Tied To Clarence Mill, Hull (001)
Clarence Mill is one of the most prominent buidings in Hull and stands approximately 60 metres high, positioned next to the river Hull. It's easily visible from the flyover on the A63 as you're driving past The Deep. From the roof of this flour mill you have great views of the city centre and can clearly see the Humber Bridge.
The building has lay derelict for many years and unfortunately has been subject to quite a lot of reckless damage. The original handmade wooden flour milling machinery remains in the building, but is mostly destroyed and metals of any value have been stripped a long time ago, making the site a bit of a mess. Now the homeless, drug users and rats reside here.
Removal Of The Stairs
In 2001 it was reported that builders were sent to the old flour mill with instructions to secure the property and 'make it safe'. At around this time either the builders or metal thieves removed the staircases to the building's roof, making it difficult for anyone to access. Now the only way for anyone to get to the roof of Clarence Mill (Rank Hovis) is to free-climb the old staircase shaft, which unfortunately has a clear drop to the bottom.
The Abseil at this location was split into two parts. On day one we decided to climb the internal stairs shaft and then abseil back down, stopping at each floor to explore what remained of the flour storage part of the site. Once at the top of the building, we attached to an external wall, which can be described as our best anchor point. With two additional anchor points being a metal railing and what remains of the stairs, we were safe.
Our plans to pick up an additional harness on the morning failed and this resulted in one of our team members not having a harness at all. Fortunately, we had a spare short rope handy and this made a cracking makeshift harness. Don't try this at home!
On day two of the abseil we went for a drop down the side of the main wall, but not just a plain wall, we wanted to hang by the iconic Clarence Flour Mill brick sign which was erected in 1891 and was part of the mill's original building. There's an abundance of good anchor points at Clarence Mill and, luckily, we were able to drop down the left side of the sign and stand on the small plinth running under it.
After the obligatory photo opportunity with the sign, it was down the wall and a landing on the catwalk underneath which leads to a floor back in the mill.