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Report - Severalls Hospital, Colchester, April 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by 12318, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. 12318

    12318 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Hearing that this place is possibly now on the endangered list and soon to be, finally, demolished and, having only covered slightly less than half the site on my last visit due to being between night shifts, I arranged my return visit with upright_ninja for his first trip there. Starting the day rather early, as the sun was climbing into the sky so were we up the friendly palisade fencing, and were soon inside.

    Taking a different route round to my last visit allowed me to see most of what I missed last time (the water tower still seemed inaccessible, I still have no idea where squirrels boutique is, and we were politely asked to leave before we’d seen inside admin…)

    So another enjoyable 5 hours inside the fences produced another load of shots to share with your good selves.


    History, as copied from my last report:

    Severalls Hospital in Colchester was a psychiatric hospital built in 1910 to the design of architect Frank Whitmore. It opened in May 1913.
    The 300-acre site housed around 2000 patients and the design was such that the 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.
    Psychiatrists were free to experiment with new treatments on patients seemingly at will, using practices now considered unsuitable such as electro-convulsive therapy and the use of frontal lobotomy.

    In her book ‘Madness in Its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospital, 1913-1997’ Diana Gittins notes that often women were admitted by their own family, sometimes as the result of bearing illegitimate children or because they had been raped. As they would not always (or were unable to) carry out daily tasks, they were considered to be insane and some were even subjected to ECT and lobotomy. A change in management during the 1960s saw reforms introduced including the creation of art and music therapy programs and the widespread use of drugs and medication.

    The hospital closed as a psychiatric hospital in the early 1990s as part of care in the community, although a small section remained open until March 1997 for the treatment of elderly patients suffering from the effects of serious stroke etc. A few of the satellite villas as of 2013 are still operational as research facilities on the edge of the site.

    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.

    May 2011 - Colchester Borough Council's Planning Committee gives their approval for the erection of 248 new homes.
    Early 2012 - Phase 1 "Rosewood" (248 new homes) begins in the former Asylum's Farmland to the east of the main Hospital Buildings
    September 2013 - 1500 more homes approved for Severalls land


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    One section of a building in the southern part of the complex has suffered extensive fire damage
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    Full set on flickr as per usual https://www.flickr.com/photos/97424506@N08/sets/72157644300918803/
     
    #1 12318, Apr 25, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014

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  2. upright_ninja

    upright_ninja Picture of Stealth
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    Nice work, dude! An enjoyable trip to the legend of Severalls! Cracking shots too! Another visit before the bulldozers arrive might be on the cards...!
     
  3. The Guard Dog

    The Guard Dog Will only bite a little bit... well a lot
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    Nice to see this place again, the Andre the giant obey graffiti made me laugh.
     
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