Urbex- John Cockerill’s Iron Works – Sambre Seraing
John Cockerill – a British-born engineer.
Born — 3 August 1790
Haslingden, Lancashire, England
Died — 9 June 1840
Warsaw, Congress Poland
Son of William Cockerill
An inventor and engineer who started the John Cockerill company in Belgium since 1817.
William’s startup business was manufacturing machines for the spinning and carding of wood for the firm Simonis et Biolley.
Tour de la Famenne – The Elevated Restaurant of Belgium
Tour de la Famenne
History in short
On the highway N4 near Marche-en-Famenne
At the start of the 1970s the construction of the tower began and it opened its doors 3 years later in 1973. It is built to handle wind speeds of up to 300 km/h. The elevator can get you in 40 seconds to a height of 60 metres. The cafeteria is located on the 2nd floor with snacks, beer and coffee to your serving.
One floor up is the restaurant at an elevation of 75 metres. Closed in 2007.
First floor | Kitchen/sanitary
After 244 steps we arrived at the first floor. Too bad the escalator doesn’t work anymore.
2nd floor | Cafetaria
A decent staircase took us to the 2nd floor, the cafetaria.
From the surface the tower looks like this. Tall and a bit weird, it’s just all concrete. A rusted sign saying Cafe Restaurant – Tour de la Famenne.
3rd floor | Restaurant
» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on March 18, 2019
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Abandoned Casco Apartments – De Werve Hoef Wijnegem
This is the sad result of the development of a sustainable neighbourhood 🙁
How and why?
|Project name||De Werve Hoef|
|Location||Merksemsebaan, 2110 Wijnegem|
|Start of construction||March 2016|
|Project||40 owner-occupied apartements
22 rental apartemens
3 retail shops
|Estimated completion date||February 2018|
|Starting price||135.000,00 €|
How I stumbled upon this site?
Frequently I randomly bike around with my mountain bike and I love to explore new and different places all the time. I stumbled upon this abandoned complex while riding without a certain destination. I told myself just go east, east of Antwerp and by coincidence this complex came across my path.
As I have a great eye for details I immediately noticed uninhabited buildings and stopped straight away. A sign rotting away in the grass took my attention while walking on the terrain with my bike in the hands. I was perplexed with the idea to abandon a fresh but unfinished project this size… just standing empty and left to rot.
Everything ready to move in…
While observing all the buildings around me I was confused to see a red light indicating that cars weren’t allowed to enter the slipway of the garage.
My mouth wide open!
Lights are on, for months… But not a single soul living there. Explain, please… cause I’m confused.
There was even a small light in all the doorbells at each apartment burning 24/7.
Who is paying for all this…
Built with high sustainable standards
Yes there is lots of concrete, but at the roof-less mezzanine walkway leading to each apartment they picked a variety of materials like wood, stone tiles and steel plating. Above all it’s open air as soon as you exit your apartment.
During the design of this site they had to keep the environment in mind and choose their materials wisely. Also the layout and design of the whole site has to match with the green area it was located in.
11 Hectares of usable space in which 7 housing complexes with a total of 260 units are incorporated in the design.
How I stumbled upon this complex?
Frequently I randomly bike around with my mountain bike and love to explore new and different places all the time. I stumbled upon this abandoned complex while riding without a certain destination. I told myself just go east, east of Antwerp and by coincidence this complex came across my path.
I noticed a sign reading
What is “De Werve Hoef”?
It is a farm that was located on this property and will be incorporated into the project
Already sold but no one living there!
When I saw this piece of paper reading “SOLD” I was asking myself why would they not finish this housing complex and let the owners move in?
Another good question is why is the terrain in between the units unfinished?
Well, that is because of the enviromental and unfrastructural works couldn’t start yet and hereby the site was temporarily abandoned and unprotected.
» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on July 23, 2019
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What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark
Once a famous theme park, now nothing more than a field of grass and a pond
October 31, 2011
What was the oldest theme park of Belgium? That was Dadipark, for sure. A truly magical place to explore after years of neglect. It was October 31, 2011 when we arrived at this location. At last we could check it off from our wish list.
As the days were growing shorter the night came quickly and darkness soon surrounded us completely. We parked the car at the back of the park so nobody could see it when the sun came up. My best friend Hannes was with me and as he can cook pretty good we had a delicious dinner on the table.
Yes, we had some luxury during our trip. First off it was a mobilhome Land Rover Defender made to accommodate 7 people with cooking furnace, a lot of storage room and more. But there was one thing we forgot… It was the day of Halloween!
All of a sudden we heard voices and the beam of a flashlight entered the window of the car. Scary, hell yes! I went out to check what was happening and quickly I realised it was October 31. All good, no panic, just some folks having fun exploring the park at night.
Next morning rise and shine for our own explore to come… it was so cool to explore this abandoned park with many attractions hidden behind a thick layer of trees. We missed quite a bit thanks to the Autumn season!
Let’s go back in time…
Dadipark was a 12 hectare recreation park in the centre of Dadizele, a village in Belgium. Pastor Gaston Deweer opened the doors in 1950. Dadizele has been a hotspot among pilgrims since the 14th century. The playground for the kids of the pilgrims who served at the Basilica of Our Lady of Dadizele evolved into an independent theme park.
Big and modern attractions weren’t the main focus of the park but it was a low-profile and affordable park for children. In the spotlight stood an 800-metre long suspension bridge, the longest in Europe at that time. At its peak the park hosted up to 1 million visitors.
And now the sad part of the story…
At some point the park didn’t meet the safety requirements and parents rated it unsafe for their kids. As result Dadipark had to close in 2002 because of an incident on the Nautic Jet. Although several rescue plans were considered, the park was demolished in 2012.
Continue below for more history…
The brain behind
the child-powered attractions
Roger Beernaert, the man who almost entirely built all the attractions of Dadipark. His wife worked 10 years at the park during the summer and his daughter sold ice cream for the kids. It was like a family business. In the winter of 1956 Roger builds a suspension bridge, which was his most cherished masterpiece.
He made the newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ in July 2012 when the demolitions started.
Read the article here (in Dutch)
Red figures in the mid-1980s
In the mid-1980s the park became a commercial enterprise, but the number of visitors further decreased. Resulting in red figures.
In the year 2000, a tragic accident happened when a 9-year old kid from Kortrijk almost lost his arm in the attraction of the Nautic Jet. This was the last and most serious accident in Dadipark’s history followed by many complaints about the safety, resulting in a further significant decrease of visitors.
The Nautic Jet pictured below.
It was decided to close the park for renovations in 2002 which would last a year, but it never reopened ever since.
Due to financial difficulties and the tough competition from bigger theme parks, Dadipark was forced to close forever, although the company “NV Dadipark” still exists today.
Since 2004, several companies showed interest in buying the park to convert it into a new theme park with modern attractions such as a wild water slide and an event centre, but the urban planning regulations were too strict to attract potential investors. The area is officially destined for daytime recreation, the access has to stay low-profile while only 15 to 20 % can be commercially used.
Several attempts to save the old Dadipark were made, but all of them failed to achieve their goal.
In 2011, the group “Dadipark Blijft” (Dadipark Stays) was created to protect the park from disappearing very soon. Its purpose was to prevent this, but in July 2012, the demolition took place anyway. A Dutch company removed the asbestos from the buildings to tear them down afterwards.
Only the protected trees remained, nothing else was spared.
The municipal administration of Dadizele thought about converting the big do-it-yourself playground into a sports and leisure park, but it just remained an empty park.
A brief history of Belgian theme park Dadipark
‘waar kind koning is | where child is king’
- Dadipark on Wikipedia. Retreived from https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadipark. Accessed on August 12, 2018.
- Dadipark, waar kinderen de koning waren. Retrieved from https://www.hullabaloo.be/recreatief/dadipark. Published on March 22, 2005 by hullabaloo.be.
- Roger Beernaert ziet met sloop Dadipark levenswerk eindigen. ‘Mijn levenswerk gaat tegen de vlakte’. Retrieved from https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20120718_00227151. Published on July 19, 2012 by Arne Vansteenkiste on nieuwsblad.be.
Which abandoned theme park do you like the most and what is your story about it? Share below!
© Photos taken by me and Hannes Hulstaert, unless stated otherwise.
» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on August 14, 2018
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Ngong Ping Tea Garden, Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s only tea garden long gone
Hong Kong had just one tea garden to date and it was located on Lantau Island near the Mook Yu Mountain, called Ngong Ping Tea Garden.
It was owned by a cement maker for over a decade. Thanks to the altitude of 400 metres and the humid air all year round, the tea grew well and could be harvested twice a year.
Following a brief history of the tea garden.
First Generation: Brook Bernacchi
The tea garden was previously owned by an English lawyer named Brook Bernacchi. In the 1940s he was assigned as the British Queen’s Counselor to Hong Kong. In order to create job opportunities for prisoners who were set free, Brook Bernacchi came up with the idea to open this Tea Garden and let them make their own living.
b. 22nd January 1922, d. 22nd September 1996
He was born in London and arrived in Hong Kong in 1945 as advisor to Major General FW Festing. “One of Hong Kong’s early democrats, he was an important moderate political voice in the colony from the 1950s to the 1970s”.
“In 1947 Bernacchi bought 200 acres of land at a former nunnery in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, and built a tea plantation on 70 acres of it, producing a tea that he sold under the name Lotus Brand.”
Second Generation: Chan Woon Chi
The only tea plantation of Hong Kong is located in Lantau Island. Chan Woon Chi is the master of tea plantation. He used to be a contractor and took over the plantation. He named it simply the Tea Garden almost 18 years ago.
The main products of this tea plantation are green tea and oolong tea. The process of producing oolong tea is complex and time-consuming. Usually, Mr. Chan would choose to produce green tea. In the morning he picks tea leaves, and then he prepares the tea leaves for several hours.
Find out the process of making tea here
Mr. Chan is very proud of the quality of his tea. Some Indian used to visit his plantation and they left some tea trees to him. He says, “India tea cannot compare with my tea!” he also proclaims, “the elevation of Lantau Peak is 900 m, the elevation of my tea plantation is 600 m. This height is very suitable for planting tea.”
The Future of the Tea Garden
The biggest problem ofis that he does not have enough people to help him. Some of his friends used to come here to help him pick tea leaves, but they are aging. Their children do not want to carry on the planting career. The labor cost of Hong Kong is high. cannot make a lot of money. Talking about the future of his tea plantation, his biggest wish is keeping the plantation. He makes a plan to promote his tea plantation and restaurant. He wants young people who visit his plantation can experience the process of producing tea. He will teach them how to pick and fire tea leaves. The next generation will experience the charm of traditional tea culture.
The Secret Garden. Retrieved from https://aria927.wordpress.com/tea-garden/. Group name EACA – Evangeline, Alfred, Chris, Aria. Ngong Ping Tea Garden. Accessed June 25, 2018.
Brook Bernacchi. Retrieved from https://industrialhistoryhk.org/brook-bernacchi-tea-estate-ngong-ping-western-resident-lantau-island/. The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. This article was first posted on 30th April 2016.
38 timber columns with a height of 8 to 10 metres each symbolises the infinity symbol (8).
Why is it there and what is written on them?
These columns are located near the Po Lin Bhuddist Monastery, which was established in 1906 by three Chinese monks. At that time it was simply known as “The Big Hut” (大茅蓬 Tai Mao Pung). It changed to its current name in 1924.
Each one has a Chinese inscription and originates from a 260-word prayer used by Bhuddists. It is the Heart Sutra.
Origin of the Wisdom Path?
The sutra’s Sanskrit title, Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, can be translated as “The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom“. The Heart Sūtra is often cited as the best-known and most popular Buddhist scripture.
More about the Wisdom Path
Tian Tan Buddha
Also known as the Big Buddha, a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, constructed started in 1990 and was completed in 1993. It symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith and is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong.
Height: 34 metres (112 ft)
Weight: 250 metric tons
Material: 202 bronze pieces
Take: 268 steps to get there
Orientation: Faces north instead of south
The figure can be seen across the bay from as far away as Macau on a clear day. The Buddha’s right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity.
The Tea Garden nowadays
I went to Hong Kong in December 2017 and visited Lantau Island to check out Ngong Ping and what did I find there…
Empty houses on the path to the YHA Ngong Ping SG Davis Youth Hostel, which I booked for 2 days. 1 day was enough to see everything really, but the scenery is beautiful for hiking or a visit to the monastery.
These houses are originally from the tea garden and are empty as can be, surrounded by plants and trees they kind of disappear in the background. Yet still visible to many hikers and backpackers as they are close to the main hiking road. No more windows, no more doors, you just walk right in and check it out yourself. Can be a little bit eerie to enter but with a companion it is quite alright.
So there’s unfortunately no future for the tea garden…
» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on June 27, 2018