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Report - St. Crispin's Asylum, Northamptonshire - March 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Peking, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Peking

    Peking 28DL Full Member
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    Hi all - this is a first time post from me so following others as a guide. It seems this particular site has been pretty well documented on here but thought I'd add my own take on the place.

    As previous posters have said, St.Crispin's has been pretty much stripped back to the bone, but I still managed to spend a couple of interesting hours exploring the place early one morning. There appear to be four main wings to the original hospital, one of these has now been developed, but the other three are sitting dormant, a few building materials scattered around with some signs of some building work but not much else (apart from lots of noisy roosting birds).

    The water tower in the centre seems the most interesting feature. I made it about halfway up here but chickened out when I saw the remainder of the climb - the ladder is quite rusty and exposed to the outside. The chapel(?) right next to it obviously fell victim to fire at some point in the last few years. There's also a gatehouse/office type building - this has the reception/staff area and more fittings still in place than the main wings.

    On my way out I saw another couple of guys heading in... apart from that, it was just me and the wood pigeons.




    Here's the blurb:

    St. Crispins was a large psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Duston village in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England.

    The hospital was designed by Robert Griffiths and established in 1876 as the Berrywood Asylum. It make good use of its position, with extensive views to the south overlooking open farmland towards Upton and protected to the north by the Berrywood itself, owned as part of the estate and providing a visual buffer from the village and road. The grounds incorporated a large farm complex, gas works, burial ground, a number of cottages for attendants and other estate staff, large residences for the superintendent, farm bailiff, head gardener, chaplain and steward.

    The main building was built to a variation of the corridor-pavilion plan and consisted of two major patient's blocks on either side of the central services and hall, and linked only by single storey corridors and open metal walkways at upper levels. The design reflected the architect, Robert Griffiths' previous work at the Macclesfield Asylum, Cheshire by placing pairs of projecting blocks for acute and generalised cases forward of the building line where the most benefit was received from light and fresh air, linked by infirmary wards, still with good prospect but protected from the worst of the weather and forming a segregation of management class of inmate. To either end were located the blocks for chronic, turbulent and difficult patients who it was proposed would gain less from the good aspect, but was to provide good access to their places of work.

    By 1884, and completed 1887 further extensions took place, creating a new block for idiot and imbecile children adjacent to the female wing, blocks for epileptics on either side, a reservoir and fire station, stable yard and an isolation hospital with a distinctive pyramidal roofline. A stone chapel and mortuary were also constructed.

    With the onset of World War I, the institution accommodated some of the inmates evacuated from the Norfolk County Asylum, until 1916, when Berrywood was also turned over to war use and its own population distributed across East Anglia and the East Midlands. However, peace brought a return of the building and a return of its patient population.

    St. Crispin Hospital briefly entered the news when a fire killed a six patients who were resident on Schuster Ward, within the main building.

    The hospital finally closed in 1995 and the buildings are currently standing derelict with only one of the wards having been converted.




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    The full collection can be found at the following:

    http://s271.photobucket.com/user/Pek_Ing/library/St Crispins Asylum?sort=6&page=1&postlogin=true
     
    #1 Peking, Mar 10, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014

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  2. AuntieKnickers

    AuntieKnickers inquisitive historian
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    good start :thumb
     
  3. The Guard Dog

    The Guard Dog Will only bite a little bit... well a lot
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    Great Start for a newbie :thumb
     
  4. Dogtown

    Dogtown 28DL Full Member
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    Good work. I live near here and there is so much history still surrounding this place you wouldn't believe. If you go on Google Earth and find St Crispins then click 'View' Then 'Historical' go back to the ariel photos from 2004 and you can see how big this place really was. There are still some original surrounding buildings still there that have been converted into houses including the Fire Station. It use to have a farm with 50 cows, 2 resovoirs, workshops, a massive laundry, boiler rooms etc. I have a book on the place, 300 pages of interest. You didn't know it but you were standing above the 'Staff and Friends underground nightclub. I have never posted photos of it on here but then again people should search just that little bit more. ;)
     
  5. Peking

    Peking 28DL Full Member
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    Great tip. It seems there are many buildings that have just been completely demolished, part of a completely self-sufficient community. Can't imagine the 'nightclub' would have been a hot ticket though ;-)
     
  6. krissigalores

    krissigalores Poison Ivy
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    Now that's something I'd love to find!

    It really is a state.. I'd still like to go and look around it, mind.
     
  7. fairyclarey

    fairyclarey Never stop exploring :)
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    I payed a vist here last night must say put the jeepers up us when darkness closed in :) great report pictures do the place justice
     
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