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Report - Severalls Asylum, Colchester - July 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Little bear, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Little bear

    Little bear 28DL Full Member
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    I visited here with my dad and his mates when it was nice and warm in the summer. I had just got my new camera, a 300D and a kit lens, so I was looking forward to trying it out in this cool location.
    We had a great time and ended up spending about 6 hours walking around until we got busted by a grounds keeper bloke with his tractor, then we got to meet Michael. I tried to bribe him with MacDonald's, this almost proved successful, but the police still ended up coming along, so they could prove who we were saying who we were, and then have a shout at us young explorers and my dad. I had a great time up till this point, and the only time I felt scared was when the police man was shouting at us. I wish my dads friend had recorded it like he had asked so we should show everybody how much of a idiot the police man was.

    Hope you like the photos. I did not take many but I took as many as I could, but I found it hard carrying the camera, so It got put away, so I could enjoy the exploring more

    History from wiki
    Severalls Hospital in Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom was a psychiatric hospital built in 1910 to the design of architect Frank Whitmore. It opened in May 1913.

    The 300-acre (120 ha) site housed some 2000 patients and was based on the "Echelon plan" - a specific arrangement of wards, offices and services within easy reach of each other by a network of interconnecting corridors. This meant that staff were able to operate around the site without the need to go outside in bad weather. Unlike modern British hospitals, patients in Severalls were separated according to their gender. Villas were constructed around the main hospital building as accommodation blocks between 1910 and 1935. Most of the buildings are in the Queen Anne style, with few architectural embellishments, typical of the Edwardian period. The most ornate buildings are the Administration Building, Larch House and Severalls House (originally the Medical Superintendent's residence).

    The hospital closed as a psychiatric hospital in the early 1990s following the closure of other psychiatric institutions. However, a small section remained open until 20 March 1997 for the treatment of elderly patients suffering from the effects of serious stroke, etc., as a temporary building for nearby Colchester General Hospital which was in the process of building an entire new building for these patients. A few of the satellite villas as of 2013 are still operational as research facilities on the edge of the site. This includes "Chestnut Villa" (originally Children's Villa), which provides laboratory services, and "Willow House" (originally Male Acute Ward), and Severalls House (originally the Medical Superintendent's residence). "Rivendell", a more modern building is still in use at the entrance to the site. Apart from Chestnut Villa, all remaining Buildings still in use are owned and run by North Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust (NEPFT).

    Since 1997 the remaining structures have changed little. Architecturally, the site remains an excellent example of a specific asylum plan. However, the buildings have suffered greatly from vandalism. In 2005 the main hall was subjected to an arson attack and in 2007 the charred building was demolished for safety reasons. The five boilers were removed from the Central Boiler House in 2007.

    In 2008, the sale of the hospital site, including its extensive grounds, collapsed due to the slow-down in the building industry.

    In December 2010, the nearby new A12 junction was officially opened. The "Stadium" junction and roundabout are located just to the north of Colchester United F.C.'s Stadium, on land formally known as Cuckoo Farm (used up until the late 1950s/early 1960s as the hospital farm). The opening of this new junction will enable the new link road to be built between "Stadium" roundabout on Axial Way to the Northern Approach Road, just north of Mill Road. The proposed route will pass over the long-demolished Iris House, to the south of Orchard and Eden Villas, through Fernholme Villa before crossing the old Sports Ground and joining the Northern Approach Road. Once built, this will open up the re-development potential for the former hospital site. At present, it is not known which of the existing Hospital buildings will be retained, apart from the Administration Building which is Grade 2 Listed. It is hoped that the main "ranges" and ward blocks will be kept and converted, along with the water tower, which is considered to be an important and historic landmark.

    In May 2011 Colchester Borough Council's Planning Committee gave their approval for the erection of 248 new homes. The location is on land currently owned by H.C.A. (formerly English Partnerships) and although is not directly on the site of the main hospital, is recognised as Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the former Severalls Hospital site. It is understood that this first phase is to be sited to the north-east of the Main Hospital, in fields bordering Mill Road and Tower Lane, next to the old Myland Hospital Water Tower.

    In late September 2011, as part of the enabling works for the new Northern Approach Road (or NAR) contractors began to clear the vegetation which had been allowed to grow un-checked in the 15 years since the hospital closed. Some large trees were also felled. Blue sheeting covering every opening, every hole in the roof, every broken pane of glass, is in place at "Fernhome" Villa (originally Female Villa). This is due to bats roosting, and this will be monitored before being re-housed to a suitable habitat. Workers have also begun to strip-out "Eden" Villa, built in the 1930s, ready for its demolition, along with Fernholme Villa. In October 2011 huge oak trees were felled and large areas of hedgerows stripped away. A new fence has also been erected, roughly marking out the public footpath which runs from Mill Road to Tower Lane and beyond.

    November, 2011:- Demolition commenced on Fernholme Villa.

    Early 2012:- Phase 1 "Rosewood" (248 new homes) begins in the former Asylum's Farmland to the east of the main Hospital Buildings; with Tower Lane to the Northern Boundary, and the now dis-used Water Tower of the long demolished Myland Hospital for Infectious Diseases off Mill Road to the Eastern corner. "Rosewood Park" marks the start of Redevelopment of the former Hospital's land. The Street names will be Olympic themed, which has caused bemusement to some local Residents & Groups, who would have preferred that the Street names would instead reflect local History.

    October, 2012: St. Aubyn Centre (CAMHS Unit), is officially opened by Rebecca Adlington. This modern, State-of-the Art Facility is located adjacent to Severalls House, in the edge of the Hospital Grounds, just off Boxted Road. This Centre will remain regardless of the Re-Development of the rest of the Hospital Site.



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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Good first report, you got any more pics, maybe dad has some to add :)
     
  3. Little bear

    Little bear 28DL Full Member
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Thank you, I think this is my third post now. Dads post has been up for a while now, as we lost my camera and have just found it. These are the ones that were not blurry and ok to post I guess, don't want to fill the forum with rubbish photos. But I think I will be sticking to the small camera as I can carry that one easier.
     
  4. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    stand corrected.. Good 3rd post now :p:

    pics are fine, I find the more you do the less you bother taking pics and the ones you take are cack.. well that's me anyway :D
     
  5. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Nice report! Love Severalls, it's a great place. :D Enjoyed your report! Thanks for sharing. :) :thumb
     
  6. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Great photos. I am so chuffed with my little girls work, she has a great eye for it and loves the exploring side to it. Her school loved seeing the photos and popped a few up on the wall again. Think a lighter camera will have to be on the cards though, then she can carry it around and use it more ;) and not leave it to me to carry it all with all my stuff too.
     
  7. Adam X

    Adam X It's a derpy job...
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Great work Little Bear - the last one is my favourite. And as NWA would say - forget the silly police!
    :) :thumbs
     
  8. Seagull

    Seagull rave on
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    nice work, a great eye for detail too
     
  9. Heroic J

    Heroic J Walk-in Explorer
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    Re: Severalls asylum. Colchester. Essex, July 2014

    Hey, that's what happened with me and my school when I showed them my Harperbury photos! Weird coincidence, huh? Great report by the way :thumb
     
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