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Fails of the Urban Explorer: Turner Brothers

Fails of the Urban Explorer: Turner Brothers

January 2020 · 4 min read · England

One of the final locations I wanted to visit in the Rochdale area of Greater Manchester was Turner Brothers, a former asbestos factory that was reputed to be huge.


For one reason or another the visit was delayed, perhaps in the back of our minds we figured breathing asbestos fumes without masks was far from being a good idea.

By mid September the nights were drawing in and I knew that even if we gained access we would have an hour tops to check the place out.


Being in these places in the daytime is enough for me, I am not derelict ghost seeker and like to see where I'm walking.

The Turner Brothers Asbestos Factory was initially sold in 2004 with the new owners intending to redevelop the site and create an urban village of 600 houses and a children’s nursery. There was strong opposition from local residents when planning was applied for including from the campaigning group Save Spodden Valley.

This lead to tests being carried out in 2005 revealed the site was contaminated with asbestos.

It's hardly surprising that a factory supplying and manufacturing toxic materials is going to be a great spot for a children's nursery!

The factory has stood empty since it was sold, that's 16 years of abandonment. Research told me that the security had been stepped up so I wasn't expecting a walk-in.


The visit with @goblinknackers turned out to be more like a long evening walk. We walked and walked around the circumference of the perimeter looking for a break in the fence.


If this was an old 'staff entrance' then it was no longer very inviting.


Some outhouse buildings stood in a ruinous state and had been filled with graffiti. I stepped up and had a look. There was little to see beyond these photographs.


Just a few minutes later the local yobs and druggies turned up on their bikes and took over this area.


We hurriedly moved on, walking up the perimeter of what looked like the edges of Colditz Castle.


In fact we had to walk quite a way before getting a view of our target. It was large, and far away with what looked like a huge ‘berlin wall no man's land’ section between us and it.


The local thugs had taken to lighting some fires in the local wood and were yelling amongst themselves. They didn't appear to have seen us and undeterred we continued looking for a way in.


...'there must be something good in there, lots of razor wire and spiky fences'

Parts of the metal fencing were different, but if you are athletic enough to jump over then you would meet with.., guess what.. more razor wire and then a fifteen foot drop.




After walking around a housing estate at the top end of the wood we retraced and decided to go say hello to the guards.

We had spotted a security hut at the front entrance of the building. This is the closest we were going to get to Turner Bros.


As what generally happens, Mr Guard was startled when we entered his hut with a booming, ‘HELLO’.



They are generally friendly but won't let you in under any circumstances. This one was no different and explained there were detection devices inside designed to alert the posted guard.


He claimed he had turfed out several lots of Urban Explorers and told us the usual tale about how dangerous it was, and you might just die of asbestos intoxication if you were to go inside.


I didn’t retort with anything snide such as, ’but how come you're still alive when you went inside to eject those other explorers’, though it's always tempting to say such things.


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We had come to the end of the Rochdale regions' Urban locations and felt a little sad ending on a failure.


Turner Bros is a big old place, but if you want to get in then you will need to find your own way. It’s like a fortress complete with rifle-less guards.



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