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Report - Hartwood, Lennox Castle & Gartloch Hospitals, Scotland - July 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Idle Hands, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Three Explores in One

    Following on from last weekend’s thoroughly enjoyable explore of Birkwood Hospital a follow up trip to Glasgow was hastily arranged and three more former institutions were visited. The three in question share a degree of commonality - not least because of their ruinous condition – so I’m including them all in the one thread by way of an update.

    As with all such hospitals their decline became terminal with the passing of the 1990 Community Care Act, and what has become of the grand buildings owes as much to criminal asset mismanagement as it does to arsonists and vandals.


    Hartwood Hospital

    Originally the Lanark District Asylum, Hartwood’s imposing twin clock towers make for a striking statement over the tiny Lanarkshire settlement that bears its name. The grand hospital was built from 1890 under the direction of medical superintendent Dr Archibald Campbell Clark, a man that had been involved in modern therapies such as Occupational Health and ECT. Opening in 1895, Hartwood was for a time the largest asylum in Europe. The height varied between two and three storeys in the symmetrically formed main buildings, with the cream sandstone, ashlar dressings, crowstepped gables and grey slate roof making a seriously grand statement. Long glazed corridors radiated outwards towards six ward blocks.


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    The hospital closed in 1996 and the corridors were truncated shortly afterwards when the wards were demolished. The main buildings were briefly used by local media operation Lanarkshire TV, but although plans were formulated to turn the site into a media centre it had been abandoned again not long after the 21st century dawned. A devastating fire gutted the main buildings in July 2004 and its future has been uncertain ever since.


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    The site is patrolled but we didn’t have any bother, although the buildings have recently been secured with metal plates over the widow apertures. Even after finding a way in to the main building access to the tower wasn’t straightforward, but we figured it out and headed up…

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    Taking a look above us we saw the rotting timbers of ceilings and floors hanging on by a thread…

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    I was set on getting a shot through the clock faces and we were just below them when the stone stairwell ended and there was half a very fragile floor to cross to gain access to the turret leading up. I gingerly stepped onto the wood, feeling it give beneath my feet, and after much consideration we made the painful decision not to risk it. I take my hat off to anyone that tries now… you’d need balls of steel, or at least a solid plank to rest across the gap!


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    Lennox Castle Hospital


    The former Lennox Castle Certified Institution for Mental Defectives as it was catchily known shares a similar back story to Birkwood Hospital, it too having been a mansion purchased for conversion in the wake of the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. Originally the seat of the Clan Kincaid, the present incarnation of Lennox Castle was built in 1812, but in 1927 the estate was purchased and plans drawn up for a state-of-the-art 1,200 bed hospital. The castle itself was ultimately used as the nurses’ home until it was vacated in 1987, though the grounds were still used to accommodate patients until 2002.

    Throughout the 90s local argument raged and the castle fell quickly into disrepair. The health board were asked to make repairs but sold the site for development, with planners subsequently refusing them permission to convert the castle into flats and citing the greenbelt as their reasoning. More debate took place in the decade that ensued with the council expressing concern and the developer doing little except issue revised conversion plans. The roof was stripped, the windows smashed, the floors collapsed and the interior features were largely lost forever by the time a major fire ravaged the building and reduced it to little more than a ruinous shell in May 2008. Since then two of the four towers have collapsed or been partially demolished.



    From the grand entrance you can see that much effort was put into the detail of the building…


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    …with a ribbed stone ceiling outside the front door…

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    …and plaques like this one above it.

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    On the inside however you’ll find little more than a ruin. Two of the towers remain climbable if you trust the stairs, but the walls are crumbling around them.

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    Inside the grand entrance is all that’s left of the once grand interior:

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    The rest is a mess, the twisted remains of the fire escape hanging over it…

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    There are still some nice features to be found though, like these dudes:

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    Greenbelt or no greenbelt, permission for 76 houses, associated landscaping and enabling works was finally granted to the developers in 2012. One wonders if that had been granted 20 years earlier whether the castle might actually have been saved.

    It's currently looking unlikely.


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    Gartloch Hospital


    On the way back to Glasgow the sky suggested torrential rain, but it also revealed Gartloch Administration Block’s inimitable gothic twin towers - protruding through the trees and dominating the land for miles around. It would have been rude not to take a quick look. Standing defiant and foreboding, the building is now nothing more than a stripped out shell in the centre of a luxury village made from the buildings that have so far been renovated.


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    There seem to be no plans to move on this or the adjacent blocks anytime soon, and in a staggering act of what can only be described as licensed vandalism the developer has been granted planning permission for the demolition of the recreation block on the grounds that its conversion is now unfeasible. It’s still there to date, and since we’d run out of time and the rain was about to hit, we left this one for another time.

    Providing it’s still there…


    Thanks for stopping by :)
     

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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Superb (and that"s a word i"ve never used :) :thumb

    And a lot more interesting than the Commonwealth Games :)

    That Gartloch Hospital pic is a right teaser :D
     
  3. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Haha, thank you mate. Feels like it took me longer to put this report together than it did to explore them in the first place!

    As for the games, one of the reasons for rushing back so soon was to photograph the Finnieston Crane while it's lit up at night. That turned out nicely too :)
     
  4. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Lol everytime i"ve seen the Cranes on TV i"ve been looking for Silhouettes running about on them :D
     
  5. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Some really good shots here. Well done. Really like some of the archetecture that you've capture on parts of the buildings.
     
  6. tumbles

    tumbles Trip Hopping
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    Some lovely shots, you should have just gone in and got a shot of the hall at Gartloch as its just about ready to crumble to the ground.
     
  7. Indecisive Moment

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    Lots of empty shells but you've done a great job of making these places look good :)
     
  8. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks very much - the architecture is pretty special. It'd be a shame if they couldn't be converted into another use. Lennox Castle might be a bit far gone though...

    Yeah I've seen pictures - I think that's the building that was granted demolition permission as well. Hopefully it will still be there next time I'm up!

    Thank you :) - they were all enjoyable in their own right, if not as exciting as some I've been to!
     
  9. urblex

    urblex 28DL Maverick
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    Some great shots here mate thanks for sharing this, need to get up to Scotland at some point, wish i was into urbex when i used to live up there :rolleyes:
     
  10. Paradox

    Paradox 28DL Regular User
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    Nice work IH! You got some fantastic shots there! I like this lots :thumb
     
  11. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Fantastic report and pics
     
  12. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Nice little tour you did there. Enjoyed it! :thumb
     
  13. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers guys :thumb

    Not much left of them but nice to wander round and climb on nonetheless :)
     
  14. krissigalores

    krissigalores Poison Ivy
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    Beautiful places! Quality pictures. :)
     
  15. Hector Rex

    Hector Rex 28DL Regular User
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    Top report :) don't blame you for not going up Further! It was spongy enough last year when we went up!
     
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