warley | wonderings (part two)

It’s an asylum, and as you’ll guess from the pictures, it’s of the corridor configuration. And by coincidence, after seeing the weird honeycombed ceilings of St. John’s, it was surprising to see them again here.

I’ve done nothing with the colour saturation of the first picture; that ward was really that pink.

Anyway... when I can post more, I will.

© Simon Cornwell 2005

Warley was wired. Miles of bunched multicoloured cables snaked through the corridors, wondered above wards and could be seen strung up along the exterior brickwork. The internal wires were connected to PIRs and smoke detectors; the exterior cables terminated in security cameras, flood lights and loud speakers. Not only could the guard at Warley pinpoint any unauthorised trespass, but he could also direct them back to the outside world, spot light them and shout threats – all from the comfort of his office.

This security system made Warley fairly impregnable. With the unwanted thieves and vandals (not to mention the curious urban explorers) kept firmly outside, the deserted interiors gradually settled into a pattern of gentle decay. By the time the redevelopment started, the buildings were much the same as they were when the hospital closed.

The visit to Warley was organised by Mr. D with permission granted under certain caveats. Honouring those obligations prevented the immediate uploading of all the photographs with descriptions, but it was agreed that a sample set could be published if the location was kept secret. This seemed a workable compromise; and if any urban explorer e-mailed me asking about the pictures, then I would divulge the building’s name.

It seemed the best of both worlds whilst keeping to the spirit of the original agreement: alert explorers to the potential before the redevelopment started, keep the site’s name off the public face of the Internet, but give out details to those explorers who were interested. The alternative would be to publish absolutely nothing for several years and this would’ve prevented any other explorers from visiting the building.

Unfortunately I hadn’t anticipated the furore this would cause, particularly the arrogance of one newly-formed forum which spent its time bristling with self-importance and telling me what I could, and couldn’t, do. Keeping locations secret was not part of their remit and I was utterly condemned for publishing these pictures on my own website. It was a sobering premonition of the schism which was developing in the UK urbex scene.

Those who e-mailed me in private were told the location. I don’t know if they managed to successfully navigate through Warley’s security system or negotiate their own access but I hope they did. Those who moaned and complained about my conduct on the public pages of the forum were not told the location and I hope they never benefitted.

It’s been four years since these pictures were taken and the original buildings of Warley Hospital have been developed into deluxe apartments, ideally situated in the London commuter belt. The whole site is renamed, the homes are now occupied, and the developers have moved on. It seems that any objections to the publication of these pictures have passed and they should now be added to the historical record.

I’d spoke with Mr. D. About the archive over the last couple of years but we were both working on other projects, so it remained under covers. But it now seems an opportune time to publish the pictures I took four years ago and add the interiors of Warley Hospital to the collection on this website.

© Simon Cornwell 2009

The pictures of Warley have been added to the Warley Project section.