some point.

Moving beyond this, we found a whole area full of oddities- an old boat, partially buried under dirt, twigs and general forest shite. And then there was a lawn mower, which had been claimed by nature.


But while we're on the topic of things behind claimed by nature, it didn't end with the lawn mower, although myself and my friend did not realize this at first. Still, I felt that there was something here that I should be seeing but wasn't. 

I took a few steps back and looked again...

An entire building had been claimed by nature! Sure enough, poking ones head through the entrance revealed that the building was crammed wall to wall with junk and as such was impossible to enter.
We did find another boat nearby though...


On inspection, we concluded that had the boats been used recently, the grass around them would be disturbed or flattened. It wasn't, but a lovely stairway did lead down to the river. This too had not been used in ages.

But this staircase at least looked professionally made, in contrast to the tire stairs and also to the ones that led further uphill into the woods...

Following these steps upwards, we found a little shed full of stuff, a bike and the remains of a small house.

Initially I tried to open the door through conventional means, but as I pushed it, it simply fell down, not being attached by any hinges. And beyond that was an entire little cottage full of junk, and furniture. A toilet, a sink, and oars for a boat were all amongst the junk. And yet the place had a fireplace and chimney, although no visible doorway to another room. Perhaps it was buried beneath the rubble.

Overall, it is awesome to find such a bizarre treasure in Shrewsbury. A house, and its garden, all with so much potential. It would be great to see this place fixed up.
Until then it remains an awesome little find for explorers.