(DISCLAIMER: As an relatively nice human being, I do not force entry, vandalize, steal, or disclose means of entry or location if it isn't obvious. I do this to protect locations and respect them. Trespass without forced entry is a civil offense rather than a criminal one, which isn't worth acting on unless one causes damage, steals, has ill intent, etc. I simply photograph and leave everything as I find it. I do not condone breaking and entering, and I do not condone what I do. I'm a danger to myself and a terrible role model.)
In Britain, the pub industry has seen a significant decline in recent years, and with so many pubs closed forever, it's fairly predictable that I'd find myself blogging about some of them eventually. Hpowever they've been somewhat rare here, and when I do find them, they tend to be smashed up or in the process of being transformed into flats. I think the last pub I checked out was the Castle Inn, in Shrewsbury, and it looked like the set of a Michael Bay movie, with floorboards about as solid as a Michael Bay plot. I've always wanted to find a pristine abandoned pub, the kind that looks like they've just shut for the night and are going to reopen tomorrow.
I think if one wants those, one must look to the countryside villages of Shropshire, where they'll hopefully be somewhat less trashed.
And that is what brought Brother Michael and I to Cressage.
For exposition, Brother Michael is a monkvestite who drives me on adventures as part of his therapy. He had a two-decade relationship, and when it ended he found himself depressed and completely purposeless. With mental health being important to me, and due to my beliefs that sometimes someone just needs a friend to give them time, in order to help turn their spiral upwards, I thought dragging him on adventures would help him learn to enjoy life again, and give him something to do. After all, random reckless adventuring saved my life, if not from ending then from being wasted! If I had the luxury of immortality then sure, I'd just sit back and watch Eastenders. But NOBODY will lie on their death bed and think "I wonder what Phil Mitchell will get up to after I'm gone." I think on my death bed I'll probably ask myself if it was all worth it, and in the meantime do what I can to make sure that the answer will be yes.
So we painted Brother Michaels car pink, and now I call him Parker, and he calls me M'Lady, and everythings great.
So what's in Cressage? Well, not a lot. It's one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it villages of Shropshire. But it happens to have this pub called The Eagles which drew my attention.
Allegedly this was once a farm house, many years ago. However I found no concrete evidence of this, and my 1888 map of Cressage shows that there was an Inn here back then too. If there is evidence of a farm being here, then it's on an older map than the ones I have access to.
Cressages Wikipedia page claims that the Eagles shut once in 2008 but reopened, only to close again, this time for good in 2015. I hear it's now being converted into two homes, with additional homes being constructed on the land, which is a shame since it's one of Cressages very few attractions. Nevertheless, I snuck in before this redevelopment began!
Once upon a time, The Eagles had a nice beer garden here, but now it's become cluttered and overgrown.
The sign for the breakfast bar is still here, although taken away from public view. It was open Thursday to Saturday from 8:30am to 12. It also had free wifi!
Allegedly the Eagles has changed hands a lot over the years, and with each new occupant there has been changes made, even apparently having part of it turned into an Indian restaurant for a short time.
It was a popular pub though, as villagers and outsiders alike will testify.
Allegedly, according to former staff here, the pub faced a bit of a
decline and lost its once great reputation after a change of hands. Some former customers claim that it developed a bit of a clique vibe and started to develop quite an unwelcoming atmosphere. And let me tell you, a clique vibe is the last thing a village pub needs! Once people stopped going, it ended up pouring its last pint and shutting its doors for good.
Slipping inside, we found it damn near immaculate, with the obvious dust one can expect from a building standing empty for so long, but still suffering from nothing that a little TLC couldn't fix.
The bar is still here, but I do wonder how many times people have tripped up on that step on the left over the last century or so?
It's pretty much good to go. Anyone who wanted to reopen a pub here could. The bar still stands, the taps are still on it, there are still glasses behind the bar which will likely never be drank from again.
There are records behind the bar too!
There's also a box of pool balls here, but the pool table itself is long gone.
Evidently the closure, but accessibility of the local pub hasn't gone unnoticed among the local kids, who have decided to spray "Kill Me" behind the bar in big friendly letters.
As far as graffiti goes, that's certainly different. No badly drawn reproductive organs in this establishment.
It's bloody amazing in here!
According to former customers here, there was one particular table in this pub which, if a glass were to be left on, it would smash for no reason. And that was just one example of the paranormal activity reported here! The pub also allegedly had a bell behind the bar, which would be heard ringing, even if it was securely locked away.
There's this nice fireplace which divides the space, essentially creating a separate room.
According to this poster, the bars opening hours were 4pm til 11pm, except at the weekend, when it opened at mid day.
There are still some old beer matts scattered on the floor.
In this room the floor felt pretty weak, so I didn't stick around too long.
On the wall, one can see where the dart board used to be. The dart board has been taken down, but the score board is still there, and so are the remains of the last scores. They're a bit smudged but no doubt they're from the last game of darts that ever took place before the pub closed for good.
This room was allegedly called the Snug Room, and from it voices and footsteps could be heard in the hallway even when there was nobody there.
With the bar open at mid day or 4pm, this was likely the separate breakfast area which was mentioned by the sign in the garden. Supporting this is the fact that the room links directly to the kitchen.
But look at this! The menu boards are still up, and still intact.
See, this is what baffles me. People have clearly been trespassing in here, because someone wrote "Kill Me" behind the bar, unless in the highly unlikely scenario that the last owner put it there themselves. I really doubt that though. But if kids have been here to vandalise, I'm surprised the blackboards are so preserved. Surely these are vandal magnets.
Adding to the graffiti, in the kitchen someone has scrawled "Leave this place" in big welcoming letters. Talk about mixed messages. This is like sending death threats in Comic Sans font. At least try to make the text menacing!
Some pots and their lids are still on the rack.
Oh no, a pentagram. You know shits getting real now. Thank you Satan for sparing the breakfast menu from your ungodly wrath.
This hallway leading to the ladies toilet is also apparently known for its paranormal activity, with footsteps and voices being heard when nobody was there.
The mens toilets have an amusing sign.
Still better than the toilets in some open pubs and clubs.
The cellar door is amusing too, purely because usually such signs specify that no authorised people are allowed access. This one just forbids access to ALL people. Naturally signs like this just encourage me.
The cellar is like a cavern, and still has all the old barrels down here.
Moving back upstairs, we noticed this on the wall.
It's a poster shaped like a playing card, and seems to be in memory of a guy called Kerr Farmer. I did a quick Google search, and it seems that this person commited suicide in 2012, at the age of 22. I personally did not know him, but nevertheless it is a sad story.
And it makes this kind of graffiti awkward to look at, given that it's literally just a few feet away.
I mean, in all likelihood, it's just a coincidence, but it's still a little on the bone.
Hanging next to the graffiti is this little plastic cage labeled Locked Up Lenny.
I did a quick search of Locked Up Lenny, and it's a Halloween toy. Basically Lenny is a little skeleton man sitting in this cage. He has a motion sensor which makes him move and say stuff when someone walks past him. As you can see, Lenny is no longer locked up. Someone has taken him.
Heading upstairs, instantly we saw "Final warning" written on the wall. It's an interesting thing to say and it sort of gives a linear continuity to the graffiti so far, starting in the kitchen with "Leave this place" and the continuing with "Death to all" in the hallway, and then "Final warning" up the stairs.
Where does "Kill me" fit in? Well it's behind the bar, so maybe thats right at the end when the graffiti kid grows up and gets a job, and gets indoctrinated into the world of wage slavery.
Right at the top of the stairs, all those warnings reached their conclusion. "You've disturbed my resting place!!!"
The upstairs of the Eagles was mostly empty, but clearly had once been accomodation, what with the presence of a kitchen and bathroom area.
Our friendly graffiti artist, ever keen on symbols, wanted us to know that even though Satan was downstairs in the kitchen, it was okay, because the X-Men are here to protect us.
There's an old filing cabinet up here.
This graffiti says "Suck my ass" but it's in a different style to the rest of the graffiti which makes me think it's a separate act of vandalism. The morbid storyteller guy seems to be slightly more creative.
Here's an old TV. It's pretty retro.
Now this is where the graffiti gets curious. If you look, it says "Look up" with an arrow pointing at the ceiling. Obviously nothings there, but this kind of graffiti littered the rooms up here, all trying to draw attention to some empty spot of ceiling, or some corner.
And in the same writing, it says presumptuously "This is scaring you."
Look, Graffiti Person, I've heard Justin Beiber sing. Nothing scares me anymore.
Least of all pencil graffiti.
I can't help but wonder if a group of local creative types, rather than trash the place, had sought to make it into some kind of low budget scare attraction. Given that there was the remains of a halloween toy downstairs, I wonder if this place was decorated with them, and that the graffiti telling me to look up would have shown me a plastic corpse hanging from the ceiling or something.
Personally, as low budget and tacky as it probably was, I admire the creativity. It's not as if there's much else for kids in Cressage to do.
There's a sticker here of the old Disney TV show, Recess.
Someone has written on the window "I know who you are," continuing the low-budget scare attraction theme.
There's a weird clock up here.
Perhaps the only thing here that's got any scary quality is this axe propped up in the corner.
Rather anticlimactic, the same spray can that had warned us that we had disturbed their resting place pointed at an empty spot on the ground and said "This was me."
Presumably there was a plastic Halloween skeleton or something there? I don't know. But it was a rather dull conclusion for all that build up. Evidently someone had since come and cleaned up all of the Halloween clutter, perhaps in the build up to the current plans of redeveloping.
However, vandalism of this kind is a step above the kind one usually gets from urban explorers, such as bad pictures of genitalia, swear words, swastikas, and gang names written on the inside of a drainage tunnel. It seems they genuinely tried to make this place useful for something, and respected the things that were still left downstairs in the bar areas, likely understanding that these remnants added to the creepy vibe of The Eagles Scare Attraction.
Imagine if abandoned and derelict properties could be turned into scare attractions? That would be an incredible way to give them new life.
As a final note, while Brother Michael and I were upstairs, we suddenly heard an electronic voice coming from downstairs, sounding almost like a police radio. We assumed that someone in the village had seen us enter, and called the police, so we made our way downstairs to explain ourselves and beg for forgiveness. However, we found the downstairs still empty, save for the continuous electronic voice. We did manage to locate the source though.
It's Locked Up Lenny! The Halloween doll that should have been in the cage hanging in the hallway was hidden behind a door. Lenny has a motion sensor which causes him to talk when movement occurs in front of him. It had been his voice that we were hearing from upstairs.
It does raise the question of what activated his voice if we were upstairs and he was hidden behind a door though. Paranormal enthusiasts will love this, especially given that it's in the hallway to the womens toilets, where voices and footsteps were allegedly heard.
As far as rational explanations go, I guess it's possible that a rat or something scampered past Lenny, and set him off, or maybe even the unlikely possibility that we were not the only people to venture in, and someone else set it off.
However I can safely say that neither Brother Michael or me activated the doll. We were upstairs, and it was on the ground floor, and I have absolutely no explanation for why it suddenly started speaking.
It sure is baffling!
But that's all I've got for the Eagles, the once successful pub turned unofficial scare maze for bored creative young vandals. As said, from what I understand, since I obtained my photos work has since started to transform this pub into two homes, with plans to build additional homes on the land too. It is a massive shame, because apparently it was once a great place to visit.
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Thanks for reading!