Abandoned Hospitals and Mental Asylums
Exploring a derelict hospital or abandoned mental asylum is probably my number one idea of a day well spent. I love them so much I’ve even brought first dates on adventures to them (there was never a second date ☹)!
There are a few things I love about abandoned hospitals and mental asylums:
- They are massive in size.
- There are often security guards so the “getting access” stage is always super fun. It also keeps you on your toes once inside which is a positive thing.
- They always have fascinating and often morbid histories.
- When I post the photographs on social media, people often leave their own personal stories or memoirs of the former hospital/asylum, which I love to read, and I feel it adds a nice context to my photography.
- They are often quite spooky even in the daytime, so the adrenaline rush is ridiculous (one of the reasons why I love urbex).
I’m sure this will sound strange to people who don’t understand urbex, but there’s no better way to feel alive than to visit a derelict hospital or asylum!
An Abandoned Spain Sanatorium in Barcelona The abandoned Sanatorio Antituberculoso in Barcelona, Spain, is so unique looking it would catch anyone’s eye, not just urbexers. “El Castell” has an area of about 250 square meters or so, has two levels. It is made up of a circular central nave, surrounded by eight cylindrical towers of a ninth that is slightly separated from the rest. The roofs are conical and are covered with trencadis, a mosaic technique typical of modernist architecture. Surrounding the building, is a ring of curved windows. This modernist pavilion, privately owned and now extremely derelict, is the only one that remains of the sanatorium that Joan Rubió i Bellver designed in Can Rectoret, in 1905. – The History of Sanatori Antituberculós, Barcelona At the end of the 19th century, the lack of hygiene standards and socioeconomic conditions meant that some diseases, such as typhus and tuberculosis, were the cause of a large number of deaths. One of the safest measures was the isolation of the sick in remote places in the open air. For this reason, in Barcelona and its surroundings, many sanatoriums were planned in the mountains, such as those of Tibidabo and Vallvidrera. El Castell
Built in 1909, the abandoned Heatherside Hospital in County Cork, Ireland, operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium until 1957. After that, it was used as a mental health and psychogeriatric facility by the HSE up until 2010, when it closed its doors despite public outcry. In 2006, Heatherside Hospital was in the media spotlight when a diagnosed schizophrenic patient, Hannah Comber (65), choked to death by a restraining belt whilst being strapped to a chair and in the care of the hospital staff. Large-scale investigations were launched by An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive (HSE) and it wasn’t until 3 years later that the murder probe was completed. The inquest into her death recorded a “verdict of misadventure” and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided no charges would follow Ms Comber’s death. The 22-acre site comprises over 56,000sq ft of buildings, church, houses and other structures in the hills of Ballyhoura Country. It is currently for sale for just €350,000 by Lisney Cork (on behalf of the HSE) which is about the price of an average county bungalow in Ireland. The History of the Abandoned Heatherside Hospital, Cork The 110-year-old former Heatherside hospital and sanatorium opened in 1909 and
The Oldest Abandoned Asylum in Connaught, Ireland Throughout the early to mid-1800s, there was a rapid growth in the development of mental asylums worldwide, with Ireland leading the way. A total of 22 new Irish asylums sprung up between 1810 – 1870, one of which is the now derelict St. Brigid’s Hospital, formerly known as Connacht District Lunatic Asylum (CDLA). The Connacht Asylum’s doors first opened in 1830 and very quickly, hundreds of people were being admitted under the Dangerous Lunatics Act. Most spent the rest of their lives in the asylum once they were confined within the x-shaped prison-like walls and thousands died from tuberculosis even though the Ballinasloe Fever Hospital was right beside it. Connacht District Lunatic Asylum / St Brigid’s Hospital, Ballinasloe, Ireland – September 2017 – Adam X The asylum’s sheer size and formidable, military-like design, not to mention the adjoining graveyard where former patients are buried, is a stark reminder of 19th Century Ireland. Ballinasloe Main Street, Galway, in the early 1800’s. – The History of Connacht District Lunatic Asylum, Galway Back in those days there was no such thing as a voluntary addmission to a psychiatric hospital, meaning every person who was sent to
Constructed in 1906, this single-storey limestone and iron house is historically significant for its Australian Victorian-Georgian style of architecture, which can be seen by the symmetrical facades. This type of architecture is prominent in Fremantle, where this site is located. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the building was being used by the Fremantle Veterinary Hospital, which specialised in dentistry, radiography, and micro-chipping. All of the old cages can still be found inside and some equipment that would have been used for the treatment of sick animals. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Finding the abandoned Princess Margaret Hospital for Children (PMH) in Perth, Western Australia was a pure fluke. I had originally gone out with the intention of finding an abandoned hotel but whilst driving around the perimeter of the not-so-exciting looking hotel, this huge, formidable building with scaffolding caught my eye. “Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital” was in faded writing along the side of the building which could barely be made out. I almost crashed the car with excitement. I had heard about this hospital but had been under the impression it was demolished! I parked quickly because I knew if I kept driving and crashed, I’d be paying the rental car company a hefty fine (at least $3500). My coffee cup was still fairly full so I went for a stroll and to suss out an access point. I found one pretty quickly, down a quiet street, with very little traffic, and a fence that seemed doable. At least it had no spikes. It was first thing on a Sunday morning, so my motor skills hadn’t properly woken up yet. I drained the coffee cup as soon as I could manage, stuck my phone in my sports bra and very clumsily
The abandoned Swan District Hospital and Asylum in Perth, Western Australia was under Australian media scrutiny in 2011 when a nurse allegedly threw a woman’s miscarried baby into the garbage alongside medical waste. The hospital, otherwise known as Swan Kalamunda Health Service, had previously been in the public eye in 2004 when a psychiatric patient assaulted two nurses, one of whom suffered from multiple skull fractures and was left fighting for her life. But perhaps the story that people recognise the most when they hear the name “Swan District Hospital”, was the mysterious missing case of Sarah Anne McMahon in 2000. Sarah had been missing for 12 days, police had no leads and were publishing information to the public in the hope of finding a lead. Her car was then found in the car park of the Swan District Hospital and it appeared to have been parked there for some days. Her phone was located later on Great Northern Highway near the Swan District Hospital. On the day she went missing, Sarah had received phone calls from a man named Donald Victor Morey (it took the WA police 12 years after her disappearance to find out this information). In 2003, 3 years
The abandoned Regis Aged Care Facility in Perth, is situated in a remarkably interesting location. Dating back to 1905, the large site, bordered by Smyth/Monash/Karella and William Streets, was first acquired by the Salvation Army. Over the next century, it grew into an entire village of buildings that chopped and changed over time, which consisted of an orphanage, correctional facility, school, dementia hospital, residential cottages, and of course, an aged care facility. The abandoned area that I explored and photographed, was the trio of Wyvern Units, which was part of the Regis Hollywood Senior Citizen’s Village. At the other end of the site, facing Monash St, Regis is currently operating an active aged care facility. After exploring this vast area and the units themselves, I did some research online and discovered Regis is currently under major investigations for neglect, abuse and assault allegations raised by resident family members and a group of interns who worked there for a brief period of time recently. The History of the Regis Hollywood Senior Village 905 – 1918: The Salvation Army began negotiations to acquire the land bordered by Smyth/Monash/Karella and William Streets, for the construction of a Prison Gate Farm to house men who had
From 1907 to 1919, over 1000 Aboriginal men and women suspected of having venereal diseases were rounded up from across Western Australia and marched, sometimes in chains, to Carnarvon, where they were transported to lock hospitals on the remote Bernier and Dorre Islands. When the island hospitals were shut down in 1919, The Port Hedland Lock Hospital was built to house the patients. The buildings remaining on the site comprise of: Former hostel converted to offices Powerhouse Former dormitories converted to offices Former isolation ward Former mortuary Garden shed; Former matron’s quarters Back in the day, the hospital had comprised of Matron’s Quarters; office; laundry, store; powerhouse; garage; 2 tanks; bitumen tennis court, clothes hoist, laundry, two WCs, staff quarters; fowl run; ablution block; isolation hut wards, recreation hut, the main hospital and medical doctor/surgery rooms. In 1975 the facility was upgraded after some structures had been demolished. By 1977, only three buildings remained from the Lock Hospital phase of the site’s history. The former Matron’s Quarters building (now Community Radio Station) was known as Boab House and was used as emergency accommodation for Aboriginal families. And the former Isolation Ward was in use as a drop-in nursing home and
On the same day that I explored and photographed the abandoned Broadway Hotel in Brisbane, I almost managed to document the Wacol Mental Asylum in Brisbane, Australia. I had my head underneath the wired fence when a policeman drove up to the building and told me that not only was I trespassing, but rapists and murderers were wandering around and might kill me. But I couldn’t accept defeat so quickly. After all, it is one of the oldest mental asylum in Australia and one of the most protected abandoned buildings in the country. I wanted to know why. I walked the perimeter of the site again looking for any other way in that didn’t involve me breaking through the fence surrounding the ruins. I knew there was a basement section, so I tried snooping around for a tunnel or underground entrance, but the policeman was back in flash, this time driving onto the grass right up to me. As you can see in the photo below, I was being stalked by the police AND kangaroos! Unfortunately, I had to accept defeat and say I’d try again another day. The History of Wacol Mental Asylum The abandoned Wacol Mental Asylum was founded
Delve into the haunting history of the Callan Park Mental Asylum, a sprawling complex that once held the afflicted. Explore its eerie corridors and learn about the architects and legacy of this asylum. Witness the past through captivating photography and discover the asylum’s present-day transformation.
The abandoned Harperbury Hospital in Radlett (the UK) used to be a mental health and learning disabilities hospital built on the remains of World War 1 hangers. It was first opened in 1928 and because derelict in the early 2000s. I visited this site back in 2017 and it was one of the best explorations to date purely because of its size. The amount of buildings dotted around this site, all abandoned, is incredible and there is no way I managed to explore all of it. Access was very easy, there were a few patrol guards but nothing the long grass can’t hide you from! Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
This is one of the most challenging sites I have explored on my own. I knew security would be very high here, so I opted for a back entrance in. This meant using Google Maps to navigate through several overgrown football pitches and through very creepy woods until I came across small derelict buildings that seemed to be outhouses belonging to the asylum. The outhouses were stripped bare inside and only full of debris, ash and squatter items (mattresses, syringes, cooking stoves etc). I made my way to the main asylum building and managed to get past a few security rooms but sadly, all doors/windows I could get to were boarded up. I was pretty disappointed and even went back another time with a friend to see if we could find an entry point but to no avail. Security is so high here for some reason and I’d love to know why. I explored the Grangegorman Mental Asylum numerous times and brought a series of film directors to the site. Not once was there a hint of security in the area and both sites are very similar in terms of when they closed down and what they were used for back in
Dates: 1814 – 2013Number of patients: Over 2,000Size: 30 hectaresStatus: Demolished Note: This was the first ever abandoned building I explored. :) Grangegorman Mental Asylum (otherwise known as Richmond Asylum) was part of St. Brendan’s Hospital, a psychiatric facility located in Co Dublin, Ireland. Interestingly, it was Ireland’s first-ever public psychiatric hospital and it was my first “abandoned building” experience. The site was relatively easy to access. All I had to do was climb over a wall and wade through a big field of nettles. Then, all of a sudden, the huge shadow of the former asylum was in front of me. The interior of the building was in a major state of disrepair. Most of the ceilings had fallen through, the floors were soft and had huge gaping holes, and there was a severed rope attached to one of the ceiling beams. I ended up revisiting the hospital numerous times, as many film directors reached out to me for help finding the location after they spotted my photographs online. The Dark History of Grangegorman Mental Asylum According to reports, lobotomy was carried out on many patients, which consisted of severing the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain. Many of