Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The Horsingdon Transmissions No. 17: The Black Door
Sweeping post-Thatcherite reforms to - and the subsequent increasing privatisation of - the British education system meant that one of central London universities was able to acquire Northwich Park Polytechnic in the late 1990s. Along with the closure of 'less profitable' departments, this also resulted in significant renovations to campus buildings.
The Black Door exists as part of a modern annexe attached to what used to be the Department of Radiophonics - now the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (or P-CheM in the institutional parlance). A mystery surrounds the doorway insofar as no one within the annexe has been able to determine its internal point of entry - an unassuming redbrick wall (matching the building's external decor) stands at the point on the inside of the building where the doorway should, apparently, be located. Measurements have indicated, however, that a significant amount of dead space does exists between this internal wall and the outer portal. Adding to the mystery is the fact that none of the university porters are aware of the existence of a key to this particular door.
Interestingly, attempts to view the plans of the building - in no small part because of other architectural irregularities that exist across the campus - have been blocked at every turn, with the University's senior management team citing 'special provisions' and reasons of security as vague rationales for the lack of transparency. The has, however, been a certain amount of idle chatter regarding the possibility of the Dept. of P-CheM having been in receipt of a significant amount of government funding - funding relating to a range of apparently classified projects. If true, faculty members remain understandably tight-lipped about the matter. Despite the speculative natur of these claims, is difficult not to ponder their significance in light of almost identical rumours that had been circulating for decades concerning the now-defunct Radiophonics department - not to mention the fact that P-CheM inhabits the same physical space that was once occupied by Radiophonics. One might be forgiven for entertaining the possibility that Radiophonics never, in fact, went away...
In the mid-2000s, I used to work as a part-time as a lecturer for the Department of Cognitive Science, teaching courses in cross-cultural psychology and cognitive anthropology. There I heard other rumours - ones that intersected with my own anthropological researches into the Horsingdon Triangle - that P-CheM staff had been taking an unwarranted interest in the history and folklore of the Black Bowers of the region. For now I can only speculate as to whether or not this has any relevance to the enigma of the Black Door.