Report - Lluesty Hospital, Holywell - October 2015

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Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014

“Lluesty served the people of Holywell very well over the years, but we’ve got a brand new hospital now” (Mrs Saunders, former ward sister).

Lluesty Hospital, located approximately 1km from the town centre, was constructed between 1838 and 1840, by Thomas Hughes of Liverpool. It was designed by John Welch, the architect of St. Asaph and Surveyor to the Guardians, and was originally built as a workhouse for the Union of 14 parishes. The Poor Law Commission sanctioned the expenditure of approximately £6,200 to have the buildings erected, with the intention that it would house over 400 inmates. Originating from the Poor Law Act of 1388, workhouses in England and Wales offered those who were unable to support themselves accommodation and employment. The layout of Lluesty conformed to a standard workhouse grid plan; a cruciform or ‘square’ layout with separate accommodation wings and courtyards for both men and women. To the rear of the site, a central three-story range connected to the central supervisory hub which had several observation windows that gave a clear view over each of the inmates’ yards. A number of other buildings were constructed on the site from the 1860s through to 1902, including a chapel.

Traditionally, any life inside a workhouse was harsh, and inmates would be employed on non-skilled tasks, such as breaking stones, crushing bones for fertilizer or picking oakum using a large metal nail. However, by 1930 these buildings were abolished by law, and the old workhouses became refuges for the elderly and sick. A year earlier, in 1929, legislation was passed which allowed local authorities to take over these sites, to convert them into municipal hospitals; so, after 1930, many of the former workhouses, including Lluesty, began to serve the public in a much different way.

By 1948, Lluesty, and a number of other Public Assistance Institutions became part of the National Health Service. Subsequently, Lluesty became known as Lluesty General Hospital. Unfortunately, disaster struck in the 1960s when a fire swept through an entire ward, killing twenty one immobile patients. Although the hospital recovered from this tragedy, it eventually closed in 2008 when the nearby Holywell Community Hospital opened. After its closure it was rumoured that the entire site would be redeveloped into eight three bedroom town houses, twenty six apartments and twelve three bedroom terrace houses, but such plans never went ahead. Lluesty Hospital was later sold at an auction in London for approximately £275,000, and subsequent proposals estimated that seventy houses could be constructed on the 7.4 acre site. Once again, however, no redevelopment was ever initiated. The last assessment of the site was conducted sometime in 2013, by the Archaeological Building Recording Services, to decide whether any historic research would be carried out. While there were some significant findings, concerns were raised over the rapidly deteriorating state of Lluesty’s buildings owing to years of neglect and vandalism.

Our Version of Events

Lluesty was the last explore of our trip. We had intended to have a crack at it the previous day, but since we’d manged to burn through most of our daylight hours in Cornist Hall, we decided to leave the hospital until morning. After a half-decent night’s sleep overlooking the River Dee, and a quick shit stop at the local coffee spot, we headed there straight away. By now an extreme case of CBA-ness was setting in amongst the group, so we had to act quickly before all motivation disappeared entirely. Access onto the grounds was disappointingly easy, and that instantly lowered the general mood even further, so a couple of us decided to convince the others that the only way inside the main building to the left was via an old lift shaft. Everyone queued quite orderly, in a traditionally British fashion, waiting their turn to enter the lift and climb through a small hatch on the roof. One by one we all scrambled up, enjoying our new imaginative entry-point that looked a lot less like an open door.

Ten minutes or so later, with everyone feeling a little more awake and satisfied about the explore, and life in general, we set off to wander around Lluesty Hospital. For the most part, the buildings are entirely stripped, and there’s not an awful lot to see, but there was still something about it – perhaps its extensive history – that kept our interest. Some of the more notable parts of the site perhaps include the old chapel, the original workhouse buildings, the vegetable preparation area and the ‘no admittance room’ that looked a bit like food storage area crossed with a morgue.

We spend a couple of hours having a good look around the site, until we ran out of interesting things to look at. After that we decided to call it a day and get back to the safety of northern England. After a few awesome days it was time to go home, especially since most of us had work the next day and we were still in Wales. The final leg of the journey was arduous and dull, and filled with failed explores and missed opportunities, but that’s the nature of this sort of thing I guess: you win some, you lose some.

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, The Hurricane, Box and Husky.

1: Lluesty Hospital


2: The Lift Hatch


3: The Corridor of Doors


4: The General State of the Building


5: Old Lamps


6: Former Ward with Curtain Rails in Situ


7: The Fire Exit


8: Intact Toilets for a Change


9: Peely Staircase


10: Urine Sample Case


11: Ambulances Only


12: Corridor in one of the Newer Sections


13: The 'No Admittance Room'


14: Storage Space


15: Body Count


16: Service Lift


17: Getting Lost


18: The Vegetable Preparation Area


19: Food Storage Space


20: Outside - Trying to Find the Old Workhouse Buildings


21: The Workhouse Buildings


22: Staff or Doctors Room


23: One of the Old Courtyards


24: The Main Reception Area


25: Inside the Chapel


26: The Front of the Main Building


27: Another Original Courtyard


28: The Boiler House


29: Boiler Room


30: Valve Closed



28DL Regular User
Regular User
Mar 18, 2015
By far the best report I've seen of this place! Visited this place about 10 months ago and stumbled upon a group of guys cutting metal away from that boiler room :(


Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014
nice report great piks did you find the mosaic floors at the top of the grand staircase??
Thanks man. Yeah we did, I took no photos for some reasons though... Not sure why. I think I got distracted by something else and forgot to go back for a shot.