The 76th storey of London’s tallest tower, The Shard (whilst under construction) is probably not what you’re imagining. Ask Bradley L. Garrett, the above question, and The Shard will be high on his list, as the opening of his book Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City (EEPHC) documents his own account of a euphoric assent up the skyscraper.
In a world full of rules, regulations and CCTV, Urbex (Urban Exploration) offers its practitioners an escape from the norm, tapping into a childhood psyche of not knowing, or being afraid of what’s out there. UE practitioners, who often operate under aliases, are able to infiltrate usually off-limit places like abandoned buildings (derps), buildings under construction (live sites), sewers, and transportation systems. Once on-site, Urbexers admire the views, take photographs, and then leave.
Garrett’s early forays into the world of Urbex began as an ethnographer gathering research for his PhD in Geography at the University of Oxford, however, he quickly became intoxicated on Urbex; buzzing off the adrenalin rush that comes with avoiding the seccas (security guards) of live sites, or cracking a location that very few other people will have ever seen. The most gripping passages of EEPHC are the descriptions of Garrett Urbexing in situ, like infiltrating a derelict Soviet submarine on the River Medway, exploring the catacombs of Paris, mapping abandoned stations of the Tube, and even breaking into an abandoned Government nuclear bunker. Continue reading