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I have used Flickr as my visual diary and my older pictures end up in odd places, but none odder than an office move picture and Backroom. The office move picture seems to have something about it that others feel.

Empty office
The interior of my old office in 74 New Oxford Street

I had posted it on Flickr, which is a site that I use as my personal picture library, visual diary and image hosting for this blog.


Flickr is a photo sharing site. It has discussion boards, groups for different kinds of photography. It hosts images that can be embedded. While it has had an app for longer than Instagram has been around, its freemium model and late adoption of filters meant that Instagram covered the mass market and Flickr was more for dedicated photographers of sorts.

I started getting messages in Flickr about the picture

Hello, I am messaging you about an old photo you took. 11 years ago you took a photo of an empty office. If you remember where this building is may you please tell me. I want to know where it is because it is the photo in an article for backrooms level 4 (I’m not sure if you know what that is but  it is a really bug mystery.


Curious about the Enigmatic Office Building – Dear Ged Carroll, I stumbled upon this intriguing picture you posted on Flickr back in 2011 (September 12, 2011). It’s a captivating shot of an empty office building, and I’m really curious about its location and the story behind it. Could you please share more details about where this picture was taken or how you came across it? It seems like it might be part of an online mystery, and I’d love to learn more about it.

George Williams

Until I got the message from filerew, I had no clue about Backroom.

Empty office

The empty office picture was taken at 74 New Oxford Street, the building had the now unfortunate name of ‘ISIS House’ at the time. The agency that I worked for had been on a long lease in the space. It had originally been fitted out sometime in the 1980s or early 1990s for Comic Relief. There had been no changes since. It was as tired looking as the photo showed.

The furniture was taken away by the company who outfitted our new office. The landlord took the building back as tenant leases ran out. They then stripped the building down to the studs and thoroughly refurbished it as a modern glass fronted block. Even the building entrance moved from 74 New Oxford Street to 70 New Oxford Street.

The photo has a grainy quality as it was taken quickly using an iPhone 3GS, hence the considerable noise in the image that softens it, rather like watching a film on a VHS video tape. It was a dark and cloudy day, which gave it the soft even lighting and shadows.


Backroom is a sort of online game that seems to be similar to boardgames such as Dungeons and Dragons with players consulting the site. The backrooms of the title are dystopian places with some supplies for the players and various risks of imminent death.

Something about the mysterious feeling of the picture inspired them to use it in their game. The Backroom site does weird me out a bit however.

Most of my images are available on a creative commons licence, so the creators at Backroom were perfectly entitled to use it.

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