The Beverly Hills Mansion you see below was once filled with the glitz and glam of Hollywood. It was on Crescent Drive, and it shared the infamous 90210 zip code with the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, and it was the childhood home of the iconic actress and singer, Liza Minelli. She lived in the magical mansion with her parents, showbiz stars Vincente Minelli and Judy Garland.
Award-Winning director Vincente Minelli adored his daughter, and did everything in his power to make her every wish come true. In fact, it was rumored that even had a life-sized dollhouse filled with a large collection of dress-up clothes especially made for her on the property. Nothing was too good for little Liza.
One of the most famous families in Hollywood, Vincente, Judy, and Liza each won an Oscar and were huge stars in their own right. Unfortunately, Judy and Vincente got a divorce when Liza was just 5 years old, and the family disbanded. But the Beverly Hills mansion stayed intact, and Liza spent the remainder of her childhood living there with her father after the divorce. She would stay with him for half of the year, and with mother Judy for the other half.
Vincente Minelli died in this mansion, and so did his fourth wife, Lee Minelli. Lee was the mansion’s last inhabitant, and the center of a nasty and long battle with Liza over the custody of the abandoned mansion.
In 1960, Vincente Minnelli’s legacy was impressed on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame with a star for his work in movies. He was a stage and film director, with a background in theater. In 1951, he directed ‘An American in Paris’, which earned him his first Oscar. He won the Academy Award for Best Director, again, for ‘Gigi’, which showed in movie theaters six years later.
Vincente was born in Chicago, in 1903, to a family of Sicilian revolutionaries and theater professionals. His father, who was a music teacher and composer, was the musical conductor for the Minnelli Brothers’ Tent Theater, and his mother, a stage actress. The family followed the theater from town to town around Illinois and Ohio, before settling down in Delaware, Ohio. Vincente Minnelli relocated to Chicago after high school. His first job was costume and set design for the Chicago Theater.
Working at the Chicago Theater presented opportunity for the young Vincente. It merged with a national chain that included Paramount-Publix theaters, which found him assigned to work on shows in NYC. Soon, he moved to Greenwich Village and landed a gig at Radio City Music Hall.
For the Shubert’s, the founding family of Broadway, he presented his first play, ‘At Home Abroad’. The well-received production ran for two years. His plays were continually warmly received, and by 1940, MGM producer Arthur Freed invited him to try his hand at film.
His first MGM film was called ‘Cabin in the Sky’ (1943). In 1944, he released ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’, starring Judy Garland. Vincente fell in love with the famed darling Dorothy of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, although they had first met in 1940. Their courtship led to marriage in June of 1945. The pair would continue to collaborate on films.
Over the course of his life, Vincente married four times. Indeed, he tied the knot with his first wife, accomplished actress and singer Judy Garland, on June 15, 1945. Like her husband, Garland was involved in many movies throughout her career. She received considerable recognition for her work, too, picking up a Golden Globe and Special Tony, among other awards. The star is perhaps best known, however, for her role as Dorothy in 1939’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’, for which she earned a Juvenile Oscar.
Garland’s fame in the Forties was astronomical. She sang, danced and acted. Her multi-talents brought Judy a juvenile Oscar for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and a Best Actress Oscar nomination for ‘A Star is Born’. She had her own TV show called ‘The Judy Garland Show’, and she became the first woman to win an Album of the Year Grammy for her live recording, ‘Judy at Carnegie Hall’. In 1999, she was named one of the 10 greatest female stars of classic American cinema.
Judy Garland was not Vincente’s last wife, but she was his first. He married three other women, the last of whom, Lee Minnelli, resided in his former mansion until her death.
A year after Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland married, a star was born. The Hollywood couple’s first and only child, Liza Minnelli, arrived on March 12, 1946. She would grow up to win an Oscar, like her parents, for her 1972 role in ‘Cabaret’.
Her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice, nurtured as a child at home by the best of the best, graces many recordings and is remembered for concerts at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. Her tours with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. are also recalled fondly.
Garland and Vincente’s ill-fated marriage ended in 1951. Little Liza was turning five. As time went on, Vincente’s secret gay lifestyle seeped out of the closet. Garland caught him cheating on her with another man. It’s believed that Garland’s substance abuse and depression, two attempted suicides, and then divorce, were linked to those revelations.
She struggled with the demands of fame and industry pressures on personal appearance. During that time, she was also dropped from her contract with MGM due to her personal struggles. In 1969, she succumbed to an overdose; she was 47.
According to a biography by Emanuel Levy, Vincente Minnelli is believed to have lived as an openly gay man in NYC, but after moving to Tinsel town, that lifestyle was discouraged by the film industry that made him—the pressures in Hollywood pressured him to live straight.
After divorcing Judy Garland, Minnelli married three other women. He had another daughter with his second wife, but the marriage only lasted four years. He was married to a third wife for nine years and, finally, he married Lee Minnelli in 1980. That marriage ended when he died in 1986 of complications from pneumonia and emphysema. He was 83. He died in the Beverly Hills home. His wife, Lee, remained there until her death in 2009. But, a scandalous struggle to retain her property rights plagued her elder years.
At the time of his death, the entire property, valued at $1.1 million, was bequeathed to his daughter Liza. A stipulation, however, gave life estate rights to his wife Lee. Liza inherited the house, and its occupant. Vincente’s will included two clauses—one, that Lee was to have lifetime access to the home, and, secondly, that Liza was in charge of the estate.
In that case, Liza paid for the maintenance of the mansion, including the utilities and salaries for the help. In 2000, Liza decided to put the property up for sale. A provision of the sale promised Lee a $450K condominium, but Lee refused to take it.
Lee sued for “breach of contract, elder abuse and infliction of emotional distress.” As it happened, Liza’s lavish marriage to David Gest was making headlines, coincidentally, with news and magazine articles detailing the festivities and sharing descriptions, such as the magnificent 12-foot high cake. It was the talk of the town. Guests included Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Martha Stewart, and Mia Farrow.
Lee’s attorneys stated in the lawsuit, “While defendant is honeymooning all over the world, having fed 850 of her closest friends a 12-foot cake, plaintiff is alone in a cold, dark house, at age 94.” Adding, Lee has “been reduced to an anxious and fearful beggar.”
There was no shortage of drama. The legal document continued, saying moving Lee to a condo “will no doubt be the death of her.” In response, Joseph D’Onofrio, the attorney representing Liza, passed on yet another insult to the frail plaintiff, “Given the present circumstances, Liza Minnelli has instructed me to tell your client through you that she is no longer invited to David and Liza’s wedding. In our recent conversation, you indicated that you had been invited to attend one or more of the festivities celebrating the wedding. If that is true, you also are no longer invited.”
Lee’s attorney shot back, “I’ll catch the next one.”
Liza, who was 56 at the time, defended her position. She explained to Daily Variety, “My father left me the house, saying, ‘It is my wish if you sell the house that you move [Lee] to a residence.’ I finally got a nice offer to sell it and offered her a $450,000 condo, tax-free. She won’t move. I’ve been supporting her forever.”
Liza’s frustrations with her stepmother went on, “I did exactly what my father asked me to do. And now we can’t go into escrow because she won’t move. I am willing to give her a happy life.”
To her credit, Liza reached out and invited Lee to dinner. Following that invitation, Lee decided to drop the lawsuit. When they met, they found a path to compromise.
Liza agreed to pay the rent to the new owners of the Beverly Hills mansion for as long as Lee resided there. Upon Lee’s death, the owners would be granted full access to the property.
Lee died three years later, just weeks after her 100th birthday. The owners, who sank about $3.5 million into the towering 5,800-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bath home, could finally take possession.
It was expected that the property, set on an acre of exclusive land, very near the iconic Sunset Boulevard and its exclusive cross street, Rodeo Drive, would be renovated immediately.
Mysteriously, the magnificent estate holding an intriguing Hollywood tale was left to decay. No one ever moved in and no one restored it to its former glory.
The mansion at 812 North Crescent Drive just sat there, declining, for years on end, untenanted but for rats and squatters.
In its day, it was a picture of modernity and opulence. The exclusive home was originally built in 1925. An extensive remodeling project was underway by 1944, headed by John Elgin Woolf, who was known as the “architect to the stars.” Vincente Minnelli purchased it in 1951 while it was being renovated. The project was completed in 1954.
Woolf is renowned for the Hollywood Regency style, which fashioned glamorous architecture and living spaces by pulling together threads of Greek Revival, 19th-century French and Modernist, into what would later be recognized as postmodern. The classy abode featured a motor court and a luxurious modern pool.
Vincente and his second wife, Georgette Magnani, took up residence upon completion. With little Liza living there half of the year, he spared no expense.
Vincente absolutely adored his daughter. The child-sized dollhouse in the backyard was not only constructed just for her, it was commissioned by stage and film artist Tony Duquette.
Inside the playhouse, a magical wardrobe awaited.
He commissioned MGM costume designers directly to custom make replica dress-up gowns, just Liza’s size, fashioned after leading women’s costumes in famous movies like ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘The King and I’.
Her place was the envy of her Hollywood playmates.
Candice Bergen reflected back to Liza’s wonderland in her memoir, saying that she remembers always asking to go to Liza’s to play dress-up when they were kids.
In 1999, Lee Minnelli welcomed the Los Angeles Times inside of her intriguing home for an interview. Within the doors, details like python skin-covered foyer walls and a den punctuated with Vincente Minnelli’s Oscar for ‘Gigi’ greeted the observer.
Lee’s closet, an inventory of designer clothing, reflected the widow’s preferences—Chanel, Adolfo, Givenchy and De la Renta. The closets themselves were vast and accessed through glass doors from expansive dressing rooms. She showed off Vincente’s suite, a large, bright bedroom, preserved since his death.
Lee left everything exactly the way it had been. After 13 years, she didn’t alter a thing.
Even his easel and oil paints were sitting in the middle of the room, just as he had left it after having painted his last stroke.
Lee’s suite is littered with books, paperwork, and shopping catalogs, but mostly photos. Framed photos line every surface. Pointing one out, Lee says, “This is our very first date, upstairs at the Bistro Garden, and this is Henry and Shirlee Fonda.”
At one point during the interview, among the abundant high-end, designer wardrobe, Lee proclaims proudly, “I’m a Minnelli.” As a member of Hollywood’s Old Guard, she was a lifelong socialite, so it’s not a surprise that her marriage to Minnelli was her third. Previously, she was wedded to a wealthy French oil magnate, as well as an Arizona cattleman.
The Los Angeles Times’ profile took place a year before Lee’s drama with Liza imploded. One can only imagine how humiliated the former socialite felt. But, at the time, it was to be the last peek inside before deterioration to utter decay set in.
Today’s images depict a disheveled property that looks like it ought to be condemned. The landscape is so overgrown it has been reclaimed by nature. No one has tended the grounds in years.
The state-of-the-art swimming pool, previously a vision of A-lister splendor, is now an eyesore.
It’s been left empty, except for a mossy accumulation of old rain for so long that taggers have had time to fill the pool with graffiti. The signs of former splendor are imperceptible. It’s all gone.
In one area, Romanesque pillars litter the grounds like dead soldiers of previous pomp and stature. The marble columns remind one of the renowned designer Elgin’s work, and of the decline of his former client.
In the 1970s, Vincente Minnelli’s prominence as a Hollywood director waned. During that same period, coincidentally, Liza’s fame was hitting its heights. It’s rumored that she assisted her father financially during those times.
The inside of the house is even more disheveled. Pictured here is what’s left of an area of the kitchen.
Random stuff covers the counters, cupboard doors and shelves are in ruins, it looks like a junkyard.
Indoors, it’s easy to see how the entire house is crumbling down from the inside, out.
The carpeting is a disaster – a filthy, rotting mess. Left to the elements, even the padding under the carpet has deteriorated to rusty orange dust.
With all of the graffiti, damage, and decay, it’s safe to assume this property, for many years, has captured the imagination of every child in the vicinity.
It sits like a legend, a Hollywood haunted mansion. On a wall upstairs, “Judy Garland” is casually scrawled in large handwriting, as if in deference to her greatness. In fact, locally, the property has earned the nickname “The Hilton for Squatters.”
There is nothing natural about the level of disrepair inside of the home. Doors fall off hinges due to misuse rather than the passing of time, and everything in this house is damaged and falling apart.
Clearly, many squatters have been living in the old house, only accelerating the ruination. This house has also been often frequented by the curious. Its prominent address and abandoned visage invite interest.
The squalor stretches from wall to wall, floor to floor. Trash litters every inch of the house, plaster is peeling and falling from the ceilings, walls and doors are punctured with holes.
Very little exists from that interview twenty years ago, but here and there an original piece of furniture remains.
Here you can see the house’s original mattresses, bare and filthy, and what’s left of a marble tub. An exercise bike in the background may be an original inhabitant of the house. An empty sleeve from an old LP lay discarded. A relic, no doubt, of Minnelli’s personal record collection that was displayed in a separate room.
A hanger from the formerly opulent closet of Hollywood royalty also lay unwanted. The ceiling-high mirrors towering over stacks of drawers fashioned a fancy vanity area at one time.
Many of these images are courtesy of a curious YouTuber tipster who checked out the property in 2014. The squalor he captured was worse than he thought it would be.
No running water and zero utilities seemed like a surprise until witnessing the wasted shell of a home from its gutted innards.
Barely perceptible now, these once-new-fangled TVs, telephones, and VCR machines lay like crumbling leftovers of the past’s modern-day gadgets.
It makes you wonder how it happened. No one came to get Lee’s stuff.
Liza did not own the home when her stepmother died. The escrow had to go through “as is” once it was decided that Liza would make the rent payments. It’s curious that the new owners took no interest in cleaning out the place or remodeling. Today it remains a mystery. What will they do with a property that holds so much value?
It’s an acre of land situated in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of Southern California. Properties affiliated with Hollywood names also add value. Today’s market value prices the property at well over $11 million.
This mirrored fireplace reflecting the bedroom used to be the spitting image of the lap of luxury. Now, it is used as a heat source for squatters who have no regard.
Ash and suit meet the plush carpeting, blackening the hearth. It is assumed that the place has been occupied by unhoused people since at least 2009. These images are also courtesy of the tipster’s 2014 visit.
Once one of the largest TV screens on the market, this television is now likely an antique. The area pictured here may have been a former game room.
Cushions from a poker-green couch sprinkle the floors. Chunks of the ceiling are missing. The previous grandeur is relegated to the imagination.
At one point, it seems, the owners of the property may have planned to renovate. In aerial photos of the property taken in 2009, three dumpsters filled with rubbish are pictured in the front yard. But those, too, are left to decay.
According to some, local authorities will not allow a demolition of the structure.
It’s hard to say why the property has been left to the elements. Renovation plans seem to have been halted mid-job, the dumpsters never even retrieved.
Perhaps the owners are just waiting for the value of the property to surpass its already hefty price tag. We will have to wait and see.
While we’re waiting, how about checking out this magnificent English Tudor manor? Previously owned by a 1970s classic rocker, the vast property is graced by the lovely Thames, which meanders around its sprawling perimeter.
In 2018, a UK urban explorer team took their cameras into the palatial Oxfordshire abode. Inside the massive structure, they uncovered a spectacular history.
Once inside, the team discovered an abandoned mansion. The Tudor manse was not only the extravagant former residence of a famous rock star, but also a five-star hotel and golf resort. By now, however, it has been vacant for years, left to ruin.
The explorer team offers rare footage from inside. Their video reveals detailed footage of the estate’s former grandeur. As it seems, no others have dared enter the building.
The stark façade of the towering mansion is but a relic of its former self. But when it was picked up by Ian Gillan, lead singer of Deep Purple, it entered its glory days.
He created a venerable splendor of the historic property that was built during the Victorian period.
Ian Gillan, the iconic frontman, was responsible for influencing the shift of rock to heavy metal. His band, Deep Purple, alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been dubbed the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal.”
Gillan was born in London in 1945. He grew up absorbing every kind of musical genre. Heavily influenced by the King of Rock, he took in many others besides Elvis. The Sixties were a hotbed of new sounds. He formed bands at an early age, finding his place as a lead vocalist. In bands, he started by covering songs by the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Things started to pick up when he joined the band Episode Six in 1965. Moving on up, they toured with Dusty Springfield.
Commercial success, however, was illusive. And then it happened, Ian Gillan and bandmate Roger Glover hooked up with Deep Purple.
It was 1969, when the new lead singer and bassist joined the band, but Deep Purple had already been playing together for two years.
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was responsible for naming the band, which he sourced from an old track his grandmother used to play. There was some talk about renaming the group, but Blackmore won out.
Gillan’s debut performance with the band took place in London’s West End, at the storied Speakeasy. During the ’70s, Deep Purple came to international fame led by the new bandmates, led right into two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction nominations.
Strangely, they had yet to be inducted when Toto guitarist Steve Lukather reflected, “They put Patti Smith in there but not Deep Purple? What’s the first song every kid learns how to play? [“Smoke on the Water”] And they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?” On April 8, 2016, that shortcoming was finally amended, and the band was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gillan’s distinct style and vocals defined the band. Even today, his voice is instantly recognizable. The sounds and technique he brought to the rock stage raised the bar for hard rockers everywhere.
Influential British rock journalist Malcolm Dome described Gillan’s talent this way, “Gillan remains completely in control of his voice whilst going completely insane.” It’s daunting.
The band’s fifth studio album, ‘Fireball’, topped the charts. When the sixth album dropped with the single “Smoke on the Water,” their fame was astronomic.
That album, ‘Machine Head’, instilled Deep Purple into rock and roll culture forever. With that LP, they became the biggest selling band in the world. They sold over 100 million albums worldwide. Planet Rock placed the band 5th most influential band ever.
Things got a little bumpy, however, and the boys disbanded for eight long years. In between, Gillan joined Black Sabbath as lead singer for a year.
Finally, by the early Nineties, the bandmates rocked again and even returned to the recording studio.
The man behind the voice of Deep Purple brought immense fortune to the band and to himself, and we know how he spent some of it; namely, purchasing a castle on the Thames. He has an adept taste in real estate, clearly, but what other interests does he possess?
According to rock music website Metal Storm, his interests are “family, walking, drinking in good company, scribbling thoughts, current affairs, and following the fortunes and misfortunes of QPR, the West London football club he has supported all his life. And . . . like all fans, he is a philosopher.”
When Gillan sunk about $1.3 million into the property in 1973, it was a lot of money, but he purchased the palace for a steal.
His castle, located in Wallingford, Oxfordshire and built 100 years before his acquisition, is a 32-bedroom estate nestled out in the lush English countryside.
It was a substantial investment. Gillan and his then-girlfriend, Zoe Dean, not only poured a million pounds into the property, but they also invested another $500,000 for renovations.
They put in a custom pool and other upgrades before selling it. Henceforth, it would operate as The Springs Hotel & Golf Club until 2014.
In an interview, Gillan said, “Ah, yes, The Springs. I renovated and designed the place—it used to be a derelict nursing home. I had been living in hotels for some time, so I thought I’d better get one of my own.” He went on to say, “They now have a golf course but it’s not nearly as impressive as the acoustic-banjo-shaped swimming pool I put in the back garden.”
In March of 1976, at Liverpool Empire Theatre, Deep Purple decided it was the end. The bandmates were exhausted and frustrated. Most of the members went on to other bands or different project, but the glory of Deep Purple was over. In 1984, an attempted reunion lasted ten years. The vast fortunes the band generated would also dwindle.
Gillan found that by 1995, his finances were so desperate that he was nearly bankrupt. In order to avoid sinking into further debt, he sold his castle to Svenia and Paul Franklin, who are the couple responsible for re-branding it ‘The Springs’.
When asked if he ever visited his old property, Gillan smiled and said, “I have declined invitations to visit because they have a dress code.”
The Springs, a hotel and golf resort named for a little lagoon that formed near the manor, hosted wealthy guests and businessmen. The converted mansion provided a prime location for hosting weddings and other special events.
Inside, on the wall in the kitchen, hung the prestigious 2010-2011 Rosette Award, a coveted honor reserved for culinary excellence. Indeed, it marked the end of rock and roll celebs partying at Gillan and Zoe’s exclusive pad.
The Franklin’s promising resort investment also proved doomed. The 32-room luxury accommodation property sank the couple into debt.
After 19 years of business, they finally decided to throw in the towel. Operating expenses continued to overshadow income. Despite its famous genealogy, the mansion gradually slipped into obscurity.
Warren Tepper and his accomplice, Tazer, run a YouTube channel called Warren Urbexing. The two urban explorers come from the nearby county of Hampshire, and there’s nothing they enjoy more than exploring old, dilapidated properties.
While trespassing is considered a civil offense, Tepper and his buddy love their hobby too much to worry about that.
Sneaking onto properties is a little risky, and, some would say invasive, but Tepper told the BBC, “Nobody actually seems to care about the buildings anymore, or they’ve just been left there to rot for years and years and years.”
He added, “I don’t see that being a problem as long as I’m not breaking and entering when I get there.”
Just to be clear, Tepper includes “the rules” of urban exploring within his disclaimer. “We NEVER Break & Enter – We NEVER Vandalise, Steal or Destroy Anything we find – We take FULL responsibility for our OWN safety, if something should go wrong. . . it’s our own fault.” Fair enough.
The Urbexers also warn others not to attempt infiltrating abandoned properties. In the detailed disclaimer, he warns people never to go it alone if they decide to go exploring in spite of the warning.
With no further ado, let’s take a look at the images these two brave explorers retrieved from the abandoned compound. This shot, captured from an upstairs window of the towering manor, gives some idea about the backyard renovations Gillan was talking about.
It must have been a pretty classy pool in its day, but now it’s a swampy mess. The Daily Mail humorously titles an article about the abandoned property with, “Scum on the Water!” That just about nails it.
Inside of the “massive, massive mansion,” Tepper’s view of the pool finds this stunning room. Hardwood floors, hardwood paneled walls, and a fabulously ornate fireplace draw a breath of awe from the cameraman. “Ah, sh*t, that’s awesome,” he says climbing the stairs into this cavernous space.
It is one of the manor’s ball rooms that would accommodate wedding receptions and other gatherings. Impressively, the beautiful wood paneling is consistent throughout the building.
The stairs, shown here, carpeted in a deep purple hue remind one of the days Gillan hosted any number of friends and rock stars.
The stalwart banister is unbelievable. Ornate carving, sculpted pillars, and a decorated handrail that must be at least five inches thick grace the stairway to the gorgeous ball room.
An even more extravagant ball room is pictured here. A beautiful Tudor ceiling and a fantastic fireplace command a strong presence in the room. Royal carpeting and wall-sized paneled doors also impress. “Hands down, that is the most beautiful ceiling I have ever seen,” our urbexer opines. But it’s all in disrepair.
On the other hand, the former grandeur can surely be imagined just by admiring the handsome original joinery.
Attesting to its former magnificence are these solid brass screens.
Tepper calls them “Proper brass screens.” Behind the metallic webbing is a plate of glass. Tepper surmises that ornamentation would have decorated the doors.
Here’s a look out the building’s Tudor windows. The diamond-shaped wood-paned casements are so typical of the detailed opulence of the mansion.
The view is of “The Springs,” the small lake that formed off the Thames, fed by seven small springs. It gives a sense of the luxury accommodation Gillan’s former residence provided.
But now, nature has moved in and taken over. This beautiful stone balcony and bright-white balustrade finished in wrought iron took guests out to expansive views above the lovely grounds.
Gazing over the pond and lush greenery must have been a very fine surprise from the lavish interior of the manor.
Sadly, this is the disrepair in which the once-lavish hotel has fallen. It’s easy to see that renovations will require millions of dollars. This room, and these accommodations, have been overcome with moss and rot. A green streak of moss traces the moisture across the wall.
The same greenery blankets the floor like eco-friendly carpeting. It looks like the room’s been gutted of all its value, with just a sink and a radiator left behind as if they were forgotten. These rooms will lay disheveled until a deep pocket investor falls in love with the place.
Rooms that once comparably likened themselves to upscale London locales like “Belgravia,” “Chelsea,” and “Mayfair” now enter into despair.
Above, we have “Ascot,” which would remind guests of an upper-class district nearby Wallingford, home to an elite horse racing venue. Instead, the beautiful brass nameplate enters to a phantom of former luxury.
Another interesting find on the duo’s house tour was a room labeled “Temple”. Before entering, Tepper notices a “no smoking” sign, which clearly isn’t a rule that rocker Gillan came up with, so it must have been put up by its subsequent owners.
To this day, Gillan enjoys a smoke and a drink, but back in the band’s heyday, he and his mates imbibed in much more. His first experience with substances was introduced by Buddy Miles, who was touring with the band. Back then, there were no bans on smoking. Smoking in restaurants and even aboard commercial flights was normal and accepted. Things changed after airline stewardesses won a second-hand smoke lung cancer lawsuit.
Here’s another look inside The Springs’ former “luxury accommodations.” The decorative style of the drapes and valance intimate past grandeur, as well as the antique chairs, but the battered wainscoting, filthy carpeting and rotting mattresses leave nothing to the imagination.
Again, renovations are going to be costly. Gutting 32 bedrooms and restoring to previous glory is quite an undertaking.
In 1988, this room may have been advertised along with this hotel review by The Daily Telegraph, “Our bed, complete with bedside clock, is supremely comfortable, with fine sheets and decent blankets.”
Today, there are zero comforts. Instead, toxic mold has infiltrated the atmosphere.
Here’s a close-up of the room’s former beauty. A massive window that is still, somehow, framed by curtains appears disgusting and dingy.
An old hotel phone is left on an existing coffee table. The chair next to the radiator looks like it would’ve been a cozy spot, once. The lamp, knocked askew, also attests to the general mess.
General squalor. I don’t know if they have many homeless folk in the London area, but if they did, these rooms would provide some royal digs.
In the U.S., we’d expect transient guests. Yet, it could be, maybe even an unhoused person would not bear to sleep on that begrimed, water-damaged mattress!
In this picture, Tepper and Tazer have pressed their way into the Ascot room. It was one of the more spacious lodgings, complete with an enviable window balcony. A framed painting yet clings to a wall.
Ragged electrical wire protrudes from a hole in the plaster. Perhaps a valuable lamp once fronted it? Boxes and other remnants litter the formerly sweet suite.
With that, the interior tour concludes. The urbex team vacated, swiftly. “We’ve got to be very careful, because we’ve just seen security inside, so we got out before we got caught.”
Once they were outdoors, they noticed a car from the security detail. On the way out, they captured these telling images.
Here’s a close-up of the infamous swimming pool. You can easily recognize the guitar or banjo’s sound hole and black bars representing the frets.
The mold and moss have transformed the accumulated water into a deep green, while a lounge chair and safety ring float in the muck. Everything is green and gross.
When the hotel shuttered its doors in 2014, Svenia Franklin told The Oxford Mail that restoring the property would have cost millions of pounds.
Most recently, however, there is hope for the historic manor. Darwin Escapes, the company that operates the adjacent golf course, has opened up the kitchen and bar area as a clubhouse for their golf patrons.
No word if they will restore the entire mansion to its former grandeur, but many people hope that becomes a reality. Wendy Cunningham, commenting on Tepper’s YouTube channel said, “Love this and hope they can rescue it somehow.”
It is such an amazing and magical place with a rich varied history, that it deserves to be saved.
Tepper and Tazer will continue to explore condemned buildings and abandoned lots, they simply love it. The BBC interviewed him because of the photos he scooped of the old mansion.
He told them, “One hundred percent I’m addicted to it. Walking around in an old abandoned building, you can’t beat the feeling; it just gives you a massive adrenaline rush.”