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Report - North Wales Hospital (Denbigh), August 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by whitelighter, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    So URBEX buddy 12318 and I decided we wanted to make the seriously long trek to north Wales a while ago and finally the date we could both make it rolled around and off we went. it meant the best part of 4 hours in the car, so to give us the most time a hotel stay was in order.

    It did give us a full (but very long) day at the site. We managed to avoid the legend and his mutt, though there were a couple of occasions I think we came very close to a face to face. All told we spent around 6 hours there and I shot something like 300 frames. Its an awesome explore, but I wish we'd got there 4 or 5 years ago before so much was trashed. It seems there is some demolition in progress and the main building now as a tin roof and temporary guttering I guess to stabilise the listed structure. All the floors have been removed (not collapsed - no debris) in the front building and the two wings have some serious steel supports in place.

    The whole place brings a new meaning to 'tread carefully'.

    Some history of the site, which I'm sure you all know but just in case:

    With the Lunatic Act passed in 1808 every county in the country was to provide an institute for the mentally ill, but by 1840 North Wales was still without such an institution because the poor rural communities could not afford to erect one.

    This forced the Metropolitan Commissioners in Lunacy to investigate the condition that Welsh speaking lunatics were housed under, the report to the government in 1844 revealed the appalling conditions that were rife in the Asylum system. A group of philanthropists from Denbigh had already foreseen the outcome of the report and in October 1842 held a meeting that called attention to the need of a Hospital for the Insane in Central or North Wales. In this meeting, an anonymous donor handed over 20 acres of land to the committee, this donor later turned out to be Joseph Ablett of Llanber Hall. However, the project faced a number of difficulties, firstly the law did not support more than one county cooperating and building an asylum, and the other counties of Northern Wales did not want to help finance the project. Through public subscriptions, the committee managed to raise £4,600, including donation from Queen Victoria and other Royals.

    Despite these problems, building of the Hospital started in 1844. Plans were drawn up by Mr Fulljames of Gloucester under the guidance of his friend, Dr S. Hitch. The Hospital was constructed from limestone bricks produced by the Graig Quarry near Denbigh and was regarded as the finest structure of its type. The building work was completed four years later and opened on the 14th of November, 1848 and was able to house up to 200 patients.

    The hospital was under ever increasing pressure to support its patients and relieve over-crowding, this led to a number of extensions occurring through out its life; the most major extension work happened in 1899. This allowed the Hospital to house 1500 patients at its peak and offer a wide range of treatments. In 1995 the hospital finally closed its door and has remained empty ever since, causing the buildings to degrade to a very poor state, even though they are Grade II listed. In 2004 Prince Charles visited the site and placed all the buildings under the protection of the Phoenix Trust to ensure that the building was safe.


    A few more pics from my visit can be found here on my photobucket.

    I hope you enjoy the selection below:

    Externals:

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    The Chapel:

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    The Morgue:

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    Rooms & Corridors:

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    And finally some details stuff and some bits I hadn't seen in other reports:

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    If you want to go see this site, be quick as I think its only going to get worse. Current owners have until the 30th of September to appeal the CPO and if that goes through then there might be much more activity/security on site.

    Thanks for looking

    WL
     

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  2. Telf

    Telf 28DL Regular User
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    Some great pics there, :thumb I'd love to bump into Elwyn, been 3 times now never had the pleasure.
     
  3. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
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    Thanks.

    As it was our first visit I was happy to forgo that particular pleasure!
     
    #3 whitelighter, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  4. Landie_Man

    Landie_Man "Landie" or Harry :-)
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    You've certainly got the old girl covered matey.

    Id love to go back and possibly see Elwyn. I wonder if we could ask for a cuppa?
     
  5. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
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    Yep, I think we got into every building. Despite the damage there is still loads to see and when you have to travel you make sure you get round it all. Was properly tired afterwards though
     
  6. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
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    Nicely done, looks like that recent (and of course accidental) fire hasn't done too much damage?
     
  7. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
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    There was one building which we looked into but didn't fancy risking - we think this was the fire building.

    We did manage to get to the first and second floor and although there was some smoke damage it was doable. I didn't get a picture if the damage as it was super dark and I was without tripod.
     
  8. The Guard Dog

    The Guard Dog Will only bite a little bit... well a lot
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    Lovely stuff, to be that guy. Any sign of Elwyn?
     
  9. 12318

    12318 28DL Full Member
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    Pretty sure we heard him (well, his mutt) as he made his patrol rounds but managed to stay out of spitting distance at all times :thumb
     
  10. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Well done gents. Liking your shots and sounds like a decent little road trip!:thumb

    Nice work ducking Elwyn. Sheerly based on his reputation I'm not sure whether it would be more entertaining to avoid him or bump into him. :D
     
  11. gPub

    gPub 28DL Full Member
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    Great looking mooch.

    Big-up for the dedication. 4 hour drives a serious one even if you did hotel it.
     
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