Report - - St Crispin's Asylum, Northampton - February 2014 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St Crispin's Asylum, Northampton - February 2014


A life backwards
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The design reflected the architect, Robert Griffiths’ previous work at the Macclesfield Asylum, Cheshire by placing the blocks for acute and generalised cases forward of the building line where they would receive the most light and air, linked behind these were the infirmary wards and flanking the main ward blocks were the blocks for chronic and difficult patients, being positioned here to provide access to their place of work. By 1884, and completed in 1887 were further extensions, creating a new block for idiot and imbecile children adjacent to the female wing and blocks for epileptics on either side of the main block. A resevoir and fire station, stable yard and an isolation hospital with a distinctive pyramidal roofline were constructed to the north of the site. A stone chapel and mortuary were also constructed to the east.

During World War One, the hospital was commandeered by the military for use, and because of this, a large number of photographs are available. With the end of the war the buildings were returned and the return of the patient population. A change of name from asylum to mental hospital was to mark another period of growth and extension in the 1930′s. These were the construction of a new nurse’s home, refurbishment of some of the staff residences, a new admission hospital with two villas for male and female convalescent patients, sited on an adjacent site, away from the main complex.

Following World War Two, the hospital transferred to the newly formed NHS and the hospital then reached its maximum population. This also saw further extension to the site, with two more female working patient villas being constructed in 1954. The grounds to the south of the hospital farm was developed for mental handicap services during the early 1970′s and was to be one of the last major long stay facilities of it’s kind in England. Named the Princess Marina hospital, it provided a home for a number of Northampton patients. Some facilities, particularly the laundry, were centralised and expanded at St. Crispin. A social club for staff was sited close to a remodelled entrance onto Berrywood Road. St. Crispin Hospital briefly entered the news when a fire killed a six patients who were resident on Shuster Ward, within the main building.

The hospital finally closed in 1995 and the buildings are currently standing derelict with only one of the wards having been converted. A housing estate has been built on the lands that were cleared around the main building and a new mental health facility is being built on part of the site. As with many of these buildings, the developer has built a large number of new homes around the main site but work has come to a halt on the listed buildings.

The explore

I had crossed St Crispin's off my wish list as i had assumed it had long been redeveloped into fashionable living for middle managers and idiots. With only one main block and a few outbuildings converted, there has been no sign of life here for some time - a lonely 'For Sale' board nervously pokes over the hoarding outside admin in the hope of better times. The remaining central core of buildings lye in a sorry state with building work that had begun now open to the mercy of mother nature.

The site reminded me of Rauceby's similar stagnation. But, St Crispin's is so much better, what it lacks inside, it makes up for in the wonderful yet sinister Victorian architecture matched by a clock tower amongst the best of them.

Explored in the excellent company of The Lone Shadow.

On with the phots







Lonely (plastic was the best we could do!) chair shot.



Window from the main hall, detail is stunning.




Projection room.







Any enquires or comments gratefully received... :)