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Report - - West Park Hospital, Epsom August - October 2009 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - West Park Hospital, Epsom August - October 2009


mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
Where to begin with West Park, what to say that hasn't already been said a hundred times before? It was undisputably one of the all-time great abandoned asylums from the great 'age of asylums' of the late 2000s, with pretty much everything you could ever want from a facility of it's type unless you were looking for a main hall which was tragically lost to fire only a few months after closure.

West Park was the location where I really cut my teeth in the urban exploration world. It wasn't my first explore as I'd done a long weekend in June of 2009 around various places in the South but my proper introduction into exploring coincided with the fabled West Park 'open season' when for some reason security, which had until then been overseen by the infamous 'MC Hammer' character, was scaled back to an almost non-existent level. This allowed the previously largely well-secured hospital to become literally wide open within a matter of a couple of weeks and whilst there were some efforts to seal things back up from the outside, it never lasted long. This lasted a few months until around November 2009 when ol' Mr. MC Hammer was back on the case and he, I believe, remained a factor until redevelopment started in November 2010. During the brief few months of free-for-all madness I made the trek from Oxford to Epsom six times with various people - random explorers from the old days I'd got talking to on here, friends of mine, even my dad came along with us for one visit and I think he really enjoyed it! Over those half dozen visits I covered pretty much every area of the main hospital that was accessible at the time apart from some of the separate outlying villas and smaller buildings because at that time the huge sprawling mass of the main hospital was a far bigger draw. A lot of explorers tended to only focus on the western side of the hospital as, to be honest, that's where a lot of the more well-known things were situated - the staff creche, the padded cell, the dental surgery, they were all on that side of the hospital. The eastern side was much closer to the, at the time, still active laboratory buildings and security however it too had some really cool stuff to see although not as immediately memorable as the western side.

I have West Park to thank for so many amazing memories from my early times of exploring, I'd give anything to be able to have one last walk around it's mass of buildings and wards as there will never be another Asylum like West Park - it was the last of the true old time capsule asylums thanks to the paranoia within the NHS now about leaving anything at all in their buildings - case in point Whitchurch nowadays. Whitchurch when it was full of stuff was arguably the best Asylum to come on the scene since West Park and had it been allowed to decay with everything inside, it could have been something even more special than it is now.

For the slow people at the back of the class who may have been living under a rock for the past decade, West Park was opened in 1921 although it had been largely complete since 1917, the outbreak of the First World War delayed the opening until that year. It was the last of the famous 'Epsom Cluster' of institutions to open, the others being Long Grove, Horton, Manor and St. Ebba's and the last of the great mental hospitals built in the London area. During the 1980s and 1990s the Care in the Community initiatives and changing attitudes towards mental health treatment meant the large scale closure of asylums across the country began. West Park was gradually run down from the mid-1990s until it officially closed in 2003, although various buildings towards the north end of the site are still in use as operational hospital buildings to this day. In November 2010 work began to redevelop the derelict parts of the site and has long since been completed - the developers actually have done a very, very nice job of the conversion compared with other butchered developments I've seen. They kept all the radiating ward blocks as well as admin and the water tower when they could have easily applied to flatten the lot and the admin building in particular is a stunning looking building now.

One of the curious things about West Park when compared with other similar hospitals was it's chapel. The original chapel building which sat next to the original mortuary was demolished in the 1980s and a 'new' chapel was opened at the rear end of the site in a repurposed part of one of the buildings - I've only ever seen a handful of photos from it as it was almost always locked tight but it wasn't anything to write home about at all. After the chapel was demolished, the mortuary slab was also removed and half of what was originally the mortuary was turned over to storage, with the rest becoming nothing more than a pathology lab. The only thing that showed where the slab used to be was the original gutter in the floor of a room filled with shelving.

I remember back in the day during the 'open season' everyone was getting fed up of the constant stream of photos and reports coming from West Park but looking back at it now, we really didn't know just how lucky we were to have somewhere like this. I found out that I only have one proper report on here from only one of my West Park visits, and that only had like ten photos in it so I felt that I needed to put together a thread of my own encompassing all of my visits. Back then I only had a 4mp Fujifilm point 'n' shoot camera, but even though these photos aren't up to todays standards I look back on them very fondly indeed.

Enough of my personal ramblings and waffle, here are some photos in no particular order.




























































 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Wow. Loads and loads of decay there. That cleaners shot is really iconic...
 

zombizza

Pink
Regular User
nice one. Maybe I should post some of mine.
I was just looking through mine and comparing to some historical photos. I love spotting the now(then) decayed stuff in old photos eg-
848604



848605

PS Note the lovely WestPark Motif on the patients blanket - would love one of those for my bed
 

mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
nice one. Maybe I should post some of mine.
I was just looking through mine and comparing to some historical photos. I love spotting the now(then) decayed stuff in old photos eg-
View attachment 848604


View attachment 848605
PS Note the lovely WestPark Motif on the patients blanket - would love one of those for my bed
I have a photo of that exact same medication cabinet as well!

You should dig out some old stuff of yours its not like there's much else fun to do at the moment.
 

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