A peek into some abandoned labs

For the last mixture of the year we take a weird and wistful look at some labs that are no more. Plus the usual mixture of links and other things.

What happens to research buildings when labs close or move away? Some buildings get repurposed into apartments or offices, some get torn down, and others just... sit there. Urban explorers have turned the practice of visiting and documenting abandoned buildings into an art, and some of them have visited former research facilities. It's fascinating to see what gets left behind after labs move out.

One of these abandoned buildings is the former site of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mill Hill, North London. In 2015, the labs that were in this building moved to the newly-built Francis Crick Institute in a more central part of London. Demolition of the old building started in 2018, but before that, urban exploration site Behind Closed Doors visited and took some photos of the empty institute. (Images below used with permission).

You can find more of these images on the Behind Closed Doors site.

Urban exploration YouTube channel The Proper People also has several videos filmed in abandoned research facilities, including this one filmed at the former agricultural research facility of American Cyanamid. (Keen Mixture readers will recognize this video from the "Interesting Things" links in the previous issue. It's how I got started down this rabbit hole.)

And in 2018, Rachel Nuwer wrote for BBC Future about her visit to the abandoned research labs of Amani Hill Research Station in Tanzania.

Meanwhile, the building in which I worked during the first few years of my PhD is no longer standing, but I wonder if anyone ever went in those labs after we left them.


Interesting Things

  • The American Society of Microbiology’s annual agar art competition once again inspired some very creative art made by strategically growing bacteria and fungi on growth medium plates.

Things I wrote

I also republished a very old blog post that I originally wrote in 2011:

This was inspired by this tweet from Susanna Harris, which reminded me that I also once had a career-relevant conversation with a plumber!


Sorry, there's no book recommendation this time. I read a few books this month, but none were Mixture material (or had already been featured before). This year hasn't been a great reading year for me. Unless I read another 4.5 books in the next few days, I won't even reach my planned goal of reading 25 books this year. It's okay. I'm blaming the pandemic.

Finally, have a great but safeand small Christmas if you're celebrating, and let's see if we can curb this virus in 2021.