Urban explorers are more historian than spelunker





I’m standing in the middle of a derelict wasteland that was once the place where hundreds of Coventry folk flocked to work.

Armed with just a torch I jump over fences, dodge barbed wire and wade through mud just to observe a part of the city’s heritage that will soon be levelled by developers.

I’m joined by a young man, probably in his early 20s, who I know very little about.

There’s a reason for that. This man – known to some by his online name “Dweeb” – is a leading member of a group of people known as urban explorers....

We walk through the site as Dweeb, obviously an incredibly passionate individual, tells me about the history.

And even though it’s half demolished, Torrington, a firm who used to make needles for the hosiery industry, is fascinating. We walk around the site which still shows signs of its bustling heritage....

"...I’ve never broken into a site in my life.”

I believe him. Dweeb, and his explorers, are more guerilla historians than criminals....

For all the death-defying reports posted online from cranes and empty tower blocks that are carried out, quite clearly, for the thrill, there are people out there like Dweeb who do it to highlight the death of industry in the UK and the death of the buildings that housed the industry.

These remarkable structures could be turned into apartments or offices and our heritage could be preserved.

But, more often than not, they get demolished and the places where our parents and grandparents toiled disappear.

And the only record of these buildings can be found online – posted by people filled with passion and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.



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