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St Luke's Chapel- Runwell Asylum, Essex- August 2019 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

St Luke's Chapel- Runwell Asylum, Essex- August 2019


FavouriteWorstNightmare

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The asylum is now part demolished and renovated. There is a photo included of the renovated building, apologies for the bad quality and lighting. The same fate is to happen to the chapel so I'm glad I got to see it pre renovation and get a sense of the history.

History:
"The foundation stone was laid by Laurence Brockin June 1934 and the hospital was officially opened by Sir Kingsley Wood, Minister of Health, as Runwell Mental Hospital in June 1937. The chapel, dedicated to St. Luke, was placed in a prominent position.
The hospital was bombed by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War; there was extensive damage including a number of large craters but no injuries to staff.
The hospital joined the National Health Service in 1948 and Professor John Corsellis led to the development of a "brain bank", using samples taken from patients not just from the hospital but from elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[1] It became Runwell Hospital in 1955. Following the introduction of Care in the Community in the early 1980s, the hospital went into a period of decline and eventually closed in August 2010.[1]
Proposals to develop the site initially included provision for a large prison but this proposal was withdrawn following strong local opposition. The site has since been developed for residential use by Countryside Properties and the area is now known as St Luke's Park.



The St Luke’s Chapel at Runwell is very unusual among asylum chapel designs, and similar only to Elcock’s earlier work at Bethlem Royal. As at Bethlem, it was not tucked away but occupied a prominent position, with its modernist mix of old and new design traits seeing a barrel-shaped interior, with more typical rectangular tower. Seating for 320 persons with a “beautifully furnished Sanctuary and Baldachino Chancel” and a “Lady Chapel of quiet and dignified beauty”, “The whole building is light and airy and engenders an atmosphere of rest and tranquillity.” It features a series of oxydised lamps along each wall, to a pattern supposedly based on a Roman design (actually looking more like something from Arabian Nights). Chapel service was broadcast to all patients on the wards, but discontinued in the early 1950’s when the wireless system was removed."

https://www.countyasylums.co.uk/runwell-chelmsford/

Explore:
This is a local spot I've been meaning to have a look at for a while. We hit this spot heading home from from a couple explores in Surrey. We drove past on our way home and decided to have a look. It was pretty dark on our time or arrival but of course we had our torches with us.
At the moment the site is a building site but access was pretty easy, through a fence, a little walk and then through the front door. The chapel is pretty cleared out with only the organ, piano, some old chairs and some religious paintings remaining. Despite this, you can definitely still get a good feel for the place and imagine how it used to be. This was a very quick explore but I feel was definitely worth a look.

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