28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Littlestoke ferry 1890
Littlestoke ferry 1890
Moulsford Asylum, which later became Fair Mile Hospital, was designed by Howell and opened in 1870.
Patients from Berkshire had previously been 'sharing' Oxforshire's asylum, Littlebrook. When they ran out of space, it was decided that Moulsford Asylum should be built.
Moulsford Asylum was designed to accommodate 285 patients and was almost full to capacity within the first year. It was extended by Howell in 1880 to 609 beds, and again by Hine in 1901 to 800 beds. It admitted pauper patients and also private patients if there was spare capacity.
Fairmile, being my closest asylum was one of the first I visited. In May 2008 I looked round occupational therapy, the (stripped) laundry and old farm buildings before being busted.
August saw a return with 2 fellow explorers. We had a look round the now striped Occupational Therapy and as we gradualy got bolder right round the front of the building. It was just as we found an open window that security appeared. We managed to close the window before being caught and we were escorted of the site. The comedy moment was when security exclaimed that our female companion should not be crawling under fences as she was a lady!
Externals from that day...
The old Water Tower
A further visit in August saw me climb the new water tower and get an aerial photo, but after that I left Fairmile alone.
Role on the new year and a few more reports started coming out of Fairmile. I decided to go back for another look - this once dormant itch was in need of another scratch!
A very foggy and frosty pre-dawn found me making my way through the undergrowth once more. After a couple of attempts I was in and nervously edging myself somewhere to wait for dawn.
Orignal Howell seclusion cells
As it brightened up, I started to make my round the male side of the hospital. It appears that the much talked about internal high tech security had been removed which coupled with condensation on the windows made for easy progress through the hospital.
The layout of Fairmile is not typical asylum. I have heard it called it corridor, but it doesn't follow the traditional lines. Yes, you do have male and female sides but the wards are connected to each other and rather than being off a central corridor have connecting ones.
I worked my way down the male side of the hospital - I had read the specification of Hine's extension in the Berkshire Archive and was interested to actually see it. The wooden paneling and doors are a somewhat costly upgrade from the orignal Howell design.
I made my way upstairs to work my way back... then :
Bugger - dead batteries. No problem I thought - I've got a set of charged ones. I put these in and pmf. Dead. Bugger.
However, this did allow me to continue the explore without worrying about taking photos and enjoy looking round more.
Fast forward 2 days and I meet up with a mate to go back. Same access - in and wait for dawn.
One thing I start to notice is that throughout it's various extensions, they kept to the same design of external dors and some internal doorways.
Rear entrance from the Hine extension
The orignal Howell main entrance
We made our way round to Admin where I catch a flash of orange High Viz from a window. Okay so security are definatley on site and patrolling.
Up on the third floor of Admin I found my obligatory chair shot - this is in a small room behind the lift motor room.
And on the ground floor the only remaining washing machines on site.
Onto the pharmacy...
And Porters room.
It's not often that you find a complete fireplace!
No trip to an asylum is complete with visiting the Hall.
We looked round the female side of the hospital...
Fairmile is somewhat modern and very cleared out... but given that there are reports of a new fence going up around it I'm glad I've had a look round.
Parting corridor shot.
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