warley hospital | the essex county lunatic asylum
Last update: 23|08|10
Warley Hospital

chapel #2
general orientation

General view of one of the two rooms

Chapel #2 from the 1853 plan (coloured)

chapel #2
detailed pictures

The asylum’s ecclesiastical design gave areas more prominence than would’ve normally been expected. This led to misinterpretations of some spaces such as this small basement.

Located under the eastern tip of Ward #4, these two rooms had elegant metal patterned windows and decorated red and black tiles. It was suggestive of a small chapel, and this would’ve been the case in any other austere asylum. But Warley was highly decorated (by asylum standards) and it wasn’t until I explored further that I realised that these features were standard throughout the basements and store-rooms which were scattered around and under the wards.

entrance: view west
The ground sloped away towards the east and the west (suggesting the main asylum building was built on a ridge). This meant that extra basements and rooms could be fitted in under the ground floor of many wards at their extremities.

This open doorway was located at the base of Ward #4 at its eastern tip.

entrance: view west (looking up)
The addition of the basement added significant height to the building’s two storeys.

interior: view south-east
The door led to two basement rooms, separated by a row of arches which a vaulted ceiling. The decorative metal frame windows (now boarded up) and red and black tiled floor added to the room’s apparent opulence.

interior: view south-west
It was nothing more than a basement store room but took on the appearance of something more important thanks to the asylum’s decoration and finish.

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