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Report - North Wales Hospital, Denbigh - April/May '11

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Xan_Asmodi, May 27, 2011.

  1. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
    Regular User

    Feb 18, 2011
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    This is Pool Park's big brother. The North Wales Hospital, or Denbigh mental as it's known locally, was opened in in 1848. It was purportedly built as a haven for welsh speaking residents because of the language barrier and prejudice they would face receiving treatment at an english hospital. Construction began in 1844 only 8 years after Dr. William Ellis in his 1836, Treatise on Insanity, proposed giving “keepers of the insane better” pay and training to attract more respectable and intelligent people. The first entry in the subscription list for the hospital is dated 1840 and reads 'Her Majesty Queen Victoria, 50 guineas”.

    The hospital was built in the tudorbethian style and has seen many renovations and extensions in its 147 year history as an operating hospital. At it's peak it had 1,500 patients and 1,000 staff. As with most asylums Denbigh was almost entirely self-sufficient, but unlike other hospitals Denbigh doesn't appear to have had a water tower, but according to Robert Frost who used to live on site, it had a reservoir in the moors above the hospital. It had it own laundry and power station which generated 110 volts DC, when most places where 240 volts AC. This problem was overcome by complicated and fearsome looking electrical equipment that converted 110v DC to 240vAC. Similarly to Prestwich asylum the Hospital had its own farm, right next to main buildings, and supplied nearly everything to feed 1500 patients plus staff - vegetables, potatoes, wheat, milk, meat. The farm included several hundred pigs (fed on swill from the kitchens), and even had a licenced slaughter house.

    The hospital was closed in phases from 1991 until 2002, with the main hospital closing in 1995. The locals in Denbigh have mixed memories of the hospital and as maybe expected, non-patients have more fond memories of the place. From a local resident called Lynda:
    Although as I said, other locals such as Ceri, think differently:
    Cerys was an inpatient and agrees with Ceri:

    As you can see from the picture above in it's heyday the building was immaculate. Now it's in a very sad state indeed. In 2004 Prince Charles visited the hospital and made a speech under the auspices of his Phoenix Trust (now part of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust) to try and prevent the structure from being demolished. From Cerys again:
    The hospital is now under the care of caretaker/keyholder, Elwyn Pierce. He met Prince Charles in 2004 and is apparently responsible for the place. His effectiveness in this regard is very dubious as in 2008 the main hall of the hospital spontaneously combusted.

    From The Daily Post:

    The main hall ended up being demolished and there is a lot of speculation in the urban exploration community as to whether this is part of a series of listed buildings spontaneously combusting.

    This report is from a total of 3 visits to Denbigh, the first being abortive as I met Mr. Peirce and his pooch. On the second and third visits I managed to cover about two thirds of the site, including the clocktower. I still have bits to cover so there may be more reports from here in the future.

    I hope you enjoy the pictures and the commentary that comes with them!

    Welcome to The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh



    The View from the clock tower

    Graffiti from peoples first trip up the tower

    The state of the corridors...

    ...and the wards




    A mural painted by the residents of Bala ward in 1986


    Laughter, - ALLEGEDLY - The best medicine

    Three stories, one floor

    I don't know if you can tell, but the floor is sagging and buckling the partition wall


    The remnants of the false ceilings remind me of Half Life or something

    Inside the building near the main entrance

    This is where my first proper visit ended but having only seen about a third of the hospital I knew that I had to get back.​

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    #1 Xan_Asmodi, May 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2011

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  2. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
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    Feb 18, 2011
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    Re: North Wales Hospital, Denbigh

    Where the main hall should be


    The main entrance was the alarm coordination point


    We found the union office. In the basement.

    FOUR stories, one floor

    Ward panorama. Click for the full size version

    Side room stitch. Click for the full size version

    Click for the full size version


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