28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi everyone! Welcome to my first report on here.
Like most Victorian asylums, Whitchurch was built to be an entirely self-contained institute with its own water tower and generators. Built in 1908, this £350,000 Cardiff asylum spans an impressive 5 acres of land and took 10 years to build. Its 10 wards were split into 5 male and 5 female wards and could house up to 750 psychiatric patients.
Although it hasn't always been known as Whitchurch. During the First World War, Whitchurch was forfeited as a psychiatric hospital to become the lesser-known Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital where it was one of the largest orthopaedic treatment centres for injured soldiers.
However, this was short-lived and the hospital was returned to its original purpose up until mid-1980 when focus shifted onto care within the community. This drastically reduced the number of patients needing inpatient care and so services were moved to the community or to purpose-built facilities. In the early 2000s the hospital was considered unsuitable for 21st-century psychiatry and so the hospital began to close wards one by one, until finally shutting its doors forever in April 2016.
My first visit to the hospital was back in November 2018, however, it was being stripped of equipment so it was heavily monitored by security and the council. The shell that it has now become is completely derelict. So I tried again in January 2019 to find only the smallest glimpse of what was.
Whitchurch is an odd one for me. It had been a refuge to my great grandmother who had dementia and required long-term care. So low and behold, I had visited the hospital when I was just a child. Some of it looked familiar – like the main entrance desk and the snack shop. Knowing this made the explore somewhat more eerie.
I spent 2 hours exploring the day wards with my partner Mid-January. It was a wet and windy day which made it feel as though the building was talking to us. Rain droplets hitting the floor sounded like footsteps and the wind blowing through the smashed windows made our hearts stop on multiple occasions because it sounded like a group of people were on our tail. We managed to find the water tower pretty quickly but we didn’t dare climb the rickety staircase in that weather.
We returned a couple of days later because we had run out of daylight the previous time. This time, we managed to explore most of the hospital – water tower included. While the hospital felt cold and lifeless only a couple of days before, it was now beaming with explorers trying to capture its beauty. It became obvious to us which wards had been closed first. These were the most consumed by nature which made for a beautiful sight. Ivy had found its way through the window pains and was now scaling the walls. The wallpaper was peeling away, making it look like a scene from Silent Hill. Out of all the explores I have done, Whitchurch is amongst one of the most beautiful. With corridors as long as the eye can see and creaky floorboards and eerie hospital wards. It is a shame that the beds had been taken out as it would have been educational to see how patients would have occupied this space in its heyday. We even managed to find the hospital’s archive; now completely empty. The tunnels underneath the hospital would’ve been used to transport bodies to the morgue during the War but they were now the main electricity supply to the hospital. There was just so much to take in on this explore that I know there is a whole world of things still to be explored.
The staircase to the water tower was dangerous to say the least. Some of the floorboards have rotted away or fallen through completely. It is probably the last chance for many of us to see the magnificence of the hospital from above. And what a sight it was!
While most of the equipment and machinery had been removed, there were still some reminders. The gigantic blue baths used to bathe the physically frail, still remained in their little rooms with matching blue wallpaper. Patients records were scattered chaotically throughout the hospital and old anti-smoking advertisements still remained on the walls, only partially water damaged. The switch room and engineer stores were still jammed packed with equipment and tools, even an old forklift truck. Although absolutely littered with pigeon droppings, I suppose it would make for an undisturbed resting place for these birds.
The patient records archive was another magnificent sight. It was something I was not expecting to see - it looked like something out of a crime scene drama. However, it had been ransacked and only a few patient records remained along with some electricals. From there we found the tunnels which would run the length of the hospital and back. These tunnels are where electric was thread through the hospital but would have been used for transporting bodies during the First World War. I’d recommend leaving a trail behind you if you wanted to explore them!
On the way out, we realised we had completely missed the admin block, the pathology lab and the old gymnasium and the ever more decaying west ward. We had been walking around for a total of 6 hours and still managed to miss a huge chunk of the hospital. However, we did realise that we missed the physiotherapy department and sports ward on the way out and managed to do a quick take of that before we left. Again, everything had been stripped out so we had to use our imagination here. Despite this, the old wood-fired kiln remained!
Anyway, I will let the pictures do the talking now. I hope you enjoy.
Communal Room in Dayward.
Blue hydrotherapy bath.
Resuscitation chart in bathroom.
Main corridor connecting the rear of the hospital to the main entrance.
Waterlogged corridor near the snack and trak shop.
More corridor porn.
The water tower.
Visiting room with mouldy and waterlogged carpet.
Nature slowly creeping its way in.
Silent Hill-esq staircase.
Main Hall and theatre.
Patient record archive.
Engine room - safe haven for pigeons.
post-victorian water pump in aspestos contaminated area.
Tunnells supplying electricity to the hospital.
Hallway into ward.
More photos in the comments.