London Buildings

Published by: Kate on 12th Jul 2017 | View all blogs by Kate

I'm into the final quarter of my rewrite and my MC is tracking down the villains. At the moment I've got them located in unspecified abandoned London warehouses. I have a ceremony with supernatural influences taking place at a solar eclipse, so I've given the warehouse a skylight. Seems like a bit of a cop out.

I've tried the usual internet search to find any interesting unused London buidlings, but without much success. Does anyone with London knowledge have any suggestions or could anyone point me in the right direction for material on old buildings?

All help much appreciated.



  • Snowflake
    by Snowflake 11 months ago
    Google earth might be a way of finding possible locations, though I'm not sure how you would know if they were vacant. Street view might give clues such as estate agents signs or whitewashed windows. Would this website be of any use?
  • Snowflake
    by Snowflake 11 months ago
    This is also from location works, under the subheading industrial dereliction / heritage
    see also: empty, derelict, ruined :: warehouses :: light industry :: docks, ships, nautical
  • Caducean Whisks
    by Caducean Whisks 11 months ago
    If you go eastwards along the Thames, there are more derelict warehouses than elsewhere; they're being developed, whereas the central and western reaches have already been developed.
    Along a river is always a good place to look - dock buildings are BIG. And mostly not used as dock buildings any more.
    Have a look on Google Earth eastwards from the Thames Barrier.
  • Kate
    by Kate 11 months ago
    Thanks everyone - some great resources to have a look at. I think my location is going to have to stay vague, but these will all give me a boost description wise.
  • AlanP
    by AlanP 11 months ago
    If you are looking for the experience and atmosphere of a derelict warehouse, rather than an actual warehouse for the plot, then do you have to limit yourself to London? There are places in the Black Country that you could visit, for example. If you need real places, Gravesend might be an area to look at.
  • Barb
    by Barb 11 months ago
    Something along the lines of an old hospital might suit. This one that I used to go past when I lived in Bow had the height to maybe suit the ritual?
  • Kate
    by Kate 11 months ago
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will be going more for atmosphere than actual place as it's hard to track anywhere specific down. The hospital is an interesting idea as my MC has a fear of them. Thanks again all.
  • BellaM
    by BellaM 11 months ago
    There's a huge one at the Liverpool docks, by the Titanic Hotel which itself is an old bonded rum warehouse. Might be worth a Google.
  • Snowflake
    by Snowflake 11 months ago
    In a similar vein , try this site

    Where I live the old hospital has been turned into flats (quite expensive ones I would imagine).
  • Kate
    by Kate 11 months ago
    Thanks for these. I am definately leaning towards an abandoned hospital for the big ceremony.
  • KallieRosa
    by KallieRosa 11 months ago
    Hospitals at night are super creepy. There is a hospital near me which they have mostly closed down for redevelopment. And they only have a few wards open. I have gone to appointments at night, and even though some wards are still open it was super creepy, especially looking over at the empty wards with all the lights off!

    Also, I don't know if you watch them but I watch quite a lot of YouTube videos where people explore abandoned buildings. If you were also looking for extra details these may be good videos to check out. I went through a huge phase of watching A LOT of them.

    I think the theme parks, hotels and mansions/houses are best, although it's hard to fit in a theme park in London but there's deffo some great details/buildings (like a grand theatre or a ride design) in theme parks that could add some great visuals. I also find a lot of abandoned places tend to be very creepy, especially hospitals when there's a random wheelchair in the hallway. Also a lot of junkies tend to raid the stock room for needles and stuff... Oh and with houses people tend to leave all their stuff behind which can add to the creep factor and also the opportunity for characters using random improvised weapons? There's sometimes still pictures of the people that lived there and people tend to gather a good picture of who used to live there and what their life was like from the stuff left behind.

    But yeah with London it could be hard as most things get redeveloped pretty quick and are rather close to civilisation. With a mansion though you can design it how you want, and some of these mansions on YouTube do have some pretty out there stuff and rooms. A lot of people who tend to have owned them were drug dealers or people who did dodgy stuff with business. And tend to have that 'psychopath' type of personality... Like there was one who was a drug dealer and also trophy hunted, and like had all the animals stuffed and they were dotted all around the house and had their own butchery and abattoir built in the basement. Another drug dealer had a huge part of his garden dedicated to dog fighting, and things like that with like a bar and a swimming pool, so he'd throw parties, and the people would also bet on these animals fighting against each other. The world of abandoned buildings can be a dark one. The majority of the mansions are designed the purpose of partying and extravagance though.

    Oh if you want to up the creep factor add in kids toys, or like a play room or nursery or children's ward.

    Realistically a lot of places have security (like abandoned schools) and most have been trashed by teenagers/people who have had an illegal party there - so there will be graffiti, smashed mirrors etc. And some places have squatters/homeless people. Some that have gotten really old you may want to consider whether the characters would need to wear one of those mask to stop mould etc entering their lungs? And hospitals tend to still have working electric for quite a while after they are abandoned, where as most places are cut off, so you might want to consider how some of the rooms are lit, and how they can contribute to the scene and at night they also tend to not want to shine light near windows in case someone sees and call the police or there's security. Oh some have alarms, so the maybe the characters only have a certain amount of time to be there before security turn up?

    Hope this helps!!
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    There is one extremely well known abandoned building in London. This is an abandoned car park in Peckham. This is used for theatrical and musical events.
    The second one is 144 Picadilly, The ex home of Palmerston, the site of a famous sixties squat.
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    The Greenwich peninsula which leads to Whisks suggestion is a possibility, I was thinking around the 02. But I have not been there recently and it is all under development,
    Battersea power station is being developed - it still looks like a ruin but the area is such a building site,
    I walked the whole length of Regent's Canal a few weeks ago and I think it has all been developed now, but I am not sure. But I wonder about listed buildings? There is a tower at Limehouse which has been restored, It contains mechanism for the dock, The Paddington Basin is very much under development and the only site of any archetral interest is the gas works This is storage dome, which might have the exoticism your require,
    Looking at what you require, the Peckham carpark might be best?
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    144 Piccadilly would be an exotic location as it looks over Green Park, There is only a short entry in English history on-line,
    'At No. 144, one of the mansions between Hamilton Place and Apsley House, Lord Palmerston was living about the time of the Crimean War, and shortly before his acceptance of the Premiership. His lordship removed thence to Cambridge House, of which we have already spoken as being now the Naval and Military Club.'
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    It is only an idea, but there is a space of time - before a building is knocked down or restored - when it is empty. This caused problems in Piccadilly as the empty buildings became squats almost immediately. Perhaps if you looked for London Squats? A lot of Whitehall buildings are bring turned into hotels but, of course, these are not warehouses. I have worked in docklands areas and there is very little close to central London that has not been developed. Even Hartley's Jam factory was instantly turned into very expensive flats but I only know south of the river well, But I think it would now be difficult to find an undeveloped building in Wapping. But one of the developments there has been a flop, This is the area just to the east of Catherine's Docks. But I have not been there recently, If youvdo not live locally, there is not much to visit!
  • Kate
    by Kate 11 months ago
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Some interesting history lessons in here Mike. I didn't know about 144 Piccadilly's history. The carpark also has some wonderful light. Kallie, all those little details are what are missing from my scene at the moment as I haven't got the place properly visualised. Some great suggestions for bits to include. Hopefully the scene will come more alive. Thanks for the links Prop. More great material. Now I'm spoilt for choice.
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    Peak Freans biscuit factory. Bermondsey. The building is still there, It has a history.
    I got the Cannon Street train this morning and the second building on the left - just before you cross the river - seems to be a deserted warehouse, You want to look along thd edge of railways lines as well as rivers and canals. The Regent's Canal joins other canals and, if you go past Kensal Green, you do come to a deserted area. The River Lee might be an option too.
    If you chose an area and e.mail the local studies library, they will help with your query.
    It is Tobacco Dock I was thinking off, I don't know what happened there, but an attempt to turn the area in retail space flopped completely.
  • mike
    by mike 11 months ago
    It looks as though Peak Freans is being demolished. You can see the building from the trains going into London Bridge. If you go to Peak Freans - exploring Southwark - you get more info. From the writing point of view, you have all the smells and remains of the company. This could be what you want?
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