Tales of the Urban Explorer: The Women's Land Army Hostel

After being summarily told to "fuck off or I will call the police", by a spotted-nosed skinny-faced male 'Karen' while gazing dreamily at a row of broken-down terraced houses next to his shop, we forced our vision to what lay in the next field.

The Winfield’s cheap shoe store attendant, content that he had moved us on happily went back to his minimum wage job, called off his equally spotty bouncers and left us alone.

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It looked even worse than the broken-down houses, was very derelict and close enough to u-turn and walk to.

"This is one shitty start", I complained to @anidiotexplores who had impaled his leg on barbed wire while failing at "The Elms", just across the road, and was trying to contain the blood dripping onto the roadside.

Like any good explorer, it was more an inconvenience than pain and would clot nicely before we had finished up at this...…, 'whatever the fuck it was'.

Bypassing the woeful fencing we were still aware of spotty in the cheap shoe factory that was still quite close, and quickly got in close to the building to avoid another confrontation.

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A little post explore research tells me this grade-listed crucifix-shaped building was erected during the war years and is a former Women’s Land Army Hostel.

The Woman’s Land Army (WLA) was formed in 1939 as a response to the outbreak of the Second World War and the need to increase domestic food production and the number of agricultural workers available.

The former Women's Land Army Hostel is a brick-built, single-story building to a cruciform plan on a north-south axis.

It was designed in July 1942 by the architect F Roberts of Mold and opened in 1943. It functioned throughout the later stages of the Second World War and closed in 1950. It was later adapted to house livestock.

World War II was way before my years but I have a certain fascination for anything related to it. There is some further reading here detailing what life was like working, or should I say slaving in those times at the hostel.

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We started looking around at the remains of what was a functional kind of labour camp to support the troops fighting a senseless war.

If it was really closed in 1950 we could expect very little left and definitely no old ration books being strewn around.

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The door does look authentic at least.

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The desk; is it really seventy-something years old? It's been there for some time but I am not sure about its age or authenticity.

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There was plenty of rubble to be found along with several collapsing roofs.

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Nothing was mentioned about this Women’s Land Army Hostel being targeted with bombs, though it looks like it was.

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The long room does look like an area to house Pigs or some other livestock. At least the excrement was not nasally hanging around or worse sticking to our shoes.

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Down at the bottom of the long crucifix, I spotted what looked like office furniture. It could have been the office workers liked sharing their duties and the pigs kept them company with their frequent grunts and snorts.

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I have my suspicions this is more like MFI furniture. While the former pre-fab cheap DIY company has folded I am quite certain it was not trading in 1943.

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What does the ‘25’ signify? There were other numbers dotted around the building.

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It was all very derpy yet strangely photogenic.

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Why the tyre? I know Welsh people tend to be short. Perhaps they struggled to place their arses on the shitter and needed to stand on one?

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There appears to be a boarded small window in the tower. We could not find any stairs; they could have disintegrated over time.

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Our Welsh explores would improve considerably after this woeful start. Giving the finger to spotty while passing his shop we clambered in the car and continued onward.

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Another blip in a "Karen" finding their way into your life, old WW11 building was left neat and tidy even if it was last occupied by pigs with snouts!

First desk photographed looks legit for time stamp around 1940's, rest are too modern, interest in everything about WW11 used to capture my imagination in years growing up.

Nice photography shoot, another venture under the belt!

!BEER

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Thanks for the info Joan, I figured it may have been real but wasn't sure. I do love WW2 stuff and am constantly watching those history channel documentaries.

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History channel documentaries, Michael Portillo's Railways of the Great War was interesting if you enjoy trains, you can find them on You Tube.

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Really, a shoe shop needs bouncers? I would have told him to go ahead and call the cops. What would they really do about it? From what you say they would just tell you to move along like he did, so big deal. I bet he wouldn't have even called anyway. putz. This one was sparse, but interesting nonetheless.

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(Edited)

I would have told him to go ahead and call the cops.

It's unnecessary drama @bozz. Some of these 'explorers' are into all this, but I would rather move on to what's next.

It takes the best part of 90 minutes just to drive into this area.. and we always have a large busy schedule. I don't want to waste our time with plod and their dumb questions.

spotty was the boss and was ordering his cronies into the nearby old houses to see if there were more of us. It was futile.. as we had hardly sniffed them and he was outside and in our faces.

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Sometimes drama is good. Especially when someone has a god complex.

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Makes you wonder whether spotty and his mates have got something going on in those old houses that they shouldn't, which is why they were so quick to tell you to fuck off...

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You had me at the opening paragraph. I'm happy to report nothing sucked after.

Were you aware it's a crucifix shape before you searched it? Neat fun fact.

Entertaining per'yuze sir, til next time.

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I had no idea about the shape, it's a weird one isn't it? A bit crap inside.., besides the ancient authentic desk.. I have been told.

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have you ever thought of using a drone? Like the tower with no stairs .....
But adding a aerial view your your explorations might be interesting. But also inside, in hard to get places where there is just too much rubbish to get through on foot.

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I did buy one but was terrified of losing it. £500.. and then it's gone. It was noisy as hell and I rely on stealth. Not good for what I do. The images you can get are great though.

I sent the drone back and got a full refund. There's issues with pilot licenses here and where you can fly them to add to all this.

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for your purposes, those small mini drones, running whisper-quiet would be better for indoor exploration. They are not expensive. Of course for aerial photos you need something bigger - depends what you can run without a license.
Check out what my friend Peter Gric does with his drones (he has a large collection, both planes and helicopters. https://peakd.com/hive-150994/@gric/free-drone-video-ql8kz3
he also has some very small mini drones he is quite adept of flying in the house.

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Those male Karen's possess a special skill of being able to amass great amounts of drama from thin air and will put ones patience to the test within seconds.

Glad you didn't end up with a criminal charge.. from slapping the shit out of him or something..

This place is rather strange with an eerie vibe to me, through the photographs anyway. It doesn't feel welcoming despite being pretty cool looking.

A lot of stories come together as you've pointed out. I kind of doubt workers/slaves were very happy there.

Number 25... hmmm haven't a clue, but that is very interesting too.

It's amazing seeing the aerial view, and how symbolism has been laden into so many structures. Anyone with even a minimal amount of experience with architecture will know this is not something that would ever happen accidently!

Great post as always @slobberchops, thank you for sharing! :)

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Not accidental at all! I had no idea at the time about the shape. As usual.. I felt nothing at all while inside. I have been to much creepier places TBH.

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Very strange.
Why does the toilet have a wheel?

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so thats what it looks like inside, guess old spotty stopped you from doing the houses?

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If we had come from the back, we could have gotten in those houses.., quite annoying. There was little in the old hostel but on looking it up and the history.. I was surprised by what I found.

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The tire next to the shitter doesn't have the same pizzaz as a stripper pole, but interesting story behind that one if you could find someone to tell the tale.

I imagine the numbers on the wall had to do with that assigned to the livestock or lots for tracking purposes, but that's just a guess.

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I can't always find the history, this one was quite easy and has lots. I would imagine that long part is where all the work was done. Must have been cramped sleeping conditions.

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Where did the little window above and next to the 25 go to?

Anything exciting like another universe, or just the same derpy derp?

After watching spotty and his mates for a time to see what they are really up to in the old houses, can you go back at some stage to have another go?

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they are really up to in the old houses, can you go back at some stage to have another go?

Knowing what I know now.. yes.. we could do the row of houses. There's a sole one on the other side which might be more problematic. As always.. stealth is key.

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Karens come in many forms and shapes, and they are definitely one of the biggest stones in the shoes of an explorer, whether urban or nature, we don't mean any harm and we actually just want to admire the spot we are discovering, but Karens don't like this. I'm not sure if they have an issue with us having fun and enjoying life because they just can't do the same and they are jealous, or if they actually have some sort of self-given right to police other people's actions coming from a self-given pedestal or moral high ground. Either way, I know what you mean.

The toilet and tire picture is my favorite, I don't know why I love watching abandoned sceneries with leftovers from the owners or users that are no longer there, but the story is still there, and these kind of pics tell a hell of a story.

This post was great man, I actually enjoy all your urban exploration posts but I decided to start commenting again and not just read and conzoom.

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Karen's always think you are after stealing.., and there's little chance of persuading them otherwise. If they get on your case, it's best to walk away.

You might think I encounter a lot but it's not true. I do my best to avoid people at all costs. They get in the way..

I actually enjoy all your urban exploration posts but I decided to start commenting again and not just read and conzoom.

That's good to hear.. I have some stunners coming up. Wales is the mecca for UX.

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I cannot believe the desk withstood the test of time. I have one of those old wooden ones. Seems you just cannot kill them. I found it in a thrift shop for $20 and have had it forever.

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I found on Google, 1940's for sure. It looked real, the others, not so much. The crucifix shape was interesting. At first it reminded me of the Red Cross symbols that the military was fond of using during that time, although most of them were painted, so me were built that way. Could the tower have been a watchtower of sorts? The numbers in the building look reminiscent of old WW2 military buildings here in the States. Usually building numbers to identify where you are putting things, maybe?

It's not like Spotty was getting kickback or anything. I have no idea why they feel like it is their job to tattle on you two. You don't look homeless or like you are robbing the place with your cameras. I realize that people do vandalize, but, isn't he intelligent enough to make a distinction?

There wasn't much left of this place, sadly, and I think they actually have only one left intact, but, your really made the pictures quite nice. A very photogenic space there. I have great respect for these (most often, very young) women, they made a major contribution to reducing the country's food imports, and actually produced about 70% of all the food the country needed. Pretty awesome and thank you for an interesting post on it!

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I love seeing your posts, urban exploration is awesome, so many cool places to find

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Wow, what a find. I've always been interested in the Women's land army and really all of the various changes that were suddenly thrust upon society, starting with WWI when what so many took for granted was shattered, really the end of the 'way things were'.

Did you see any ghosts in overalls and victory rolls, :) ?

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