Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Seeking Asylum at North Wales Hospital

'Twas the week before Halloween, when all through the blog, not a creature was stirring, not even a (rabid) dog...

To kick start our regular Saturday road trips, I suggested that LT might like to take his new camera out and get some shots of a building I'd found on t'internet while researching spooky sites in North Wales.   I didn't tell him exactly what is was, but he tends to forget a lot of what I say to him anyway, so I guessed it didn't really matter.  

What I'd found was the history of North Wales Hospital aka Denbigh Mental Asylum and, being a fan of anything dark and eerie, added to the fact that it was little more than an hour from home, I just had to see it with my own eyes.   And so off we went...

Denbigh Asylum is located, rather unsurprisingly, on the outskirts of the town centre of Denbigh and was designed by Thomas Full James and completed in 1848.   The hospital could house up to 200 patients and is a Grade 11 Listed building.   


North Wales Hospital
You can't help but wonder what went on within these walls
The hospital fully closed in 1995 and has slowly descended into the ruined and rather dilapidated shell it now is.   I've seen pictures of how it used to look and it was, and still is, a truly beautiful building.     It's so grand and has such an imposing presence, that it's hard to believe it's been left to deteriorate.   As always, though, there are many reasons for this and the building has been subject to a compulsory purchase order by the local authority.   Hopefully, something can be done to preserve the building and learn from its history.    

Clearly, the building has a very dark past, which is borne out by the research I did and the horrendous tales of botched lobotomies, straight jackets, and electrocution equipment I've had the displeasure to read. Obviously, though, these stories do add to the overall creepiness of the building, particularly now that it has the added edge of being so desolate and overgrown.    

On approach, it's still spectacular and the atmosphere of being met by 'KEEP OUT' signs and warnings that 'Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted' made me want to jump the high fences and run closer.   I desperately wanted to see what the grounds were like, although I'm not sure I would ever have actually ventured into the hospital, had I got past the gates. I have my limits, and my insomnia don't need no encouragement, thanks very much.

You can stand, as I did,  at the metal fence posts and press your face up against them, trying to imagine what it must have been like to suffer from mental illness at a time when the solution was to remove a lobe from your brain.  Cos, obviously, that'll totally make you better, right?   My Doctor gave me tablets and told me not to stress too much.  I like modern medical thinking much better.



Denbigh Mental Asylum
Eerie, right?
To further hinder its reputation further, Denbigh Asylum was featured on 'Most Haunted', on live episodes entitled 'Village of the Damned' (real sensitive, guys)... which incurred the wrath of the local residents.   Not to the extent where Yvette Fielding was strapped to a gurney with electrodes attached to her extremities, but, you know, in a reasonable head-shaking, finger wagging, fashion.   You would totally understand if they'd have done that, though, wouldn't you?   You don't have to be insane to be imagining how that might go down.    Hmmm....interesting.   

Anyway, I seem to have lost the point here somewhat.  What I am trying to say is that, although it has a dark history and is a state of disrepair, it remains a quite staggering structure and is nestled in the gorgeous countryside in Denbighshire.    Be respectful of the building and the fate of its occupants and you can't go far wrong by having a look at it.  

DO NOT attempt to go inside the ground as the building IS dangerous and the signs are there for very good reason.   

Have you visited North Wales Hospital, either recently, or before it was finally closed??