Hong Kong Urbex – Slaughterhouse – Abattoir
Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and mansions could easily have taken all my time, but after meeting up with some locals they introduced me to a unique abandonment; a slaughterhouse. Hong Kong urbex, or urban exploration, is another sub-culture that intersects with rooftopping in the city. Doing one often leads to doing the other, either through meeting someone or naturally during the pursuit of either.
Special thanks to the HK Urbex/Hong Wrong team for their excellent post (video also) on the slaughterhouse, be sure to check it out. They helped me identify the name, and gave the following background information:
The slaughterhouse, named Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir ( 長沙灣屠場), was in operation from 1969-1999. One of the more compelling stories surrounding the area is what the locals call the “Spirit Buffalo” case. “In 1983, it is said that a water buffalo was heard ‘crying’ and ‘begging for its life’ right before its slaughter. Workers were so taken aback by the incident that they refused to kill it and, instead, released it into the wild…’Spirit Buffalo’ lived out its years in Tsz Wan Shan until 1994.”
The slaughterhouse itself was empty, but it was placed right next to some to a site with workers; getting inside involved a lot of looking and a little jumping. The surrounding neighborhood seemed ordinary, but the usual skyscrapers kept a watchful eye on us throughout.
After that, it was a fun time looking around, and piecing together what was once a live, chaotic place, now eerily calm and silent save for the noise of the nearby workers.
*I don't know much about slaughterhouses so these notes about the facilities are my best estimations based off what I can remember being explained while exploring*
Weaving our way through the complex, we got to one of the hallmarks of the area, the freezer room. Vast, crumbling rooms of darkness, filled with metal rows of meat hooks fostering a foreboding atmosphere. The freezer doors were thick, solid contraptions, the kind that give a resounding sense of finality when shut.
The locker room did not disappoint; just what you would have hoped for. Including, the gossip magazine I found laying nearby.
I recall one of the members of our fearless exploring party mentioning that for a period of time this space served as an artist commune. This of course took place after the slaughterhouse was shut down, and may explain some of the graffiti and drawings that can be found all over the complex. Apparently, the commune disbanded in part due to the uneasy, or some might say, ghostly, atmosphere of the area.
It was a refreshing experience to check out such a unique abandonment, and a fun break between finding roofs to scale. The compound itself was pretty big, and we spent a little over 2 hours exploring around. This place had a lot to offer, and you can glean the stark contrasts in some of the pictures; starting outside with the decaying structure, to the ominous freezer room, the unlikely presence of an artist commune, and of course the actual slaughterhouse itself.