harperbury hospital | empty

The cell was small, confining and claustrophobic. Inside, with the door closed, the world was shut out and it felt incredibly isolated. Stains down the padding gave the room an extra ominous feel, although they were probably caused by the same water seeping through the roof which was causing the lining paper to peel and fall.

By now wed spent enough time on the site and prepared to leave. Our exploration had only taken in a tiny portion of Harperbury, literally less than a quarter of the site, but parts were still in use, and an earlier recce along the main drive of the institution revealed a working hospital. Many of the buildings around the edges were closed, or in the act of closing, but the central core was still firmly off limits.

Therefore this representation of Harperbury is extremely limited. Whilst Curtis' architecture was clearly non-inspiring (and suitably austere for the 1930s), wed only seen the single storey villas and school, and had yet to venture out to see the more important buildings e.g. recreation hall or Administration. Perhaps he saved more architectural flair for those parts of the hospital.

As we picked our way along the overgrown footpath, we knew we had to return. If only to better document Harperbury and give it a more balanced account.