As the asylum expanded and contracted in size, so spaces were changed and their uses
altered. The original
Chapel, so superbly detailed, was one of the first casualties of
the hospitalís expansion, eventually becoming a dormitory as space was at a premium.
And so as the hospital contracted, and the patients left, so the buildings again
were pressed into new uses. St
Raphaelís looked like itíd been derelict for years, probably abandoned whilst
Warley was still running down; itís now been converted into apartments.
A similar fate probably awaits the original Chapel. Which doesnít upset me;
for the building had to change
uses many times during its life, and it only spent a fraction of its time as a
Chapel. But, in a way, the Chapelís
were barometers of both the size, and the changes taking place in these establishments
as patient numbers
ebbed-and-flowed. Warley may be unique in the sheer number of
Chapels it had, but this story was repeated
at many of the asylums up and down the country.
© Simon Cornwell 2006