Image credit: Daft Monkey
A new hobby is uncovering the forgotten histories of Salford – urban exploration.
The pastime sees Urbexers – urban explorers – who explore abandoned buildings and housing estates, documenting what they find on the inside and sharing it with the internet.
Salford-born Urbexer Daft Monkey recently explored the High Street Estate in Salford, whose 150 houses have stood empty since 2016 and are scheduled for demolition as part of the Pendleton regeneration scheme.
He said: “I look at the history of the area, so people can look back on it and feel nostalgic.
“I was always fascinated with old buildings. I wanted to remind people of what this used to be.”
In his latest video, Daft Monkey spoke to the remaining five residents of the estate, who refuse to leave their homes.
He said: “All them people that used to live on that housing estate, there is still happiness.”
Urban exploration stands in a grey area of the law, with Urbexers taking care to follow an unwritten code of conduct. They follow the motto “take only photos, leave only footprints” and respect the places they enter.
Many approach the buildings’ owners beforehand for permission to access the premises, so as to avoid trespassing, a civil offence where the landowner must choose to press charges.
Daft Monkey said: “I won’t go in any building that would have to be broken into, I go where other explorers have been.
“If there’s no access point I’ll take photos of the outside.”
He explained that while some explorers leave graffiti and vandalise buildings, he prefers to treat them as time capsules: “I want to keep a piece of it for people to look at.
“The powers above don’t have respect, they just want to build more apartments. These are landmarks of Salford, they’ve got significance.
“People can share their memories.”