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Report - Runwell Hospital, Essex March 2010

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Rookinella, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Rookinella

    Rookinella I should have danced all night
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    Visited with Speed and Raddog.

    Speedio had been checking this one regularly for signs of complete closure and since we were in the area, we decided to just give it a go good and proper.

    On our trip with Raddog, we came across a rather tame badger who was just badgering around in broad daylight and we got really close to it. I've got a video somewhere, his little bum wiggles when he runs away.

    The mortuary was our first port of call whilst looking around and it was a little treasure trove of dead memorabilia. Things in jars, white wellies, three slabs and a whole load of brain buckets. The place needs a bloody good tidy though. In the main hospital, it's a pretty modern layout with outer connecting corridors. This was another reasonably high security style hospital in some of the wings because we came across lots of high anti-climb fences.....which we climbed.

    On our second trip, me and Speed went up into the powerhouse which was an absolute gem and then the boilers-jeeez they were great :thumb

    Here's a bit of history from County Asylums if you haven't read any already:


    Following the ending of contracts accomodating patients at the Essex county's Brentwood mental hospital, joint facilities were developed between East Ham and Southend-on-sea boroughs. A site was chosen at Runwell Hall farm, to the east of the town of Wickford and the firm of Elcock and Sutcliffe were chosen as architects to the site, the former having previously designed the new Bethlem Royal hospital at Monks orchard. Elcock and Sutcliffe were at the forefront of institutional design and when completed, Runwell was seen as being pioneering development in mental hospital compared to it's contemporaries.
    The hospital was divided into specific zones according to purpose and type of patient. Staff housing was located close to or outside of the main entrance, with the most senior residences and nurse's home located on the main drive. The chapel, dedicated to St. Luke was placed at the principal junction at the top of the drive - to its east lay admission, research, treatment convalescence and neurosis blocks. The main buildings were laid out to the west comprising of villas for working patients, and pavilions for the infirm, administrative buildings, recreation hall, kitchens and stores blocks providing segregation of male and female blocks. Workshops were provided on either side for the employment of capable patients. To the rear a combined power house and water tower provided a central focal point, with the laundry constructed on the female side. Parole villas were built at the northermost areas behind the main ranges, providing a degree of freedom to suitable occupants. A large sick hospital was provided directly opposite the administrative block, combining wards for physically sick patients, those with tuberculosis, an operating theatre and staff sick bay. Finally, farthest west, boundary house, a large block for disruptive chronic patients was built, providing two male wards, four female wards and a separate dining hall. The former farm was relocated to the north of the main site.
    Unlike others of it's kind, Runwell utilised names for all villas and wards from the start, instead of numbers and letters used elsewhere until the 1960's and 70's, giving each structure a more homely identity. White with grey brick banding, rendering and variation between flat and pitched rooves were used to identify buildings and prevent a bland functional appearance overall by providing variety.
    Following World War II, Runwell came under the control of the National health service who continued pioneering research work at the hospital. New developments included the Strom Olsen ward, adjacent to the female admission unit, and named after the former Superintendent and a combined occupational therapy and research laboratory block. Investigations under Professor Corsellis led to the development of a 'brain bank', the largest of it's kind and instrumental in researching changes to the brain in mental illness and subnormality.
    Under sectorisation and realignment of catchment areas, Runwell's historical role in providing for East Ham diminished and services were became concentrated on the south east essex area, resulting in strong links with mental health services at Southend municipal hospital, later Rochford hospital. With the threat of closure and development of care in the community, services were streamlined between Runwell and Rochford sites, the laboratories and peripheral buildings closing.
    The majority of Rochford hospitals are currently located at Runwell, however this is temporary and allows the redevelopment of the Rochford site for new mental health facilities. On their completion all services will be relocated from Runwell hospital, allowing it to close.


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  2. Rookinella

    Rookinella I should have danced all night
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  3. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Cracking report, very envious as you made it into the boiler house! Much was still locked up when I visited. There still appears to be lots of buildings which still need to be explored though?

    I did meet the badger though, and a fox and was amazed at the amount of green woodpeckers which live around the grounds.
     
  4. professor frink

    professor frink Pro Snorer Skiff
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    Sweet, when I visited projectors had recently been saved.
    Missed them by a couple of days :mad:
     
  5. One Flew East

    One Flew East 28DL Full Member
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  6. essex_veedub

    essex_veedub 28DL Member
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    WOW this is mad i live on the grounds of that hosp for the first 10 years of my life cos my mum and dad worked there and i got so many memorys there
     
  7. DubbedNavigator

    DubbedNavigator 28DL Regular User
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    That boilerhouse looks a shithole from the outside.

    Well, in hindside it literally is a shithole - but a massive one!
     
  8. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    I though the boiler house looked stunning, most are just a single story flat roofed building lacking in any interesting features at all; this as just a boiler house is very impresive and took up 2 of my evenings only to hit dead ends, locked doors and shut windows. I will be back even if it's to explore some more of the hospital which is huge.
     
  9. Everyonefreezes

    Everyonefreezes tinyurl.com/yzfp8dt
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    That place looks absolutely amazing.
    I've never been on an explore where the lights are still running, haha =]

    Amazing photos =]
     
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