Report - - A Decade of Lunacy - Ten Years of Asylum Seeking | Noteworthy Reports | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - A Decade of Lunacy - Ten Years of Asylum Seeking


Trip Hopping
Regular User
So to celebrate 10 years of 28DL membership I thought I'd summarise the main antics of my explores in that decade. The asylums I've covered over the ten years remain the favourite type of explore for me. Sure in the last 5-6 years they've definitely had their time but everynow and again the odd exception has turned up.

So here are my ramblings and photos of ten years of lunacy. It's been fun and to all of those people who I've explored/met on the way I thank you one and all. It's been emotional!

I've set a rule of just 5 photos from each as otherwise I'd be here typing this report for another ten years.

You can see all my photos of asylums on my website here, however: http://www.whateversleft.co.uk/category/asylums/

1. Barrow Hospital, Bristol - 2007


Where it all began. Just to wind up @clebby too who loves this place. Barrow was known to me from an early age. The common line at school 'eeere your mum is in Barrol int she' - Fundamentally the last purpose built asylum/overspill from the county asylum era - built to open in 1938 but WW2 would see it re-purposed before finally opening in 1947 for its original use. Officially classified as the dirtiest hospital in the UK in 2005 it very rapidly closed within the following year. I can't remember the first time I found my way onto the site it might have been late 2006. Back then security was bloody good and every window and door nailed tight. It would be xmas 2007 before anyone saw anything from inside thanks to @rigsby's late night xmas antics. Over the next year it would go from being nailed down tight to wide open walk in. My first visit inside with Rigsby and Rookinella was a funny night. We'd follow it up cracking various parts over the next 6 months. A few years later the place was a total wreak but in some ways more photogenic. I still miss the odd wonder around it now.





2. Mid Wales Hospital, Talgarth - 2007


Probably alongside Barrow one that holds dearest to me. An hours blast (if driving like you've stolen it) from home this is another place I've watched go from good condition to the state it is in now which is only fit for a bulldozer. Perhaps the opposite from a security point of view.. a walk in back then where as now you get covered in dog shit and suffer flat tyres if you're stupid enough to park your car in the grounds. First visited with Sinnerman & Snappel. I've probably lost count of the amount of times I've visited over the years now. It's a crying waste of a set of buildings given the condition they were in but now I'd rather just see the place levelled if it meant keeping the admin and chapel perhaps. Best trips included staying at the local B&B and running around 3 foot of snow at 2am pissed as a fart.





3. West Park Hospital, Epsom - 2008


The first big un' - West Park had been notoriously well sealed but for 3am trips around the laser grid and dodging the dome cameras everywhere. Then early in 2008 security seemed much more relaxed. It was kept quiet for months that it was open for business once again. A whole day of roaming the place. A giant and memorable place. First explored with Rigsby, Rookinella, Speed & Ether. We found Denton ward was nailed shut but even more frustrating so was the padded cell. A visit the following month would find it open and 35 of us fitting inside the walls of it. Probably crammed in 10-15 more visits over the years before demo. Looking back now I perhaps should have given it more attention but Cane Hill down the road was just that little bit more special.





4. Fairmile Hospital, Berkshire - 2008


An odd one with those bloody talking CCTV camera/posts. First visited with Winchester & Sinnerman. We stood on the lawn to see if the cameras were still working. 'Please leave the site immediately' - yep they're still working. Bollocks. We'd go around the old OT sheds to the west of the site and bumped into Nurse Payne who promptly got naked on a rather soggy shit stained mattress. The following year we'd get into the main block on a freezing January Sunday morning. I seem to recall it being around minus 12 outside. Winch decided to have a shit and it was still steaming about 3 hours later when we left. Not one of my favourites it was a bit bland and only one ward really carried it's original fixtures and fixings. Now a very overpriced set of fancy apartments. Well its is Berkshire!





5. Severalls Hospital, Colchester - 2008


June 2008. What a month that was. My travels with work seemed to put me next to a derelict asylum every night of the week. In the space of 10 days I would visit or revisit no less than 7 asylums. Severalls was also the first solo explore of an asylum. A sunny afternoon Winch is telling me to walk around the back fence where I'd find either the fence open as it had many holes in it or just climb up the 'Severalls Tree' - I found the tree. Or rather just the stump of it and a fresh batch of sawdust around it. The fence had also been sealed up. Bugger. Eventually finding a way under I'd have a free roam. The days before Michael were a lot more chilled and but for walking brazen along the road that circled the hospital once you were in, you stayed in for as long as you liked. I recall somehow climbing up through a narrow hole in the door to the water tower and then trying not falling into the fetid pit of water below. A huge site but perhaps a little empty but those huge corridors and rows of cell doors would make it one of the most photogenic. It had about 3 farewell tours and yet the place outlived all but the rest of the derelict ones of its time.





6. Cane Hill Hospital, Coulsdon - 2008


Cane. Fucking. Hill. Even by June of 2008 I'd left it too late. I remember walking down the footpath of Portnalls Road and there I got my first glimpse of it in the early morning sunshine. One of my favourite exploring moments. The place was colossal. I first caught glimpse of a ward as we walked towards the fence. Curtains gently blowing in the breeze. For all its sheer fuckedness of 19 years derelict it was beautiful. That first Sunday at Cane Hill with JonBoy, Dystopia, Winch & Fluffy was incredible. I think we did 13 hours with little more than the occasional stop for a swig of water. It was 25 degrees outside but we pushed on till we were all exhausted and covered a large chunk of the place. I say a large chunk but I could have honestly spent 3 weeks solid in there and not got bored. To try and whittle down my CH photos down to 50 is hard enough. 5 is sheer impossible. I miss this place more than any other site I've ever explored. It was simply incredible.






Trip Hopping
Regular User
7. High Royds Hospital, Menston - 2008


Another evening trip after work. By the time of my first visit redevelopment was well underway. It was still one of the most architectural pleasing asylums with that admin block and clock tower. I was fortunate enough to see the mortuary and its slab the day before it was removed and taken to the mental health museum at Wakefield. I never liked the children's block out the back. I'm not one to get freaked out normally but that place just didn't feel good. On a plus note the social club was great. Cheap booze and huge food portions. What more could you want post explore?





8. St Mary's Hospital, Stannington - 2008


In comparison to Cane Hill which had been closed the same period of time St Mary's sat relatively untouched and untrashed for the best part of 20 years. Its remote location probably helped as did the locals who'd I'd been warned about prior to arrival. Just get out of your car and run. Nope. Not a chance. 'NO FUCKING PHOTOS' came the call from a local out his house window. I'd get in before security would arrive but they were onto me from the start. I'd have three eventful trips up here. One security bust, one successful day of fun and then a final trip around the more exterior buildings which ended in blue lights and fast driving down country lanes. It was sad to see the developers sit on the original buildings for years, strip them bare and then finally change their minds and bulldoze the lot. Even now their pissing about has resulted in the St Mary's Inn closing down for the foreseeable future which is a great shame as it was one of the best uses of an old admin building that I've seen. Hopefully it will reopen in a few years time.





9. Cherry Knowle Hospital, Sunderland - 2008


What. A. Shithole. In comparison to St Mary's this was the complete opposite. Left wide open with no security for about 10 years and then they put a triple prong palaside fence in when its too late. I was lucky that I got here a few days before it was complete. Smashed to within an inch of its life other than the chapel & main hall I found little to enjoy here. Not least because the local neds were inside at the same time as me smashing it up even more. I never went back after the first visit.





10. Countess of Chester, Chester - 2008


Was it ever called Deva? I don't know. At this point I'd like to say Most Haunted you utter wankpuffins. I'd planned a trip to Denbigh with Winch & Hydra for about 3 months. Then we find out they are filming at Denbigh the very weekend we'd planned. We'd still try our luck as filming ended on the Friday but nope it was still buzzing with people when we got there on the Sunday morning. 2 weeks later the hall was torched and I never got to see that ceiling. Deva was a good backup plan and another one to tick off the list. Who had all of those bikes then? What exactly led to them being left in that room!?





11. Hellingly Hospital, Hellingly - 2008


A pre Christmas trip to Hellingly. Security had disappeared in recent months so it was a great time to visit. A beautiful red brick Hine creation but again a bit like Cherry Knowle it was fucked to within an inch of its life. I probably didn't get around enough of it and only visited twice. The hall despite its many fires and trashed state was rather a beauty. I still have two lovely bakelite phones from Hellingly. A chance find stumbling around the water tower revealed a room piled high with them. Some people will probably tut but 12 months later they ended up as landfill so having restored both back to fully working order I'll enjoy them for what they are/were. The water tower steps here were a bit lively to say the least.. I decided I'd want to see out the year alive rather than climb the final few flights. The alarm on the chapel was quite loud too if I remember correctly.





12. St Lawrence's Hospital, Bodmin - 2008


To wrap 2008 up nicely. St Lawrence's was a bloody long way from home even for me. It's no wonder it wasn't done by many. In truth except for the foster hall it didn't have much to see. A lot of the wards were stripped back to bare walls and didn't even have floors. The aptly named 'Lovenly' ward was a brutal affair with two high security cells with doors seemingly the thickness of a bank vault. The second visit here involved security, dogs and police. A telling off from the 5-0 for being inside an 'enclosed space' What they couldn't understand is why we'd come to visit the place. No appreciate for that hall and its ceiling/light fixtures. I guess you can't please everyone.






Trip Hopping
Regular User
13. St Cadoc's Hospital, Caerleon- 2009


Easily the most unplanned but most rewarding asylum visit I've done. It was my 29th Birthday and having had a few months off since getting a bollocking at St Lawrence's the plan was to hit Mid Wales Hospital up. Winch had other plans and suggested we could just stop to have a look at a real live asylum. Five minutes later we're out of the car and through the front door of admin. It's 7.30am on a Sunday morning and literally the place is empty. The hall was immaculate, the kitchens cleaned ready for the next meal of the day. After walking around the bottom floor corridors we soon spotted a closed ward and stairs upstairs. It was quite unusual to see a corridor running parallel on the second floor. We didn't push our luck too long here as it was still very busy in certain places. A few more trips were taken in to see the mortuary before we really got too close to getting caught when walking into a room full of people having a coffee break. Opps. It's been great to see more photos coming out of here in the last 12 months. If it ever closes for good I think its still got a few more secrets to give.





14. Pen-Y-Fal Hospital, Abergavenny- 2009


Not content with taking in St Cadoc's & Mid Wales we ended up at Pen-Y-Fal on the way back home. A converted affair this will be the first of a few that perhaps don't come under the exploring tag. The chapel was still sat in the corner looking sorry for itself. There are approximately 3'500 pauper graves to the west corner of the site too. Just one memorial stone is left to signify such a vast set of graves.





15. Glenside Hospital, Bristol- 2009


Bristol County Asylum - the real asylum of the City but seemingly less famous than its overspill at Barrow. When it closed in 1992 it was immediately re purposed by the local polytechnic/college and is now used as UWE's Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences - such is the nature of its current use that the buildings have changed little from their original use. If you ever want to get a feel for how an original asylum looked/felt from the outside then Glenside is a great place to visit. Each year the open doors day event means you can wonder around. It still retains some wonderful original features inside. The museum in the old chapel/church is highly recommended too.





16. Tone Vale Hospital, Taunton- 2010


On the way back from my first successful visit to Tone Mill we stopped back here. We didn't really know what to expect and expected it to be fully converted. To our surprise the left hand side wards next to the admin building were still derelict. There wasn't anything great to see inside of them but then we found the main hall behind the admin block. Quite how so much crap ended up inside it I'll never know. I think they've finally finished the rest of the conversion now. Sadly the hall was demolished.





17. St Edwards Hospital, Cheddleton- 2010


I think finished work early this day and I'd been looking at St Georges Stafford and decided to give it a miss. An hour later I found myself at St Edward's not really knowing what to expect. At bit like Tone Vale it was mostly converted. The water tower looks like one cool place to live. With it mostly converted somehow the chapel and mortuary were derelict at the back of the site. When I stuck my camera phone through a small gap in the mortuary door I didn't expect to see what the phone displayed back to me! The chapel has since been purchased by a couple who are converting it into residential property.





19. Lancaster Moor Hospital, Lancaster- 2010


One of my biggest regrets. I never got any luck here. Despite my other half being at Lancaster Uni for 3 years no amount of trying got me anything other than busted and marched offsite. One evening I recall spending about 3 hours trying to find various ways in. It was definitely one that thwarted me to the end so nothing more than a few externals here.




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Trip Hopping
Regular User
19. Runwell Hospital, Wickford - 2010


One of the last purpose built county asylums. Constructed in 1930's had a definite art deco theme to the admin block. Being a later asylum it adopted a colony plan so was pretty hard work getting around the site. Had a couple of good trips here with Fieldy & Lula. The boiler house was really quite special and a shame it was demolished but I do appreciate that it probably didn't have much scope for conversion into anything else.





20. North Wales Hospital, Denbeigh - 2010


Elwyn. The crazy fucker. I'd successfully done a whirlwind visit when travelling home from Liverpool with work. Even that trip I was slightly scared of bumping into him given the stories. Sure enough on the second visit we'd come face to face with him. Despite trying to be polite and leave site he decided to unleash his dog on us. I got bitten on the arse and the dog went on to completely flatten a female explorer while the red mist fell. If that wasn't enough he then tried to imprison us in a cell. Only when dialling 999 did he back off. I've never been back since funnily enough. Apart from the beautiful frontage of the admin building I didn't really find much else to enjoy here.





21. Greylingwell Hospital, Chicheester - 2011


Having been ill exploring took a backseat for the early months of 2011. Greylingwell was a bit of a blag and as such didn't really get to see that much of it. At least the hall was nice.





22. Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield - 2011


Stanley Royd was mostly converted by this stage but it had two great features. A museum with a fully loaded Pococks Padded Cell and a Chapel with some of the most fantastic stained glass you'd ever see. The only downside is the chapel was the biggest pigeon shit fetted shithole ever. It honestly took a week to get the smell of the stuff out of my nose. For my sins I actually visited it twice and in fact I think I've partly fucked up this whole report as the first visit was in 2009. The place eventually the victim of arson and the stained glass lost forever. Still if you are in the area go the museum - you won't regret it.





23. Gartloch Hospital, Lanarkshire - 2012


It would be a fair while before a new asylum was added to the list. Mostly converted with the exception of the most fantastic, gothic looking, admin towers/block. The main hall was literally crumbling when I took photos. I think it's since been demolished and they are finally converting the admin block.





24. Whittingham Hospital, Goosnargh - 2012


What do you do when you are getting married and want a different stag doo? That's right go and explore a load of derelict asylums for the weekend. By 2012 asylums were in short supply and Whittingham was the best one I hadn't got around to at the time. This was the first trip away with little old @Seffy - in the days when he was a quiet shy lad. How things change ;) I think I'd failed here several times but didn't really put that much effort in as the place was simply ruins. Still nice to eventually tick off the list. Funny how this place was meant to be saved due to its condition being better than Cane Hill. What a load of bollocks from English Heritage.






Trip Hopping
Regular User
25. Rauceby Hospital, Quarrington - 2012


After a night on the ale in Derby - day two of the stag doo took us to Lincoln. For about the 5th time we would fail at St Johns Lincoln. I only wanted to see those corridors and arches so meh never mind. Rauceby is just a bare shell of a standard George Hine design. Literally stripped back to bare walls and nothing else it's not really anything to enjoy. Nobody seems to know what the developers are doing with it as its sat like that for about 12 years now. My guess is they'll bulldoze it St Mary's style in due course and build a load of flat pack specials.





26. Hartwood Hospital, Lanarkshire - 2013


By this point I'd got married so exploring every weekend. Not a fucking chance. Hartwood was a evening explore while working north of the border. Another well past its sell date but still rather fantastic. Climbing up one of the towers was ropey. The other was suicidal. Ravaged by multiple fires only the bare shell really remains but you can still see how grand it once was in the corridors that remain. It still remains derelict to the current day although I believe another fire has since struck it. Amazing given that there is seemingly nothing else left inside to burn.





28. Stratheden Hospital, Fife - 2016


A three year gap due to parenthood but north of the boarder once again coming up trumps. I'd seen reports from here way back to 2008. Still partially open and from the outside looking in great maintenance from the outside. The closed blocks have been screwed and nailed shut internally at every step. A bloody difficult explore with little reward in some places. This was part of a weekend with @Idavoll where we'd head further on to Sunnyside Royal but fail and end up eating pizza and crashing out in a random hotel somewhere near Glenthroes. We'd only been exploring the paper mill about 8 hours earlier. Oh well, its only fuel.





29. St Georges Hospital, Morpeth - 2016


After failing at Rosylnne on the way home from Scotland we stopped at St Georges. I think we left it a bit too late. Oh well.


31. Sunnyside Royal Hospital, Montrose - 2017


Having failed here before Christmas a surprise development via work meant this wouldn't need to be a fail anymore. Plans were made with @Idavoll and @Disco Kitten and we'd meet up at Glasgow Airport late on Friday evening and a trek all the way to Montrose before doing this beauty the following morning. A strange place - not the most aesthetically pleasing design from the outside you'd find yourself walking through modern wards with little character and then walk into a total time warp. Due for conversion by the end of this year I'm glad to have ticked it off. I might have to go back for another visit before then however.





...and that's my lot for now. There maybe edits to this post in due course. It's been a great 10 years of asylums and derps. For more asylum goodness don't forget to also check out the County Asylums website :)

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That is an impressive collection of pre-destroyed asylums. unfortunately I was too late to see the asylums before they became totally wrecked. Talgarth being a great example of when you went to how it is now. Either way it's a fantastic report


Super Moderator
Staff member

Where did the "Deva" name come from? I always knew it as Deva and just never thought to question it.


( . Y . )
Regular User
love it babe xxxxxxx

Know what you mean about Sunnyside too.. on paper it should be quite special but something about it left me feeling cold. Stratheden's much better in my opinion.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Some body of work when you look at it all together!! Fantastic stuff, couple there I wish I'd seen, but I guess on the flip side I saw a couple your missing.

I think it's a bloody waste when you think some of the better sections of a lot of those buildings were lost when you see how well the converted ones scrub up.

Thanks for compiling that, brought some epic memories back :)


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Some nice old stuff there, some I saw, some I missed. I failed a pile of times at Lancaster Moor too till about 2015 when the builders moved in, I got two good goes at it then.
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