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Report - Graylingwell Hospital, Chichester, West Sussex, January 2011

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by analepsis, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. analepsis

    analepsis 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    I came here a couple of days ago on my own. I had the best time, getting to see around half of the site. Reports of PIRs and vigilant security had put me on guard, and with only one pair of eyes this means you’re constantly on high alert. Going alone also means having to internalise everything you experience, so the process becomes that much more intense. I was buzzing hard for the whole six hours I was here and for at least as much again once I’d left. Only this can account for the fact that I didn’t feel tired once although I went there having slept for only 2-and-a-half hours the night before. Making a whole day of it, with a couple of close calls but not getting stopped and seeing so many interesting things, made this one of better outings I have had.

    Long notorious as an exceptionally difficult and inaccessible site, the advent of the demolition works has blown many a gap between its corridors, enabling a much more joined-up navigation of the buildings. The long years of tight security have also preserved much of Graylingwell’s integrity, and spared it from the dire chavapocalypse that has blighted such sites as the Alex in Brighton, nestling as it does in the heart of one of the south coast’s most extensive ‘substance misuse communities’. This is of obvious benefit, when it comes to the ue manna that you find in the projectionist’s booth, a still miraculous time-capsule after all these years. But considering that much of the site was still in use until 2003, it also means that the blander, modernised sections, are similarly preserved, and are without the richly textured patina of decay that has made other asylums like its East Sussex sister, Hellingly and Epsom’s West Park so aesthetically pleasing.

    Ridiculously, I actually thought it was all going to be grey, but nothing could have been further from the truth. From the red-brick buildings, to the burgundy carpets through the green corridors, and the milky blue rooms, Graylingwell is a very colourful sort of a place, which is apt to the saturated style of photography I have enjoyed making recently. That said, the pleasures of wandering around an asylum are never unmixed. For all the Ionic pilasters and tongue-and-groove timbered ceilings there’s the underlying historical reality that during the forties, Graylingwell was the site of some 200 psychosurgical operations; while the ECT unit, opened, as the self-congratulatory plaque denotes, as recently as 1984, bleakly testifies to the way that the mentally unwell are still being treated today.

    With all of the clamour to see West Park before it’s gone, it’s worth remembering that they’ve started tearing down Graylingwell too. Although not quite as evocative as Epsom’s ‘premier tourist attraction’, it’s nevertheless a wonderful site in its own right, and well worth seeing. It will be a sad day when this one is razed to the ground.

    Warning: the following report contains gratuitous depictions of corridors and at least one lonely chair….


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    i loved this medieval script wallpaper!

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    Thanks for looking
     

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