Dan Salisbury and the Delicate Mayhem Gallery present Subvercity, a group show comprising of artists within London’s infamous urban exploration community, the London Consolidation Crew. After gaining notoriety for scaling the Shard, now Europe’s tallest building, we now present a selection of alternative views from within the city’s structure. The results of our illicit adventures, these beautiful and unique perspectives showcase the many sights of our infiltrations, the curiosities of a complex and growing organism.
Please come along for the opening night on the 10th of May with free drinks from Jeremiah Weed! If you can’t make the opener then you still have a chance to catch us - we’ll be on display until the 27th. See you there!
More information can be found from the facebook group here
The Antwerp Pre-metro (in Belgium) first opened in may 1975. The original plans were for a 15km underground network featuring 22 stations, but due to budget constraints only 11 stations have ever been completed. Under the city, huge expanses of tunnels and concrete stations now lay unfinished, awaiting completion as part of the pegasus-plan.
This post-dated report exposes an evening that took place almost a year prior to release, back in early 2011. At the time of writing it stands as the tallest building in all of the European union. Back in 2011, the concrete core had reached its highest point and already stood a notable part of the London skyline - making the climb to the top a very attractive proposition to all inclined to do so.
In some respects I regret the missed opportunity to take more photographs from atop this landmark. Instead, I took only a handful of film shots - not even taking my digital camera out from my bag due to the Ice cold winds.
Despite the freezing conditions, this experience will always be an amazing memory for me. The experience claimed that evening was something real, far from the sheltered glass of a viewing gallery.
Battersea power station, despite receiving regular traffic from explorers, often goes through phases of being labeled a ‘no go’ by many. A result of the constant changing of access as security react and tighten measures, while explorers seek new glitches. This evening took place at just a time - the previous access had been sealed and to make things worse Battersea was host to a private party, meaning bouncers and security were everywhere (including literally metres from the fencing protecting the only remaining known way in). He who dares wins though, right?
Timing was crucial as we ran through the shadows, climbed fences and dodged PIR activated floodlights. As we darted between cover, we worked our way closer and closer towards the very people we needed to remain hidden from. Eventually, after climbing the final barrier separating us and our goal (well lit, and with nothing blocking us from view) we lay on the floor and waited. The only way we had any hope to get closer was going to be to blag it - waiting for the perfect moment to stand up and simply walk through the middle of all the bouncers, security and hired help. As we lay there, waiting and waiting for the right time, the pressure built. All it would take is someone to look over and the evening would come to a disappointing end. Would the right moment ever appear? Suddenly, a car park attendant started heading directly towards us. We exchanged worried glances, was this it already? We hear footstep after footstep ploughing towards us. Just when I was sure we had been spotted the car we had been hiding behind pulls out. Watching it leave and the car park attendant walking away we know its now or never - we stand up and walk through the middle of the crowd. With every person we walked past it became more tense, just waiting for one of them to question who we are and where we are going. We kept walking, and everyone kept ignoring us. Fighting to hold back the celebratory grins, we turned the corner and returned to the shadows. Navigating the rest of the site followed a similar pattern - switching between hiding then boldly walking as if we had every reason to be there. Once we had seen what we came for, we left via the main gate exchanging a pleasant good night with security.
For me, this was a perfect example of how with the right attitude anything can be done. In the past, I may have deemed the risks too high - but its only by pushing the limits that you can discover just what is possible.
The British Museum boasts one of the largest collections, documenting human history and culture from its very beginnings to the modern day. The museum was first opened on the 15th January in 1759 and (as with all museums in the UK (Get some!)) charges no admission fee. Since its creation the museum has expanded considerably, including a £100 million project to redesign the central quadrangle to create the Great court - the largest covered square in Europe. The roof was designed by Buro Happold and consists of 1,656 pairs of uniquely shaped glass windowpanes. This glass roof was to be our goal for the evening.
The most rewarding explorations typically come about one of two ways. The main being through years of planning. Dedicating time, effort and perseverance to finding the glitch in security; how to access it and when you are able to do so (a recent example of this approach being the post office railway). The second is to find an opportunity - being in the right place at the right time and just going for it. That is exactly what happened on a recent Friday night. The correct balance of bravery, luck and stupidity found McNeb, Patch and I standing in front of the British Museum preparing ourselves to climb to the roof and see exactly how far this could go.
On arrival, with the British museum looming over us, the realisation of what we were about to attempt sunk in. Surely the chances of us getting busted were huge? What would happen if we did get caught? This isn’t just some disused building - Its a live museum with state of the art security. What if they thought we were trying to burgle the place? Putting our fears aside we got our equipment together as quickly as we could. It was now or never.
As quickly as possible we made our way over the fence to the scaffolding. Confident we had already spotted the sensors from ground level we climbed around the multiple PIR’s and then scaled the un-boarded scaffolding all the way to the top of the building. Once we were all up we realised it wasn’t going to be this simple. The rooftop was a minefield of sensors and dome cameras, all concealed by the same darkness we were hiding in. With no idea if we had already set off an alarm we took a few quick snapshots and pressed on.
The going was slow from this point, being careful to avoid security systems. This involved a long walk around the edge of the building, and once we had come almost full circle abseiling down to the lower level. Doing so we knew there was no way back - we pulled the rope down after us and hoped we could find an alternate way down to ground level. We were getting closer and closer to our goal: the glass roof, and thankfully still no signs of security or police helicopters. This entire section of roof was covered in skylights of a very familiar construction - the windows are almost always easy access into a building. Fighting my instinct to give one a try we continued onwards only to find they were tempting us, the next section had all the windows left wide open! Peering in you could see inside the museum - just begging to be explored! Some of us were more reluctant than others to push our luck, wary of the security inside the building.
Through the window
Dare to step inside?
The sun was just starting to come up by now, but we had finally made it. Stepping onto the glass roof we knew it was worth the risks we had taken to get here. An absolutely beautiful view, and one only a small handful of people will ever enjoy first hand. There is something truly surreal about standing atop a building not only so well known, but one that the security measures should have prevented us long before we reached this point.
We had achieved what we came for, but it wasn’t over yet. The sun was coming up, and while it made for beautiful photos, in the light we couldn’t be any more obvious climbing about the roof. On the move again, we were looking for any suitable anchor point to abseil back to ground level and hopefully escape unnoticed. By this point we were all tired, and the risk of getting caught was growing the longer we were up there. Finding a (suitably) sturdy hand railing, we set up the gear we needed and began the abseil off the museum. Unbeknown to us at the time, we had just set off a sensor in our rush to leave. On the floor, gear packed and rushing to the fence we were greeted by a very angry command to “STOP!! EVERYBODY STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND GET ON THE FLOOR!!”. Shit.
Realising the police hadn’t turned up yet, we continued over the fence. We remained polite and friendly, but our hopes of still escaping were short lived. Before we were even over the fence police turned up, our things were searched and the security guards made it very clear they planned to ‘prosecute us to the full extent of the law’. After a hushed conversation they seemed a little surprised to hear that meant……….letting us go. The worst they could do is inconvenience us for a short while, checking we didn’t damage the roof.
With all the hassle over, we bundled in the car and drove home. In just 3 and a half hours I had to be up, returning to the banality of working life.
All images contained in this post are copyright. No words or images may be used (for either personal or private use) without my consent. My activities on the evening this trip took place were not illigal, but deliberately infringing upon copyright constitutes a criminal offence. Should you wish to use any image contained on this website, please contact me for permission by emailing email@example.com
Underneath London, down below the London underground, lies an abandoned tube network previously used by the royal mail. While active it was used to transport mail between sorting offices but got mothballed in 2003 due to not being cost effective. It spans 6 miles, although contains 23 miles of tracks including sidings and loops.
Since its closure It has been aspired to by many. However, access seemed impossible with obstacles at every corner. The only entrances to the line were through the sorting offices on ground level - but rumour had it that any abandoned sorting offices had their shafts capped with a thick wall of concrete. This seemingly left the only viable entrance via a live sorting offices (not something I think anyone would be desperate enough to try)
However, on Halloween 2010 ravers broke into the abandoned New Oxford Street sorting office and amazingly achieved in one inebriated night something that had thwarted those that spent years looking for a way in. Amidst the coverage condemning the rave and the damage caused to the sorting office above - a few photos emerged of broken fire doors and a station below. This glitch was quickly sealed - but it meant something very important: It could be done.
Fuelled by this discovery, it was only a matter of time until a way into an abandoned sorting office was discovered and in turn - the mail rail.
I am proud to say I was a part of this but it is with mixed emotion that I write this report. Happy to have completed what has long been an ambition I am left wondering what will come next? Akin to the sensation that comes from finishing a book you never wanted to end I am left wondering how this can be topped. I look forward to see what else will provide as much challenge and reward!