Tales of the Urban Explorer: Prudential Assurance Buildings

in Urban Exploration4 months ago (edited)

…"If he can get in, then so can we"…

I was talking about a certain YouTuber who made truly terrible videos, but that was not the point. The ‘Prudential Assurance Buildings’ was open again and this time we were going to get in.


In July 2020, myself and @dizzydiscovery had tried and failed. At the time it seemed like some kind of impenetrable fortress that would be locked up forever.


@dizzydiscovery mentioned that the old way in was up the fire escape, then jump on to a window and hope the ledge didn’t crack before you hauled yourself in.

I’m a fucking explorer, not someone who dices with death. The fire escape is still there in all its rusty glory along with many sealed windows and a few bushes.


It is for the best and we don’t want anyone falling the 30 feet or so, dying and thus giving Urban Exploring a bad name.

Prudential Assurance Buildings’, it said to us looking out of place in the busy town centre with sprouts of greenery growing from every orifice.


It was so large I couldn’t get it all in, and the very recently built train station platform behind me was not making things easy.

I would need to take a few shots and hope at least one of them could be used as my cover shot.


Walking up an adjoining dodgy alley teeming with broken glass and a very suspect wheelie bin we found our entrance.

@anidiotexplores, as lithe as ever jumped on the bin and disappeared through the broken window in a second.

I followed with an ill-timed jump cracking my shin hard on the bin, and followed up with a loud 'Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... that fucking hurt".

So much for my forsaken agility, it must have stealthily made for the door several years beforehand and didn't say a word, bastard!

Struggling to get through the largish window I dropped down, barely missing a large piece of shit.

…'Oh, great... it's going to be one of those places..., human shit is not particularly pleasant'…


Bypassing the faeces and hoping the drug-fuelled ex-owner was not home, we made our way into the depths of a very bare-looking ex-bank.


It was looking remarkably like Salford Police Station inside with long creepy corridors and peeling paint.



So much that systematically going round and then up the stairs seemed the logical approach.



The courtyard below I guessed was the Nightclub, 'Holy City Zoo' which I had been told was hard to find.

That's if you don't want to go the direct way by jumping 20 feet through broken trees and hoping you don't break a few limbs.


It was going to be one of those places which looked remarkably similar all the way through.


Even the stairs seemed to be similar, that is rotting, with bits of masonry and peeled paint.
However, they were remarkably solid and contained handrails.


Was that the legendary 'Holy City Zoo'? If so, I wasn't going to take a leap of faith.


Just when I thought I was never going to see writing ever again, the elevator proved me wrong. There was even some poor graffiti.


If that open fire was ever a roaring one, it might have melted whatever used to be in the safe.



Talk about bleak, I was hoping to happen upon the bloke who had taken a shit at this point to ease the tedium.


The artwork was sparse but not bad when found. I get the feeling that the 'Prudential Assurance Buildings' are not open very often.


Not a sausage in any of those cupboards, unless you count handfuls of dirt.


The doors were ubiquitous in number and thankfully all open.


Down there was probably the smoking area once.

It was large, but not lunatic asylum large. I didn’t feel creeped out inside and was mostly alone. @anidiotexplores had buggered off somewhere and I had lost him.



Had this building rotted too much or could it be saved? The green walls told me of severe damp and water damage.



The endless corridor; There’s always at least one classic image like this.


Someone has had a fire; likely the smack-heads. Once out of it, it’s nice to keep warm.


A huge wad of congealed pigeon-shit; delighful.



You do get used to wandering alone through something that looks like a horror set.


I started walking down these steel outdoor steps until they started creaking a little. At the end was a door that looked a little locked.


At this point, I couldn't help wonder what the fuck I was doing and hastily back-trod. The drop was rather big.


Those pigeons looked quite startled when I entered this room and kept their distance on the outside wall.


Why would one have a bath in a bank? A shower I can understand, but who would have ever used this?




I started making my way down the steps intent on finding this hidden nightclub that some never find.



I can't say it was the most photogenic explore and there was little to look at in terms of anything but cracking paint, broken glass and bits of masonry.


I hooked up with @anidiotexplores and we discovered what used to be the entrance hall.


This is what the customers would see, and so needs to be a little grander.


All that dark wood with stained glass windows would have been nice once.


Some of it was even clean..., well slightly so.



Not so private anymore, we searched the entrance thoroughly looking for the hidden stairway to the basement.


It was tough to find, narrow and hidden so well we almost missed it. Surely this must be the way to ‘Holy City Zoo’? We descended slowly down into the bowels of the old bank...


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That must have been empty a while to get that bad. Being open to the elements doesn't do it any good. I assume the stairs were sturdy though. Some long drops if they are not. The public area is nice though. So many of the old banks have been converted to other things now. You don't get that craftsmanship any more.

The open area that divided the floor from the nightclub had a huge gaping hole in it. That part is open to the elements and must have been made of something flimsy for it to completely disintegrate. Otherwise, it was quite intact. They made them strong in those days.

Agree :)

I hope there is a part 2 where you attend a vampire rave at the still-open night club hidden beneath the derelict bank.

blade rave 002.gif

A night club seems an unlikely spot below a bank. I know why that entrance was hard to find, and all will be revealed... next time!

Well, I doubt you'll find any there regardless, so have a !BEER here.

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The suspense is killing me!

Oh no... To be Continued!!!!!! Yaaargh?! I was thinking all the way through that Holby City Zoo sounded magic. lol

Looking at my Zoo pics I noticed it's called Holy City Zoo, so not a TV drama but a place for bloody god worshipping animal lovers. Going to have to change all the names now.. doh!

It was getting a little tldr;.. so the continued thing had to be implemented!

That sounds even more fascinating! I must admit I chuckled at the Holby city'ness. It made it sound quite whacky!

That had settled in my brain somewhere.. not:


I would have made this folder last July.. and even then labelled it wrong!


Lol. It's funny how something can settle in your head. Now I have that bloody theme tune in mine!

Every time I read these posts I can't help myself mourning these old buildings. It has had its own Gringots charm when it was still a bank, and as we simply cant build anything but concrete horrors these days it will be a loss when they are torn down. Just look at America where everything is regularly destroyed and replaced with something cheaper and uglier. Compared to Germany and Japan where so much was eradicated by bombardments, the US still shines as the ugliest place on Earth... at least when it comes to the cities.

the US still shines as the ugliest place on Earth... at least when it comes to the cities.

Ouch, the US peeps are not going to like that much! I have noticed they are enamoured by all our old creaky stuff here and history. It always did amuse me.

Germany still has lovely architecture, and very different from the UK. I have a soft spot for that country, which is more related to the food and the beer.

I have yet to visit Denmark so could not comment on your place. Maybe one day.

I guess it is another one of those buildings protected by archaic and ridiculous laws, of no use to anyone, but it has to remain standing.

archaic and ridiculous laws

No doubt its grade listed, smack bang in the town centre surrounded by lots of other useable buildings.

wowser, this was fascinating! that place looks like it has seen better days! Is this something I guess you do often then for kicks?...exploring urban landscapes, derelict buildings...do you parkour at all? Definitely some nasty stuff in that building. Looks like it should be condemned by now. No doubt some property dev will come in, knock it down and put up something snazzy one day. Anyway I thought I'd drop by to say hello and check out your latest post😊 It's 10/10 for interest and entertainment for me haha. I've just dropped my second post - a short story to one of the Inkwell Prompts. Feeling inspired, so thank you😎 Take care til I drop in to say hi again.

do you parkour at all?

LOL, no.. I try my best not to get injured, though often do.

No doubt some property dev will come in, knock it down and put up something snazzy one day.

It will be grade-listed (meaning it can't be bulldozed). There are many in the same status and good though it sounds, it makes them a liability to own.

haha ok then...no parkour! 😂 Right, I understand the grade listed issue. That's pretty hectic if there are that many around. Guess at some point someone will have the money to refurb them all but when you have fire damage like that you'd think the structure had been compromised quite severely...of well more for you to explore I guess 🤜😎

I know, it is quite embarrassing the way we are so enamored with the buildings there, but, to be fair, I love our old ones too. There are more where I was born in New England than most places in the country.

I lived in an old place in Germany and I loved how they had the year they were built over the door. But the Prudential Building had such high-end architectural features, especially on the public side, I wanted someone to renovate this relic. Everything about it said money.

Dare Devils with your skills meandering that place. It is pretty impressive that they could trash that place to where one hall looked like another.

I say we need to go to the party!

I love the German architecture, it's so different than ours, but then I love visiting there.. its the food, beer and those open sandwiches that you can get anywhere. Fantastic!

Wow, that looks like a pretty nasty explore. Just so much crap all over the place and none of it good! At least you got to say that you were inside. I don't think the metal steps looked in that bad of shape, but yeah if you heard creaking that would be scary! Really cool that there was a night club in the basement.

Metal stairs are usually sturdy, I have risked my life on them more than once. I take creaks as warning signs generally. It was not too exciting in there, some bank statements would have spruced it up a little.

Good post ...great job

There are some great photos in there. The alleyway outside and all of the ones of the staircase are really cool.
The room with the stained glass windows is pretty neat as well

That dodgy alleyway is right next to civilization, and the mainstream. Funny how they are so close to each other.

Two worlds Sharing a small space.

At first, I though that there is a dead body lying on the debris in the 12th photo.

Just the jacket, they took the corpse away some time ago.

As a carpenter at first I thought it's such a shame to see old buildings like this go to waste, then I saw they used 2x4's and drywall on the stair railing and now I say burn that monstrosity to the ground! It looks like they added that to the old black balusters! Such a shame to see all the craftsmanship in that building being slowly destroyed either by man or time.

There are many like it, protected by non-demolition orders but too expensive to renovate. This is the result.

Awesome shots @slobberchops.
Looks like it was once a beautiful building.

You must be pretty brave to walk on those stairs and just into old empty building like that, but glad you did, so that we can enjoy this awesome and unique photohraphy.

You must be pretty brave to walk on those stairs and just into old empty building

I don't go alone normally, though I would if necessary. It's more fun taking someone along even if they disappear into the gloom the minute your foot gets inside.

Spooky, creepy and CRAPpy .Great job!

C'mon be honest.. yer a vampire hunter like in Blade.. right?

bloodbath blade.gif

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They are live in the basement, like good vampires do.

That tub was probably where they laundered money.

I should have checked under all that crap for used notes.

The staircase and the tiles - WOW!

Those bankers are rich and need to make an impression on their customers. I wish it had been more interesting in there, and as bad as it seems.. the building could be salvageable.

Imagine living in that building all fixed up, while keeping some of the character.

So did you find the fabled nightclub??? Were there vampires or werewolves running things?

There has to be a wild monster party...
That place looked boring, lol

I can't say.. (but the nightclub is next). Does that make any sense?

Yes!!! And I want to see the pictures of you dancing with the creatures of the night!

High expectations. I have done a few derelict nightclubs and they are very dark and black (a little like live ones are).

🤣what, no hot weregirls? Or lady vampires who just want your body?

Very interested in the paint color of the building, but it is reglected, it is still solid in its construction ,only the interior is not funtioning. Thank you,

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amazing and interesting post :)

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What a shame, the building looks decent from the outside. And I hate when good features are getting wasted...

very scary place. already goosebumps run on the skin!
very cool, thanks for sharing!

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Grand old building where big boss man had a bath, guess his secretary (remember those) washed his back and ironed his clothes as well... Pity the walls don't tell secrets.

Hope you use a hazpack visiting some of these places, that mask I am sure won't help. 😆

Thanks for adventure through the place that ripped many off in bygone days!