Report - Rauceby Lunatic Asylum, Sleaford, Lincs, February 2018

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28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jan 15, 2013
1. The History
The hospital was designed by GT Hine and construction started in 1897 and was concluded five years when the institution opened in 1902. Kesteven County Council oversaw the hospital and it was renamed the Kesteven Mental Hospital in 1924 and then again in 1933 as the Rauceby Mental Hospital. During WW2 the site was requisitioned by the RAF and renamed the No.4 RAF Hospital Rauceby. It was responsible for treating crash and burns patients under the direction of RAF Cranwell. The wartime Burns Unit itself was located in Orchard House. It was built alongside the main hospital on the site of the hospital's orchard. This was one of the last parts of the site to remain in NHS following the closure of the Mental Health Hospital in 1998.

Plan of the site:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

David Wilson Homes began redeveloping the site in 2004. The iconic water tower was controversially demolished in early 2006 David Wilson Homes cited subsidence caused by the long hot summer of 1976. Subsequently the site and the immediate vicinity have been officially renamed as Greylees. In 2012 the site was used as a set for the controversial horror movie "The Lucifer Effect". The unscripted flick featured eight people who volunteered to be locked inside the reportedly haunted Lunatic Asylum for three days. It got a little too real when two of the cast were hospitalised and the police became involved.

The buildings that are now left in an oval-shaped compound are a fraction of the former hospital's enormous site, which has been subject to a redevelopment into a maze-like top-end housing estate. That said, a number of the institution's iconic buildings remain. The elegant admin block (see below, pictured circa 1905), the chapel (undergoing refurbishment, although this appears to have stopped), the red-brick ward buildings and the conservatory.

by HughieDW, on Flickr

Barratt Homes submitted an application for 106 homes at the site in May 2016. Plans involved the demolition of Blocks A-F and conversion of Blocks G, L and M to dwellings. The conservatory would be retained while 100 new homes, a 2,500 square foot commercial building and a 2,500 square foot community building would be build on the freed-up space. At a public meeting in March 2017 the councillors on the planning committee rejected the plans because they involved demolishing too much of the historic structure. Barratt Homes then asked Sleaford Town Council if it would be willing to buy the building off them for £917,674 at a meeting on March 29. Barratt Homes appealed but government planning inspector, David Rose, dismissed the appeal, stating that Barratt “needed to do more to explore all potential options for the retention, conversion and use of those buildings”. As a consequence, the 9.1-acre site was put on the market with estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton with a guide price of £1m. However, it now quoted as being “No longer on the market”.

2. The Explore
Having been here early twice - once on a very misty Sunday morning two years ago and then a damp, wet Saturday last year, the weather was much better on this visit. Hopefully it was going to be third time lucky. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. The big hole in the perimeter fence had been mended, there were motion sensors at strategic points plus there was a car in the compound and a security hut with the light on. Hence for a third time I had to content myself with shots from the periphery.

3. The Pictures
The star of the show, the former admin block:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

Fantastic stonework and facade:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a clock tower still in need of a little bit of care:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the remaining ward buildings:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

Rear views of the admin block:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and it’s not raining!

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

The legendary conservatory which has been cleared-up of foliage:

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

by HughieDW, on Flickr

Beefed up secca!

by HughieDW, on Flickr

Goodbye Rauceby for another time…

by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and the secca man in his box:

by HughieDW, on Flickr
Likes: tarkovsky


Trip Hopping
Regular User
Crazy how nothing has changed except for the addition of a few breeze blocks since 2012!
and Security ffs, of all the places!

Barratts are being devious little shits.. they've had 12-15 years to develop this site and now trying the St Mary's trick of bulldozing the lot. You don't breezeblock the windows up like they have if you have plans to redevelop.. they are just going to leave it to rot for another 3-4 years and try again.

Idle Hands

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Apr 6, 2012
I always fancied a wander round this one but never seem to be in Lincolnshire. Hopefully it won't end up like the villas at Whittingham - saved in principle, only to rot away and get demolished anyway...

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