Report - Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - June/November 2014

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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.


Visited a couple of times over the course of a few months with dweeb, Cat and Speed. Some history:

The first buildings on the site of Selly Oak Hospital were the King's Norton Union Workhouse - built as a place of care for the poor. However in 1862, after a change in the law and emphasis, it became a place that accommodated 200 pauper inmates who were forced to work within the confines of the workhouse. After further acts of Parliament in later years, it was decided to create separate places for the sick. These were often built adjacent to the workhouses and were the forerunners of today's hospitals.

In 1897 a separate infirmary was built, though it was massively over budget with costs escalated from £18,000 to £52,000. It housed 250 patients. There was also maternity provision, though no operating theatre or mortuary. It was also the year nurses began training at Selly Oak. Demand continued and the workhouse and infirmary were expanded further in the early 1900s.

In 1911, King's Norton became part of the City of Birmingham and the King's Norton Workhouse Infirmary was renamed Selly Oak Hospital. Facilities continued to improve and grow as attitudes to the poor changed. In 1930 Selly Oak Hospital and the Workhouse (which was renamed Selly Oak House) came under the administration of Birmingham City Council. Selly Oak House was then used to care for the elderly chronic sick. Operating theatres were added to Selly Oak Hospital in 1931, the biochemistry and pathology laboratories opened in 1934, and the School of Nursing opened in 1941.

In 1948, when the National Health Service was introduced, Selly Oak Hospital and Selly Oak House were amalgamated. In 1997 University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust was formed and Selly Oak Hospital joined with the Queen Elizabeth. In 2002 the Centre for Defence Medicine was given approval and the hospital was used as the main treatment centre for military casualties from Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2010, upon the completion of the new QE Hospital, Selly Oak Hospital was largely closed with the exception of a few services occupying outbuildings on site.
Selly Oak Hospital stands less than a mile from my house, and is actually the place that got me back into exploration after a long hiatus. It took me two years to even realise it existed, and when I did finally stumble across it I was surprised no one had been inside. I decided to message a couple of the local explorers about it to see if anyone was interested, notably Permission-UK, who promptly wrote to the NHS to arrange a visit and didn't invite me.

The hospital looks reasonably big from the road, but you don't realise quite how massive it is until you're inside. It used to be even bigger until a demolition crew moved in a few months ago, tore down a couple of shit 1970s extensions (inexplicably leaving a few others) and then cleared off again, not really sure what's going on there. Fortunately all of the original Victorian buildings remain untouched, and I imagine that these would have been the only interesting bits anyway.

A few years ago this would have been a fairly standard explore, but sadly times have changed and compared to the hospitals of late it's actually pretty good. However the mortuary is something special, and I've no doubt that someone will have worn a gas mask in one of the body fridges and made themselves look like a bellend by the end of the week. Some pictures:



The grandest building on site, with a number of original features to boot. Fortunately this will be retained when the site is eventually redeveloped.


Beautiful staircase and mosaic floor:



Unfortunately the wards themselves are fairly vanilla.


A few items of interest remain, however:




Original toilets:






Basements and Service Tunnels

The tunnels follow the footprint of the corridor network. Coming off the tunnels were various basement rooms, obviously used as dumping grounds when the hospital was open:



Beautiful cast iron baluster with Greek capital, perhaps originally the bottom of the admin staircase?


Catering stores (all sorts of crazy woks and vile 70s tat to be found):


Dweeb got ever so excited pointing out which of the derelict hospitals on the trophy he had visited :rolleyes:




This was in a separate 1930s building and housed what is perhaps the best derelict mortuary I've ever seen. I wonder how long it will be before some 'tasteful nudes' taken on one of the slabs surface on Instagram?


Body hoist:


Body fridges (I think perhaps original to the building?) still with names on the doors:


Chapel of rest (note the body trolley disguised as an altar!)


Pathology labs:


Lovely Gent clocks built into the wall in each lab:




Thanks for looking!
Last edited:
Likes: urbex_2014


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jul 10, 2014
Re: Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - June - November 2014

Well then, looks like I'm off to Birmingham :S. That Pathology looks fricking ace, cheers for sharing!


The Spice Must Flow.
Regular User
Aug 26, 2014
Re: Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - June - November 2014

Ace report, and what a beautiful place it still is. :thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Aug 4, 2014
Re: Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham - June - November 2014

Excellent as usual,nice one,am very jealous!