The Haunting of ‘The Heckingham Institute’ – Part 2

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 25.08.2009

As a continuation from horror (or something) in part 1, please find part 2 of the ‘Heckingham Institute’ urban exploration experience…

So there we were, shocked and scared at what had appeared. That was until I realised that it was Darren dressed up in props – yes that was it, today we took props to the asylum to do some phototrickery 🙂 all was good again, I realised my mind must be slightly warped, possibly so – I love horror, hard metal, urbex and mental asylums however what was too happen soon was pretty whacked out…

We got sorted and headed back through the maze of loft space, watching each foot step as to not fall through the roof and to an uncertain and broken future.

The Heckingham Institute

Asylum - Lift Gear

We stopped and pondered the lift gear, what had happened in the lift, what had the lift been witness to…? We looked down at the despondent lift which now lives it life stuck on the ground floor. We pushed buttons and pulled levers in a desperate attempt to bring it back to life – no luck this time.

The Heckingham Institute

Exiting the loft space, out of the asylum

The light in this last room was awesome, it was produced by a large hole in the roof. Below the hole as a straight drop through to the second floor. The door has 1925 written on it, looked like the sign writer had put it there. The door and writing had aged really well. That was it, we had done the entire top floor, time to carry on the mission

The Heckingham Institute

Broken hallway in the asylum

We made our way out of the lift and back into the long dark room, to the left was some light – we were attracted like moths to a flame. Inside we found another broken wash room and toilet. Again, these had all been smashed up… such a shame.

Whilst we were in here, I heard some noises – scraping and banging. My instant reaction was that this was wind related, wind banging a door or a loose board. I asked Darren if he had heard something, he confirmed “no” – excellent…. UNTIL I heard another noise, much closer this time. We walked back through into the large room and turned off all our torches, we waited and listened – you could hear a pin drop. We started to move forward, heard a noise and stopped again, we leant forward only to see a hand and arm go in front of a door, we were not alone…

Backing up against the wall, footsteps, crunching glass underfoot, we moved made a noise – footsteps stopped. An eternity of silence passed, our eyes adjusting to the dark conditions. I noticed Darren was still wearing the costume we brought for the shoot – I wondered what others may thing if they saw him. Learning a new sign language, I started aimlessly pointing my fingers around and nodding, Darren looked at me, perplexed. I spoke softly “… we can either back out of the room and down the stairs however we will lose their position, or we can just push on and find them”. Darren looked at me, nodded and said “lets go find who this is…”

We done some adjusting of kit and, with torches at the ready, we moved forward.

The Heckingham Institute

Someone is close...

We walked on, doorway to the left – room check, “all clear”. Noises from the right – a corridor, “all clear”… Now noise from a door way, slowly approaching, something is close… BANG! 10,000 needles of light is emitted from my high power torch straight into the face of a head that had thrust its was around the door – initially panicking, I looked – then I saw a familiar object, a neck strap was attached to a camera… Two other blokes stood there, looking a touch nervous. A hand was thrust out, a gentleman’s handshake followed along with introductions.

We had bumped into “Black Shuck” from and Brian Wells from, they were on site taking shots of the places – coincidence or what as I was recently talking online to Black Shuck about another photo location. We stopped, chatted for a while then continued on our way 🙂

The Heckingham Institute

Artefacts refresh the history

The Heckingham Institute

Derelict rooms

We carried on exploring the second floor, much had been smashed and vandalised. We wanted to find a room to do the second prop shot however needed to ensure we were clear of Black Shuck and Brian.

The Heckingham Institute

This is where it went down...

This was it, this was the room – good light and funky surroundings. We waited a bit before we got the axe out and before Darren donned his mask again.

The Heckingham Institute

"The Heckingham Darkness"

What madness lives within this asylum…? The “Heckingham Darkness”, we defeated the darkness in the loft, in this room we found the ultimate. Its teeth glowed in the light, it licked the sounds that came from its mouth, the axe swung, just missing the camera. How strong the weakness is, the darkness saw my Slipknot t-shirt and ran a mile, I wonder if Black Shuck and Brian saw it 🙂

The Heckingham Institute

Hallway to hell

Another hallway led to the front of the east wing – we were greeted with more decay

The Heckingham Institute

Decaying washroom

I wondered what this wash room was for, was the small basin a foot wash of some sort? Maybe this asylum did have some hidden luxury?

The Heckingham Institute

Watch your footing

This room looked like it was showered in moonlight, a blue tinge to the calm lighting felt pretty tranquil. Such paradise is easily lost, masked is a large floor collapse – watch your footing! The room looked like a large sleeping area…

The Heckingham Institute

"The Heckingham Darkness" - man behind the mask

Room after room was explored, I grabbed this shot to show you the man behind “The Heckingham Darkness”, what a good sport right!

The Heckingham Institute

The last hallway

We followed this hallway back to the stairs, we had completed a circuit of the upper floor – it was time to head out and explore the outbuildings

The Heckingham Institute

Engineering block

We followed our noses to a place that reeked like a hospital – soon all was uncovered when we found a way in, we had found the heating and pumping block

The Heckingham Institute

Heating compound

As we walked in, we admired the verticals created by the pipework. Once this was a large infrastructure of heating – now it lays derelict

The Heckingham Institute

Asylum Crematorium

The large infrastructure stood in front of us, I wonder what had burned inside this incinerator – only the people that fed it would know!

The Heckingham Institute

Aged control panel

The control panel once was the brain of the operation, now it lays dormant and will not see life any more. So much architecture is here yet has no more purpose but that of a reminder

The Heckingham Institute

Engineering memories

The Heckingham Institute

Pressure pipe and containement

A view from the top looking over pumping and pressurised equipment

The Heckingham Institute

Room at the top

Where’s Darren? We aim to get everywhere – Darren done the climb whilst I grabbed the shot. The view from here was awesome!

The Heckingham Institute

More artefacts

A old toolbox lays decaying in the old nurses room

The Heckingham Institute

Nature reclaiming the abandonment

Here nature has started the process of reclaiming the abandoned buildings. Lots of artefacts lay strewn all over the floor, many random objects and past items

The Heckingham Institute

Derelict and abandoned

This room is on the verge of collapse, little apart from nature holds the roof together. Was interesting to read the card system on the far right. This held the priority of engineering issues that were to be fixed

We walked out and had a quick walk around the building, we had spend around 6 hours on site exploring the entire asylum. We had done it again, mission complete – the buildings secrets had been plundered from basement to loft and outhouses.

The Heckingham Institute

Rotten bench at the asylum

The Heckingham Institute

The Heckingham Institute

And we were off, walking back over fields discussing the adventure we had just been on. Already I was thinking of processing and article writing for

Please feel free to discuss this in the Talk Urbex forum

I hope you enjoyed this urban exploration mission as much as we did!



#1dazAugust 25, 2009, 10:51 pm

Nice work again my friend!!! The shots really came out well, really liking the prop shots. We really need to work on our sign language 🙂

#2sophos9August 25, 2009, 10:56 pm

Cheers dude, was an awesome shoot! Love it, prop shots worked really well – we can do some crazy shit next time!!

#3manof2worldsAugust 26, 2009, 1:03 am

Excellent stuff!!! Maybe on my next visit to the Heckingham Institute I might make contact with the “Darkness” using my clairvoyant capabilities 😉

Another great shoot.


#4cmb53208August 26, 2009, 9:52 pm

Excellent photos!

To my next question, I’m quite the neophyte at Urbex…should I begin with abandoned factories (which seem to be less secured) or old asylums?

#5sophos9August 26, 2009, 10:03 pm

Dude, my advice is go wherever you can, go everywhere, find a way into everything – practice makes perfect. Take a look around the site, there is lots of help on what gear and some pointers on safety on site…

Nothing comes close to urban exploring 🙂

#6harris10November 26, 2010, 9:36 am

im confused by this “darkness” creature thing, im guessing those creature photos are a photoshop job, cause if not then wtf?!

#7harris10November 26, 2010, 9:39 am

oh sorry i just read it properly, forget that x]

#8meep14June 18, 2011, 12:31 pm

I live not too far from this hospital.. and friends and I are now starting to go in pretty much every day. We’ve been almost everywhere – cellar, ground floor and first floor; but cannot find a way to the attic/loft? Also, I’m guessing you maybe haven’t quite been everywhere in here, as you haven’t got any pictures of the cellar spaces. It’s easy to get lost in there, so it’s understandable. Or maybe you just didn’t want pictures of them, again understandable, there’s not a lot down there. So anyways, I just wondered if you might share with me how to get to the attic/loft area? Thanks 😀

#9Sammy1124March 24, 2016, 2:57 pm

I used to live 5 miles from this and as children we had many of fun sleepless nights in this old derelict mantle asylum where my great grandad once worked as a care taker

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