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Report - Severalls Hospital - Colchester - October 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Boomstick84, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    History

    Everybody knows the history of Sevs by now but for parity’s sake…

    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 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.

    The Explore

    Visited the fellow member robg172 on a clear and chilly morning. We arrived before sunrise to scout out our entry. Straight away we had a couple of close shaves with a van patrolling the external perimeter and then the finishing night shift passing us very close by just as we reached the fence.

    After biding our time, sitting tight for a short while and with daylight fast approaching we finally hit the fence and were surprisingly up and over the tackle mashing palisade quicker than expected and made our way inside.

    Now I know every man and his dog has had a go at Sevs and it has a reputation of being a bit a “tourist†attraction these days but I can now see why it’s so popular. The place is vast, with all those never ending corridors, buildings galore and everything you would expect from your typical asylum. Seeing the place unfold in front of us just as the sun came up, beautifully lit and cloaked in the early morning mist really was a sight to behold. We managed to spend just over four hours inside and covered best part of the east side of the site.

    As we began making our way towards the western side our luck finally ran out. Upon trying to squeeze through a tight door into one of the corridors who should I see standing at the end of the corridor facing the other way but security. Wedged in the door I couldn’t enter the corridor for obvious reasons and it would have made too much noise trying to exit back out so the best I could do was hide in the doorway and hope our high-viz adorned friend carried on in the other direction. Sadly it wasn’t to be and with a polite “Hello†we were busted. Michael had claimed another scalp.

    Credit to Michael, he was extremely professional but polite and it was a pleasure to finally meet the legend. After the usual formalities he kindly showed us the way out.

    Overall it was an enjoyable day at a beautiful site. I never did get to visit this gift shop that everybody talks about though… :D

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    My photo's don't do the light justice but all the cobwebs on the grass looked amazing coated in early morning dew
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    I know the whole HDR thing isn't everyone's cup of tea so hopefully this isn't too offensive!
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    The obligatory morgue shot
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    Mr robg172
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    The door where our day came to an end :D. Didn't realise I had shot it earlier in the day until viewing my pics
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    Hope you enjoyed :thumb
     
    #1 Boomstick84, Oct 7, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014

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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nice ones :thumb

    Think I prefer the write up even more than the good pics? Very nice mate(as usual:)

    ps there are still a few of us that haven't been mate, although probably not many I grant you :)

    Wonder if the scalps add up to extra Xmas bonus ? :)
     
  3. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate :thumb Glad you enjoyed the write up too :)

    Yeah, it's a site that's been so heavily covered already that I imagine alot of people are bored of Sevs but personally I loved it there. On a good day it's really quite a peaceful and picturesque place with so much to see. Well worth the visit in my opinion.

    If scalps = xmas bonus then I imagine he would be in for quite the holiday payday :D. In all fairness he'd deserve it as he's very professional but equally polite and affable. I nice bloke by all accounts.
     
  4. UrbanDuck

    UrbanDuck Authorised Trespasser
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    Hi mate, was looking forward to seeing and not disappointed. Some great shots there, well done. A great day exploring and still so much to see, they have not seen the back of us yet by a long shot! :D
     
  5. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah never seen a bad report about any of the Secca at Sev"s TBH and obviously Michaels the one everyone knows. If they do their job properly there shouldn't be any issues anyway. It's those Black Sheep again Just lucky they don't job share with Emlyn :) ( I know he's not secca but you know what I mean ;)

    I wonder if the Xmas Santas visit again this year ? lol

    At the end of the day all the footfall this place gets sort of justifies Secca being there, Urbex creates jobs lol
     
  6. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Excellent. Really interesting write up man. I'm liking the photos too. Even when something's done a lot there's still the interpretation of the photographer which adds a bit of character.
     
  7. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate :thumb Certainly was an enjoyable day and deffo eager to see the rest but sounds like it's not going anywhere anytime soon :)

    Thanks mate! Yeah was a real shame you couldn't join us, maybe on the next one! Appreciate the tips you gave us :thumb

    Thanks dude, appreciate the feedback :thumb Hope all's going well in NZ! :)
     
  8. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Nice snaps.
    I think its a special time to see the sunrise over Sevs.
    Sounds like security has been upped, Michael never used to wear a high viz! :)
     
  9. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Thank you, appreciate the comment :thumb

    Thanks mate. It really was picturesque and we were fortunate enough to have a really crisp, sunny day which was a bonus.

    Haha, maybe he's had an upgrade. Michael 2.0? :D
     
  10. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    The cobwebs in the grass is a great photo. We were just blessed with a great sunrise when we went, but no creepy cobwebs :(
     
  11. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Nice pics and report......did well to keep out of sight there ;)
     
  12. N345H

    N345H 28DL Full Member
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    Great write up at the beginning and really nice pics :)
     
  13. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate. I think we were just lucky to come across them at the right time when the grass was still wet but it looked pretty amazing.

    In one building we were trying to duck out of sight of security and I noticed a little too late that I had ducked down next to a doormat sized sheet of thick spiderweb on the floor with a dirty great funnel in the middle of it about the size of my thumb. Didn't fancy meeting whatever lived in there.

    Ta Will. It certainly was fun while it lasted. :D
     
  14. The Guard Dog

    The Guard Dog Will only bite a little bit... well a lot
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    Good work mate :thumb

    With sevs slowly heading to it's demolition date it's always good to see the place.
     
  15. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
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    Nice

    Typewriter on the starirs is an really nice shot
     
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