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Report - Whittingham Asylum, May 2011

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by ASOM, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. ASOM

    ASOM One-Man Urbex Art Army
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    I won't bother with copying and pasting another Wikipedia history as that's been done before, so just a real quickie of my own, any corrections to this info are welcomed:

    This immense asylum was built by Henry Littler and opened in 1873 as the 4th Lancashire County Asylum at Whittingham, the others being Lancaster Moor (currently also empty), Prestwich and Rainhill (both now demolished).

    As with the large annexe at Prestwich, this was built on the "radial pavillion" plan, which was innovative at the time and mixed Jeremy Bentham's "panoptical" layout (still used for many prisons) with the pavillion plan which had taken over from the straightforward "corridor" plan as the favoured design for hospitals.

    A glance at the aerial view shows the flaws inherent in its layout, with many ward areas still being needlessly far from the central services. The idea was later refined by CH Howell at Cane Hill in 1883 but abandoned in favour of the more efficient and practical "echelon" plan devised in the US but perfected by our own GT Hine at Claybury in 1893.

    While some architectural historians have acknowledged the "radial pavillion" as a design unique to the asylum, Prestwich, Cane Hill, and now, the last of them still standing, Whittingham, have all been ignored mainly due to the preservation of Claybury which has seen them wrongly labelled as "echelon" asylums and therefore not worthy of saving since a "better" example has already been preserved.

    As I understand it, they're waiting for the planning of a road nearby, and then all but the admin and the front two blocks will be demolished to make way for more housing and business use. There is a modern secure psychiatric facility on site as well as numerous outbuildings I sadly didn't have time for. There is a new (well, new to me) palisade fence around the site now, and demo work appeared to be starting on "Cameron House", the very large 2nd (of three, with one already demolished) asylum buildings at the site.

    On with the show::popcorn

    1) Bridge over former patient's access road.
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    3) Trashed glass in nurses' station.
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    7) Stitch of the same view from windows on different sides of the same block.
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    10) The floors are the biggest challenge in this place.
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    20) Do you like hospital food?
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    23) Although the layout didn't use the space to its best advantage, it did allow for some pleasant enclosed gardens.
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    26) Kitchens
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    27) The main hall has to be seen to be believed. The asylum closed in December 1995 just after the Xmas party, hence the decorations still fluttering gently in the breeze.
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    29) Most of the stage equipment has remained.
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