A night in The Morgue

I’ve been waiting to get a decent crack at this place for a while now. Locations like disused mortuaries, abandoned asylums and destitute factories draw urban explorers because of the stark contrast between their derelict state and the community-orientated role they were originally constructed to fulfil, and because they’re, well, a little creepy.

A body on an autopsy slab stares blankly back at camera

Locked in: ever spent a night on your own in a morgue?

Even if they’re not exactly photogenic in architectural terms, these buildings are usually full of interesting objects to focus on, stuff that you just wouldn’t see anywhere else. Locations which are successful in this respect gain notoriety in urbex circles until they form part of the unofficial tourist trail, a term used by ‘elite’ members of the fraternity to describe sites that are just so last week. They also gain the attention of folk who are not content with taking just photographs, and consequently much of what’s so interesting to snap ends up on eBay or with scrap metal merchants. (a bit of Googling will reveal that the missing third slab in this morgue used to be much smaller, likely intended for children, and is probably living out its life as a ‘feature’ in somebody’s lounge) Anyway, enough of the soap-box shit. You didn’t come here for a lecture.

Like I said, we’ve been trying to get a good look at this one for a while, and previous attempts have all started with us being picked up on CCTV and ended with us being ejected from site. Nil points. Saturday was different. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but suffice to say that the door was well and truly open when we rocked up at stupid o’clock in the morning. And there were noises coming from inside. Uh-oh. Another urbexer doing his thing, or somebody out to strip the site and anybody they find in the process? The hole was big enough to suggest the latter, so I waited an anxious minute until I finally heard the familiar sound of a shutter clicking. Not wanting to startle my comrades I gave a bit of a cough, and then a lot of a cough, but still their clicking continued. Looks like I was going to burst in unannounced after all, what were they – deaf?

On entering the autopsy room I found two guys roughly my age, each manning tripods and visibly very shaken with my sudden appearance. My apologies for the disturbance were met with relieved handshakes, smiles, and sign-language conveying the fact that yes, they were both deaf.

Bugger me – I don’t think I’ve been so impressed in a long time. Imagine creeping around a derelict building, not being able to hear approaching footsteps or barking dogs. Big respect to you both – balls like melons. We stayed out of each other’s frames for the next hour or so, and I came back later that day with the DSLRs, tripod, and lighting gear to capture the scene in my own time.