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Report - Caldwell House - East Renfrewshire - December 2010

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by MacMan, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. MacMan

    MacMan 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    I was told about this by a work colleague who lives near this site, but it otherwise seems to be little known.

    Caldwell House was a country home built in 1771 and designed by famous Scottish architect, Robert Adam. In 1927 it was converted into a hospital for the treatment of children with mental illnesses and was used for this purpose until 1985 when it closed. After this it was bought by a private owner who intended on turning the house and other buildings on the estate into a nursing home - this never really got off the ground and the main house then burned down in suspicious circumstances in 1995. The buildings rapidly deteriorated and after 15 years of exposure to the elements and the local pikeys, the main building is now a crumbling shell. There is a rickle of other buildings on the estate which are abandoned but still contain quite a lot of furniture and fittings, but these too are rapidly deteriorating. For a while the ownership of the site was in debate and the council did not want to take responsibility for securing the buildings as it would cost too much. Now the estate is owned by a developer who plans to restore and convert the main house into flats at a cost estimated to be around £7 million - whether this will ever happen is doubtful in my opinion as the development would be at a loss.

    The whole site is rural and generally insecure - access was very easy and we were not challenged at all, (although there was a tense moment when we thought we'd been spotted by someone with a very large dog). I visited with Pugzil while there was still a lot of sitting snow, and we almost got the car stuck on the estate track coming out, since it was a steep, uphill slope. The buildings themselves are generally unsafe, with lots of crumbling structure, big holes in the floor, missing floors and junk lying around - heaven!

    Pugzil scouts the front of the house
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    Easy access
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    One of the head mouldings in the doorway
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    Steel liftshaft in the centre of the stairwell. The lift carriage lurks in a mangled heap in the basement.
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    We chose to take the stairs instead!
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    Looking down from the top floor landing.
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    Looking across the top floor. The original steel beams are still there and in good condition - these hold the building together. The floors and their joists are long gone though, perhaps due to fire and rot or maybe deliberate removal to make the building safer.
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    Long basement corridor
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    Vaulted basement room. Most of the rooms were like this, although some had holes in the ceiling of the ceilings had caved in completely. There were a number of fairly new spent shotgun cartridges lying around, and there was an unpleasant rotting deer carcase in a cupboard area.
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    The remains of an exterior fire escape staircase - there was one of these at each end of the building, but neither were in climbable condition. Pictures from a few years ago show these staircases completely intact.
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    The back of the building, showing one or two window frames still in place. There was quite a bit of rubbish and bits of structure lying behind the building, most of it was covered in snow.
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    The boilerhouse and laundry extension - reputedly the boilers not only heated the house but also a nearby walled garden. The boiler is long gone but the brick plinth and chimney for it is massive.
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    Inside the laundry area. There was a lot of noise coming from this bit which made us think there was someone moving around inside, but after investigation it turned out it was the drips from the falling snow falling on the wooden boards all over the floor.
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    Storage rooms behind the main house, some were full of old tyres and other junk.
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    Electricity meters - most of the wiring and switchgear has been nicked by pikeys. A couple of huge cables were coming out of the floor - we reckon these were the main line into the building so kept well clear!
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    Another building near the main house - we didn't investigate this as it was swamped with meltwater. It too looks like it has burned down in recent years.
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    Summerhouse, still surprisingly intact and dry inside
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    Nursing home buildings. They look like they were once a farmhouse and outbuildings which have been joined together.
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    Inside we found a room with a huge pile of festering furniture and other rubbish. We think it was the furniture from the main house, either salvaged after it burned down or moved into this building before the main building was torched.
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    One of the mouldy rooms. It was so damp in this building due to the melting snow, and the rotting smell was overpowering. It was quite a relief to get back out into fresh air.
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    Qur'an
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    Dream bath tub!
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    Outside the nursing home. Some parts of it have already bitten the dust, other bits are rapidly on their way to doing so.
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    Abandoned outbuildings - disused but still in pretty good condition.
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    It was a good explore but the melting snow did hamper our progress a bit and made the nursing home part very damp. It would be good to re-visit in better weather when the place has dried out a bit.
     

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