Sorry for the lack of an update in the last month. I've got so much new stuff, and I've got so many new ideas, that I'm
managed to create an update so huge that it would take me months to get it all sorted out and on the site. So, it's time to
cut back, take stock, and do it in increments.
Plus, I've been working on a sister site to this one, but I keep changing my mind about its format, so nothing tangible yet.
Anyway here's what I've gone so far...
I've extended the Aquila tour further, taking in the MT section (Motor Transport), the Car Park (which was full of boats), X-Ray and yet more acoustic chambers.
And I've put a map online, which shows the sheer scale of the place.
So when's an ECT machine not an ECT machine? It was assumed that the two machines found within Cane Hill were ECT machines, especially since they were in the Browning/Blake ward, one of the areas associated with that treatment. However, they may had a totally different function.
I've just purchased a new camera, and I've taken some test shots. Where better than the UK's most famous ruin? West Pier, Brighton.
And here's some silliness after Hellingly, the aptly titled Horsing Around In HorseBridge.
I have three brand new explorations to get up on the site - one of which is a return to a location that a great many people have asked me to get back to. Rest assured, this was a full infiltration and I've got some superb shots (and some crappy ones).
To whet, your appetite, here's an idea of what's coming.
More updates to the asylum list:
Two asylum architects have stood out whilst compiling the asylum list and actually exploring the buildings. Therefore I've put up a brief biography and, erm, 'asylumography' for both CH Howell and GT Hine in a new section called asylum architects.
Additions to the Aquila tour: 1.
Remember the mortician at High Royds taking glamour pictures on the slab? (See the news section for the 24th July).
"I was one of those student nurses that had pictures taken in there. The pictures weren't on the main slab, there was a room off with a smaller slab in it where "Deadly Headly" as we used to call him used for his photo studio! He also kept his sandwiches and milk in one of those fridges along with the bodies! yeuk!!!" - Anne
And now, back to the old-skool for this site: I finally went somewhere new and explored it!
Although this asylum isn't new to the Internet, Hellingly is always worth a look, being one
of the most busted up asylums in the UK, and therefore the most accessible.
But there's a twist in the tale of this one.
Given the horrific destruction of Hellingly, it made sense to balance it with the calm scenes at Rauceby. The interior pictures of the Admin Block and Stores are now published - both areas being utterly destroyed at Hellingly.
And now the moment you've been waiting for. The ten minute Rauceby segement from Restoration Nation
is now online. It's been encoded as a 6MB Windows WMV file. (Many thanks to Phil MacBean and Jon Platt
for encoding and recording respectively).
This website is featured in the September issue of Digital Camera Magazine. Whilst compiling a piece on the
top ten derelict buildings, writer George Cairns was pointed in the direction of this site. This lead to a
phone interview about urban exploration and a two page write up.
Two familiar pictures were also published in the magazine: the endless corridors of Severalls and the ivy-clad interiors of The Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital. For more information, check out the media section.
(On the subject of media, it looks like the piece on Rauceby for Restoration Nation will be on-line soon).
The asylum list has now revised:
However, the list still gets bigger as more asylums are located. Here's some additions:
From The Laura Files, 36 sheets of second, first, ground and basement plans of Cane Hill have now been uploaded. Whilst incomplete, these are the most extensive plans of the hospital put on-line; not only do we now have all the floors, but the modern boiler house and John Hutchingson Centre have also been included.
This also allows me to identify individual rooms within Cane Hill by fire zone and room number. So, the main chapel is 2:G19 for example.
The plans can be found here.
(Corridor numbers refer to the main hospital plans which are yet to be published... and they're even better!).
Presenting four sets of pictures, four different photographers, two different asylums. Let's go:
A new bypass is being built which cuts through the grounds at the base of the hill near Cane Hill. Whilst the hospital isn't at risk, and the road misses the bunker, it seems that some activity has been occurring there, and the only access to the tunnels has now been concreted over. So - there's no longer any way in.
A further 76 exterior shots of the asylum has been added to the projects section. This
means that my entire shoot of the 18th January is now on-line and the majority of the external features of the asylum have been
documented. I shall add the Engineering Courtyard in due course.
Many thanks to all the people who e-mailed in, or posted on message boards, favourable comments about Restoration Nation.
I haven't seen it yet (no BBC 4!) but I have a copy, and I'll be looking into ways to get it online.
I've pushed on with Aquila and more pictures are now online.
More of the Rauceby Virtual Asylum has appeared on-line. The northern aspect of the building has been uploaded along with a suggestion of the location of the mortuary. I do have some plans which I'll annotate with the position of the camera - those will appear when I get them scanned (they're A0 and A1 and I'm not going to knit them together from piecemeal scans).
From a historical aspect, I've also received a report of the near completion of the asylum which was originally published in the Sleaford Gazette in 1901. It makes very interesting reading, giving many of the original uses of part of the ayslum (including provision of wells and bore holes and a billiard room in the Admin Block).
The first 30 pictures of our exploration of Aquila have now been uploaded. There's lots more to come.
More info about RAF Wyton, which explains why the site was called The Photographic Factory and why The Tin Mine didn't make much sense. However, bunkers at RAF Brampton sound very interesting, but the site is still in use, so any explorations have been firmly ruled out!
Two little mini-explorations have been added to the Cane Hill project.
Marlon and Laurence have been grubbing around in the floor space under
Vincent whilst Laura has been
photographing the lost grave of James Moody.
As soon as I post, the BBC make up their minds. I'll be on Restoration Nation on
Tuesday 3rd August, BBC4, at 10:00PM. Rauceby becomes a star.
One asylum which has been woefully neglected by the urban exploration community is High Royds. The proposed developement has stalled (what a surprise), so the site is being used as a film-set - much like Warley. (In fact, episodes of Nurses have been filmed there.)
I posted a map of the asylum a while back for a group of explorers who then sent me pictures of them lying on the slab in the mortuary. Nice. But nothing else. However, would they have done so if they knew some of the grim stories about the place?
Finally some positive news about Restorations, the programme which will feature both Rauceby
and myself. I originally thought it was only going to be a regional broadcast, but it looks like each region has compiled a
programme for national broadcast - which is good news. The bad news is that it'll be on BBC4 only, but I
believe edited versions may be shown on BBC2 at some points.
All the information about the show is here.
The broadcast date of the Midlands And East programme is still to be decided (scroll to the bottom). Looks like it'll be in August:
"And we look at the buildings from the hidden and sometimes unpleasant history of the treatment of mental illness. The people who once worked there feel strongly that the site's history should not be forgotten."
As the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital succumbs to yet more vandalism, with the columns of the portico being smashed out, and other arson attack in the nurses' home, it's good to see The Shrine bounce back and start to regenerate. They've also got a brand new forum, so register and join in. It's all very groovy.
I have yet to return to Warley having basically just recced it. But I've been sent all sorts of bits and pieces to do with the asylum, that it was definitely worth opening its own project section. Maps, plans, aerial shots and a menu can now be found there.
It's been a brief update since I've been on holiday. I also have a backlog of urban exploration mail to reply to - so if I haven't replied, then I will within the next week or so.
Lots more to come, including the creepy tale of the glamour photography in High Royds mortuary, updates to the asylum list, some underfloor pictures at Cane Hill and Laura's been out to get some pictures of James Moody's grave.
And I haven't forgotten Aqulia or Rauceby.
Plus I'll be going out and taking pictures of new locations soon!
My last tour of Rauceby has now been uploaded. I'm now clear to start serious work on the
Rauceby Virtual Asylum some of which has started with ward names and a rather good
180o view of the asylum being added to Views From The Watertower. (Many thanks to
Waub for stitching the original pictures together.)
And for trivia fans, I've also added a facts and notes section.
Many people have asked when Rauceby will be featured on Restorations. Well, I don't know the actual date, but check your TV listings - Restorations will be shown on BBC 4 in July. I believe it's regional and will be only broadcast in the Midlands and Anglia regions.
Thanks to everyone who e-mailed in with an
explaination of icu: it's 'intensive care unit'. Of course, that opens up a new can-of-worms: Cane Hill
was not a general hospital, and Terry Burns had to be treated at Mayday Hospital in
Croydon when he threw himself out of a window. Then again, Cane Hill had X-ray facilities. Mysteries, mysteries!
Well, not strictly Cane Hill Station, but more correctly Coulsdon And Cane Hill Station. Most explorers travelling by rail would be amused to know that the discrete Coulsdon South was once proudly associated with the hospital on the hill. And if you want proof...
Rumours And Dark Mysteries also updated. Unfortunately it's both good and bad news. The bad? The Asylum (2000) was not shot at Cane Hill. The good? It was shot at Netherne, a derelict asylum that *just* escaped being urbexed.
Then governmental shuffling of lots of old redundant asylums and hospitals now causes comment in Preston. So, what will be the future of Whittingham Asylum?
whittinghamhospital.co.uk has now been updated and redesigned - and much, much better it is too. Lots of pictures of the lost St. John's Division and some glimpses of the interiors of St. Luke's Division whilst the hospital was still in use.
And I've updated the links section. More to see, more to do.
Another account of infiltrating West Park can be found here.
Don't bother considering urbexing Warley in the near future - it's been used as a film set. An episode of Foyle's War has just been shot there.
Before I press on with my own continuing sorting and sifting of my Rauceby pictures, Mark has been over to the asylum and has written up his own visit with lots of superb pictures.
Hurrah! One card reader and some software, and I've managed to recover the majority of my pictures of Rauceby. And I'm so pleased, that I've put
together a special tour from the pictures intended for the virtual asylum. So, sit back, relax, and here's a guide:
How To Climb A Victorian Water Tower.
And the virtual asylum can be found here.
And I've updated the links section.
John Harris is a country house snooper. After reading his books, I think he was the original urban explorer, turning
his infiltrations and fascination with old country houses into a career, eventually working for Pevsner (a couple of times) and becoming a member of
the RIBA staff. I highly recommend his writings; urban exploration in a 1950s landscape.
At last something new! And a new asylum at that!! And a warning: if you try to do it properly, and fail, you won't get to see it. And with that cryptic introduction, have fun at St. Crispin Asylum.
And I'm really spoiling you. Here's Beedingwood: glorious country house, in a dreadful state. Probably the closest I'll get to the experiences of John Harris. It's back to asylums after this.
A big thank you to (in no particular order):
I took full advantage, spending about six hours wondering around Rauceby. Although it wasnít just an aimless excursion; it was done methodically, with purpose and order, and I took over 400 photos.
My idea of a virtual asylum, 3D modelled, so the armchair urban explorer could take a tour through a GT Hine asylum, was within my grasp. Iíd taken pictures of the exteriors - now I had full access to document the interiors.
At this point, Iíd like to say some very unsavoury things to a certain camera manufacturer and a SIMM card manufacturer. For I took over 400 photos, to allow me to fully document the buildings. But what happened? For some reason, I can only access about 150 of them. And, it seems that my entire water tower ascent, has now been lost to time.
So, if anyone knows how to drag these images from a SIMM card, then Iíd love to hear from you.
But, I mustnít let that spoil the day: Rauceby was sent off in style; so thanks again to David Wilson Homes, Bloom Demolition and the BBC. Top stuff.
In my study at the moment, I have a large box filled with memorabilia snagged from cane hill over the last ten years. These were all collected by Laura, who's been a regular explorer of our favourite asylum, but has since stopped as it's become 'too dangerous'.
Over the next few months, I'll be scanning, uploading and documenting the contents of this box. Which contains the best plans of cane hill yet!
Indeed the first item is already up: the very useful Patient's Handbook (which I've already been using to answer questions about religious services in asylums). However, I've just finished scanning all it's contents by uploading its the cane hill schematic - different to the previous one.
Congratulations to John Prescot who now owns lots of crumbling pieces of real-estate throughout the UK. This includes cane hill, which is suddenly about to be redeveloped for affordable housing. Oh dear. The full story can be found here.
And it's not just cane hill. Prescot's got his hands on several of our favourites: park prewett, west park and severalls to name a few. The full list can be found here.
At long last I've added the cowboy sleeve of The Man Who Sold The World to the art pages. Briefly, whilst the rest of the world got Bowie in drag for the album cover, the US market was presented with a cartoon cowboy who'd shot out the clock tower of cane hill.
One of the mysteries of cane hill was a strange octagonal tower stuck on the side of Zachary/Unwin. However, thanks to Marlon and Laurence, it has now been identified as a stair-well. A mighty fine stair-well, but, at the end of the day, it's just a flight of stairs. Also scroll to the bottom of that page for news of an interesting discovery under Vincent/Vanbrugh.
And I've added a few new pictures to the main project page.
As those who read the urbex mailing list will know, Andrew Tierney decided to shut down his long running urban exploration
site. It was the first site I discovered from the UK, and it's tales of Cane Hill inspired me to create this site.
It was agreed that I should archive the site - something I'm honoured to do. Andrew's tales included all the early infiltrations into the hospital and many of the spooky things he found; the unique pictures included shots taken from on top of the water tower; and he dug out many historical facets and documents about the hospital.
The archive can be found here.
A couple of new urban exploration and photography sites have recently appeared. Check out
this Hellingly site for pictures of
G T Hine's most smashed up asylum.
And for some great black and white shots of Hellingly and the ever-fun Cane Hill then I urge you to surf on over to www.abandoned-britain.com.
The small springy, bouncy thing at bourne, on which I named the tour, and on which I stood and rather
bent, has now been identified. Don't say I'm not thorough!
I've not renewed my old e-mail addres (email@example.com). I'm currently changing the existing tours to use the new one - so please bear with me on that one and firstname.lastname@example.org is the e-mail address to use.
Many of the sites I've visited during the last couple of years are, amazingly, still standing. So much for quick redevelopment. So far,
only Bourne Hospital and
Horton Asylum have been demolished.
To keep track of what's still about, I'll mark sites which have been destroyed in the explorations section.
A security guard was spotted in a state of excitement at hellingly the other day. Apparently he was well aware that people were inside and was hoping to apprehend them.
"It's these cults who explore derelict buildings," he said. "I think they're weird."
Cults? Or did he say something else?
More bits of paper found blowing around cane hill have been retrieved and documented. Apparently if working in the laundry wasn't bad enough, the sharps in the soiled linen were causing concern.
And some more information about Charlie Chaplin's mother has been added.
st. elizabeth's in Banstead Woods is a weird, weird place. The amazingly odd architecture complete with its bulky and ungainly water tower suggests a building that was mad before it even accepted its first patients.
Remote. Strange. Undocumented.
Until now. Interest is growing in this weird, wild hospital and one of the first sites to document its potential can be found here.
A former employee of rauceby had got in touch, and informed me that my entire original tour is back-to-front: what I call the rear of the hospital is the front. So, I've corrected the tour and added matron's garden and the lift shafts.
They almost sold it!. (Note how the hospital overlooks the Thames - something I hadn't noticed - and I do try to keep my eyes open!)
Back to the drawing board then.
And it looks like cane hill will be around to stay for a while yet.
And here's the big update: I've published my latest set of Rauceby pictures.
My second tour was the photographic factory at RAF Wyton. The building is still standing; which I find slightly amazing as half was demolished. Perhaps they simply ran out of money? Anyway, Terry worked there in the 1960s, and wrote in with some statistics. (And strangely called it the tin mine!).
Park Prewett, a 1200 patient GT Hine asylum has been visited by
Spaceminuspeople. Excellent to see an asylum virtually
intact and relatively undamaged. The only other large asylum still existing by Hine is
Hellingly - which is in a dreadful state.
Some corrections to the Cane Hill Bunker tour:
Whilst I continue to try and figure out some way to make the Cane Hill fire plans interesting, Laurence has found some fire plans from the 1930s which make interesting reading.
Whilst the first picture of the interior of Vincent/Vanbrugh shows the seat of the recent fire (scroll down to the final image).
The rumours and dark mysteries section has only been up for a couple a weeks, but it's already started to grow. And yes - someone is buried at Cane Hill.
And for the best plans yet, just check out this section.
And, finally, I've written up my latest cane hill jaunt.
Brief footage of Cane Hill has been found in an old Pathe film. You can find the clip
here - it's the fifth film in the list.
I've added a few bits and pieces to the tour of the tunnel - mainly to name Laurence's father as Norman Fisher. The biggest change is to add some more information about the demise of the Cox, Hargreaves and Thompson.
Hannah Chaplin, mother of Charlie Chaplin has been added to the Cane Hill Project. Why?
She's the next famous patient at Cane Hill. And, as far as I know, the last well-known. Any others?
I've also added a plan of an original airing court, complete with paths, trees and octagonal shelter. Other hospitals managed to hang on to theirs - I wonder what happened to the ones at Cane Hill?
I received an e-mail from John Hancock, MSgt, USAF, who was stationed at RAF Upwood. He was literally the guy who turned off the lights before shutting the doors on the site. I've added his mail to the last page of the tour.
The Main Hall at West Park has been destroyed by arson. A real shame. From the Urbex mailing list:
"Most likely [the fire] has taken the radio station and dentists with it as well. The
telephone exchange was under the stage and is most likely wrecked.
A real shame, as this was one of the most interesting and best
halls, with the wooden grid, old light dimmers, dressing rooms,
stained glass and everything. All gone again.
A real shame, as this was one of the most interesting and best halls, with the wooden grid, old light dimmers, dressing rooms, stained glass and everything. All gone again.."
Cockroaches in the food. Soiled linen. Antiquated and possibly dangerous machinery. Odd people milling about the corridors... Whilst it sounds like Cane Hill today, I am indebted to Chris Tombs who took a summer job in everyone's favourite now-derelict laundry and wrote in about it. Re-live the summer of 1973 and join in the fire hose, false leg incinerating fun.
And, as I'm really spoiling you with updates today, why not take the Cane Hill Bunker tour? Thirty-three pictures of below-ground murky explorations - tractor wheels, railway semaphores and backward-wired fridges are just the start of this former Second World War deep shelter. And yes - it's in the grounds of Cane Hill.
And since I was given a clutch of documents, and was given a guided tour by the son of one of the previous owners, then the bunker gets its own project makeover - a history, maps, plans, diagrams and pictures. What more could you want?
I've now fixed and uploaded all the things I missed whilst cursing my 56K modem during the last upload. The black and white 'before' pictures from Paddock should now be there now!
Can anyone near west park asylum confirm that the main hall is either being demolished or has been the victim of another arson attack? Thanks!
I've had lots of e-mail about Whittingham Asylum recently, and there are several other websites devoted to the old asylum.
The other sites are:
The first proper tour of hellingly has now appeared on line - view the exteriors and interiors of this battered GT Hine institution as the Exploration Station team get lost inside as the light starts to drop.
Also, pictures of hellingly and graylingwell can be found on the excellent www.sub-urban.com site.
Plus a tour of whitecroft is also online. An excellent asylum about to be redeveloped, there are several infiltrations here, including the interiors of the clock/water tower.
And as I've done nothing myself recently (far too busy with other websites), then how about another look around Cane Hill? Subculture have been nosing around and running away from security - so here's another fix of that pre-fire old lady from Coulsdon.
Then again, I've also updated the Cane Hill Project with information about Michael Caine's half brother (see the famous patients section) and a new section about the various songs written about the institution. Plus Marlon's been getting very grubby cleaning the signs around the hospital - so I've added a section about the signage and the real names of the various departments.
And guess what! I've finally written up a tour. Get ready for the first bunker tour on this website, and decend into the second war war gloom of Paddock.
And I've also put the Wired article on-line - you'll find it alongside the description of the magazine here.