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Report - Severalls Asylum, Colchester - March 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Session9, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Severalls Hospital history

    The 300-acre (1.2 km2) 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 1990's 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, as a temporary building for the nearby Colchester General Hospital which was in the process of building an entire new building for these patients. 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. Planning permission was however granted in 2011 to redevelop the site.


    Today

    Building work is now up to the perimeter of the main site on the eastern side. This includes the construction of a new road that will link the A12 with the junction of the Northern Approach Road and Mill Road. As a consequence the dog walker's path is closed whilst the new road(s) intersect it. It seems unclear when work will start on the main site. Much was made of the announcement late last year that work would start this year, but rumour has it, that this has fallen through, yet again.

    In my theory the new road will provide a good way to carry poor old Severalls away once demolition starts, as it avoids the majority of residential areas with a useful direct link to the A12. If the redevelopment has fallen through, it can only mean this Essex beauty spot can be enjoyed for sometime yet :thumb.


    The explore

    After an early start (even earlier for some ;)), we had the worst possible start to our mooch. Without warning a yellow jacket appeared behind some trees and we had eyes on us. Some distance off from security, we then casually started to access the sudden need to buy a new property in commuter heaven by waving our arms around in some pathetic attempt not to look suspicious. After a period of lying low and with little onward movement by our keen friend, we took a casual stroll around the perimeter and headed back to our intended entry point. With a quick rush of adrenaline to conquer the tackle masher we were in with no sign of matey; at least for the next eight and a half hours that is...

    After eight hours of quality mooching accompanied by random hail, thunder and sun, we eventually came across some other explorers, whom almost simultaneously headed towards us from opposite corridors. It was good to meet you all, but your names i have shamefully forgotten.

    With the light fading and with the daylight hours getting longer, i caught a glimpse of those long summer exploring evenings i love. And so with a shuffle of our aching carcasses towards the exit, guess who should appear out of nowhere? No, not Micheal, but an equally pleasant and enthusiastic fella, who had clocked us all those hours before and was bemused we were still here. He showed us his handmade notebook stuffed full of authentic names and addresses - thirteen scalps was his tally so far today. Not bad, but who holds the record for the most heads back at Severalls Security HQ? :)


    Explored in the excellent company of Hamtagger :)


    On with the photos
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    1. A fine view of Severalls taken in the 1920's and spoilt only by my dotted black line that denotes roughly the course of the new road linking the A12 to the junctions of the Northern Approach Road and Mill Road. The villa's bottom left to right are Tamarisk (also known as 'Temporary Villa' and demolished 1997), Fernholme (demolished 2011) and the still standing Eden Villa.


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    2. A bit of colour (and near death by the look of it) down in the basement amongst the pipes and asbestos.


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    9. Mortuary main entrance.


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    11. Glory hole?


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    15. I'm not a fan of Mars Bars, so you are not getting that logo included in this picture :).


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    21. All that mooching just makes me want to go to sleep on a very uncomfortable bed.


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    22. What's up with your face there HT? :eek:


    That's all folks, hope you have enjoyed a slightly different take on this old favourite :).
     
    #1 Session9, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014

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  2. The Lone Shadow

    The Lone Shadow Industrial Fanatic!
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    You sure do love your Asylums S9. There you go, if you had taken that mattress I had offered you from St Edmunds you wouldn't be so uncomfortable on that bed - maybe a little more soiled though :laugh
    Great report btw, looks like your descent into DSLR world has been graceful :D
    Now its my turn :p:

    The Lone Shadow
     
  3. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Cheers LS. I should not have dismissed the mattress offer so quickly :)
    Pleased with the camera, BUT, would now like a another lens - where does it all stop?
     
  4. DJGee

    DJGee 28DL Full Member
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    That sir, is the dogs dangly bits. Top notch. I see the bed hasn't moved for a while then. As for the lenses, it probably never stops. I told my wife just one more, 3 lenses ago:D Top report bud! Them pics are quality! Good job
     
  5. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Cheers HT, it was a grand day! The place is certainly short of chairs (that red one was illusive this time) to rest those limbs and enjoy a cuppa :)
     
  6. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Cheers DJ! Bed was in bits this time last year, the middle piece had taken a wander, somewhere! Lenses, lenses, oh the dilemma :)
     
  7. ASOM

    ASOM One-Man Urbex Art Army
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    Some of the nicest shots I've seen from here, good stuff.
     
  8. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Awesome report there, them pics are fabulous, agree with ^^^^Asom^^^^, thanks for sharin':thumb
     
  9. tumbles

    tumbles Trip Hopping
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    Beautiful set :)
     
  10. krissigalores

    krissigalores Poison Ivy
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    Did you open all those doors yourself or were they already like that? Makes for a great picture I must say ha.
     
  11. Dogtown

    Dogtown 28DL Full Member
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    What cam you got Rocky??
     
  12. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Thanks for all your kind comments :)

    @krissigalores - oh yes, all the doors needed to be carefully adjusted, some even had to be put back on their hinges ;)

    @Dogtown - I have a Nikon D3200 with kit lens. Still finding my way with it, but pleased with its results. Would like a better lens sometime though :)
     
  13. Dogtown

    Dogtown 28DL Full Member
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    Well looks like you've picked it up fast mate, love the pic of you lying on the bed! Is that hdr?? Man, auto?? haha.

    I can recommend the Sigma 30mm F1.4 prime lens mate, its a fooking cracker. ;)
     
  14. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    Dam fine stuff sir :thumb
    You're doing well with that new camera of yours :)
     
  15. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Cheers Dogtown, no prizes for guessing which position the camera spends most of its time! Love the bed shot too, but to be picky, the sun could have been further over to make the shadow symmetrical under the bed. Thanks for the lens gen, will have to go and hold up a small corner shop :)
     
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