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Report - Buckinghamshire County Asylum Chapel, Stone, Buckinghamshire, June 2012

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by True_British_Metal, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. True_British_Metal

    True_British_Metal 28DL Regular User
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    Visited with Landie, DragonFlame and a non-member.

    First thing's first. A couple of years ago I'd visited here with Landie and tried to get inside, but it was to no avail with all doors boarded (except one round the back, which was locked) and blocked from the inside and the windows being boarded. It looked decent from the outside, so I was edging to find the owner. I spent ages searching for details, and after a while found the owner, a letting company based in Thame. I'd got in contact with the owner, but due to stuff on my part it fell through. It was only now that I got back to him and finally got inside.

    Whilst it's not as lavishly detailed as Cane Hill's chapel or have as much stuff left in situ as Fairmile's (someone I know did it with permission once conversion started, because it was impossible to get in before; security were based outside and all doors were locked/boarded) it's a cracking little place. Because of its grade-II listing, along with the Nurses' Residence across the road it's all that remains of the Buckinghamshire County Asylum, more commonly known as St John's Hospital, Stone. The whole complex closed in 1991; there was a campaign locally to save the administration block (shown below), which was recognized for its unique architecture. Sad to say, along with the 50s extension and the wards the NHS and Buckinghamshire County Council refused to have these kept because they wanted to make money from selling off the land (how typical of them) and the vast majority of the site was demolished in 1994. Since then the Nurses' Residence are now occupied, the land turned into a vast housing estate, and the chapel left derelict. Interestingly, the roads around the estate are named after the wards. Around 10 years ago, Honour and Co. bought the chapel with the intention of converting it into offices, which was later cancelled due to lack of interest. At current, the plan is to convert it into 3 separate dwellings. Other than that, bar remedial works being undertaken in places and very minor changes (reinstalling the rope for the bell) nothing has been done. Unfortunately for us, the font was removed and taken to another local church, and the pews moved and stacked into corners. Plaques have also been removed. But then, for a 1991 closure it's fresh as a daisy; there is only occasional smashed glass and a little bit of scrawling on the walls for vandalism (the boiler room, however is trashed, having been used as a den for local chavs).

    Onto the photos. Funnily enough it's my debut outing for my Sigma 10-20 f3.5; what a brilliant lens it is! Oh and excuse the crooked photos; I forgot my tripod thread so I had to be creative and use my gorillapod to attach to the top! Ha!



    A photo of the asylum taken in 1897
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    ...and another, undated
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    2012
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    Wreath from the local branch of the Royal British Legion
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    Fantastic roof
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    Benefactors of the Chapel were honoured by having a pew named after them; such an honour was bestowed to the Bledlow family here.
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    On a final note, unfortunately I haven't been able to find a decent write-up for the history of the place, however if you have the time have a read of John Crammer's book on the asylum! Also, here are some photos taken during an archaelogical dig after it closed.

    Much love,

    TBM x
     

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