cane hill | walking the perimeter

Another view of the maximum-security wards, as the building moves outwards to greet us again.

Over its history, Cane Hill grew and sprawled. New wards were added, aping the Victorian architecture, and blending in with the original building. Here a dilapidated greenhouse has been haphazardly added to the end of this ward. I guess the maximum-security patients were encouraged to keep pot-plants.

Again our seasoned explorer has the low-down on these buildings:

"The greenhouse things attached to the hospital are called "Solariums" - if you get up close, then you see there are bed consoles (light, radio, nurse call things) on the walls. I think they wheeled beds out to get some sun on the patients.".

The patients were definitely encouraged to farm the fields around the hospital. Some barns on the north side of the hospital were obviously used for keeping agricultural machinery, and a boarded up farmhouse can be seen when walking up Brighton Road.

Interestingly my guess that this was a later addition appears to be wrong. This odd greenhouse also appears on the plans as part of the Browning/Blake ward and is the only ward to have such a structure. There are lots of individual rooms to the back of this glass corridor which are begging to be explored.

To see the interior of this ward, click here.

2009: The Solariums were extremely odd additions to the wards. They didn’t appear on Howell’s original plans, so they were tacked on later. Two of these structures were added, both to the Sick And Infirm wards of the female and male sides of the hospital. I now wonder if they were designed for patients recovering from TB.

What I never mentioned at the time was the new security fence as it skirted past this ward. Someone had levered one of the slats out leaving a sizeable hole; this was obviously how the arsonists gained entry a couple of months previously, but it also meant I could sneak through the fence as well.

As I was alone, and no-one knew I was there, I decided to pass on the opportunity. But to give security their due, this was the only time I ever saw the fence breached so blatantly.

But it proved one thing. The fence was not the impermeable barrier I first thought it was. Getting inside would be possible.

The Solarium extension on the western side of Browning/Blake. © Simon Cornwell 2002