Hello there again everybody.
I think it's safe to say a redundant Postman posts more than I do, but getting out can be difficult when you work daft hours.
Once this opportunity came up though, I just couldn't turn it down. I've been fascinated with Whittingham for at least 15 years but never managed to get in. Sadly I finally got in while she was in the midst of being torn down. I missed out on the amazing corridors although I did get into the famous hall and even managed to get up the water tower that had eluded so many previous explorers, which was being torn down the week after we were told.
I had heard many stories of how dangerous the old girl had become over the years and finally she had to succumb to the wrecking ball. I wish I'd seen her in her pomp and I envy my friend Rob who quite often walked down the corridors while the floor was still shiny and untouched.
You all know the history of Whittingham so I shall get on with the piccies.
I always found the images of the Crimbo decorations still being in place in the old hall quite creepy.
Stumbling across this little relic in the middle of a demolished corridor was surreal to say the least!
Glass and peely paint!!!
After these little stopping points we headed straight over to the water tower while we still had the light. It was a gem once you got to the top floor. Not being a fit person at all, I was knackered once I got up there...
We did go up the up the spiral staircase but with there being 3 of us and the light not being so good, it was a bit cramped for 3 tripods. Also I'm always guilty of gawping around on an explore instead of taking pics. An explore to me is also an excuse to piss about with torches and LEDs in abandoned buildings.
This one was lit up by Rob to which myself and Tom gleefully took advantage.
My turn to light up the staircase with green LEDs.
With the daylight finally on it's way out we headed back to the hall to mess around with torches and LEDs.
I stood guard with the cameras all on long exposures while Rob and Tom gave the hall a lick of light paint.
Time to head in and play around a bit and say goodbye to the old girl.
It was a pleasure to finally get inside the walls but also quite upsetting and maddening to know this has been on my doorstep for a long time and I've only seen Whitt's partial beauty when it's become near enough too late.
Thanks for looking
This is my first report on here so i hope i have done everything as i should. This was was my first major explore.
History of Whittingham Asylum
Whittingham Hospital, whose grounds adjoin the village of Goosnargh, became one of the largest mental hospitals in the country, and pioneered the use of electroencephalograms (EEGs). During its time it had its own church, farms, railway, telephone exchange, post office, reservoirs, gas works, brewery, orchestra, brass band, ballroom and butchers.
In 1866, the three Lancashire Ã¢â‚¬Å“lunaticÃ¢â‚¬Â asylums at Prestwich, Rainhill and Lancaster were deemed to be full and a new asylum was needed. The building of Whittingham Asylum began in 1869, originally to accommodate 1000 patients. It was built from brick using clay dug on site from a pit which later became a fish pond.
The hospital officially opened on 1 April 1873. The large site included an Anglican church, a Catholic chapel, a recreation hall (also used as a ballroom) and several farms.
The Whittingham Hospital Railway was a two-mile (3 km) private branch to Grimsargh, built in 1887, to provide coal and other goods to the site. It also provided free transport for staff and passengers. The Railway eventually closed on the 30 June 1957.
In the early years there was even a brewery on the site. At the end of the First World War, a part of the hospital (later known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“St MargaretÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s DivisionÃ¢â‚¬Â) was used as a military hospital. It was again used for this purpose during the Second World War.
In 1923, the hospital was known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whittingham Mental HospitalÃ¢â‚¬Â and by 1939, the number of patients was 3533, with a staff of 548, making it the largest mental hospital in the country.
By 1948, Whittingham had incorporated Ribchester Hospital, and became known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whittingham HospitalÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The Mental Health Act of 1960 deemed large institutions like Whittingham to be out of favour. Allegations of cruelty to patients led to a public inquiry.
During the 1970s and 1980s, new drugs and therapies were introduced. Long-stay patients were returned to the community or dispersed to smaller units around Preston. The hospital eventually closed in 1995.
The site subsequently became known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Guild ParkÃ¢â‚¬Â. In 1999, Guild Lodge was opened on the edge of Guild Park, supplying secure mental services, followed the next year by rehabilitation cottages close by.
It is now planned to build 650 new homes on the site and to preserve some of the hospital buildings as apartments. However, the plan will not proceed until a date for the construction of the Broughton bypass is known but in the mean time some of the smaller outer buildings are to be demolished.
Map of Whittingham Asylum Grounds
I have been lucky enough to visit the asylum three times albeit a little late as the demolition was already well under way. Most of the connecting corridors from building to building were already knocked down when I first visited, however quite a few of the buildings were still standing with plenty to look at.
My favourite places on the whole site would have to be the ballroom & water tower for different reasons. The Ballroom for me just had a calm feeling to it, this area must have been one of the happier places on the whole site for the patients that lived here and to me, as someone who likes to understand what went on in places that I visit, meant a lot. The Water Tower appealed to me because it is on the edge of the grounds and out of the way so it is peaceful and quiet. You can get to the top and see a full view of the grounds and on a nice sunny day the views are beautiful!
Over my three visits here each time I went more and more had been torn down. It is sad to see this place crumbling away and being demolished as it is a huge part of the local history, if you can forget the darker side to this place anyway.
Fortunately I have heard that the front 5 buildings are be restored and turned in to apartments, I just hope in some way that is possible as the water damage is a little sever.
Anyway, enough of me rambling on, here are some pictures from my visits. You can click any image for a larger view.
Admin Block & Managers Office
Boiler House & Workshops
A Room Long Since Used
This room is pictured how we found it. I am sure this was setup by people who visited prior to ourselves. One thing to note though is the paintings on the windows, they looked like what you would see in a childs room.
This was one of last remaining corridors at the time of my visits, as you can see it is in a very bad state of decay.
This is one of the main places we wanted to visit at Whittingham. I am so glad that we managed to see it before it was to late. The ballroom was used for theatre, watching films, dancing, parties such as Christmas and much more. I just hope this place was a happy place for the patients.
The Ballroom Stage
This photo was taken from the back of the stage on the sides where people would have been working in the background whilst the shows were on. This is on level 2 but there are 4 levels if you count the loft space!
Now this is not the machine that was used for the controversial shock therapy as i first thought when seeing this. It is an EEG (electroencephalograms) machine which was used to record electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain.
EEG is most often used to diagnose epilepsy, which causes obvious abnormalities in EEG readings. It is also used to diagnose sleep disorders, coma, encephalopathies, and brain death.
A Moment to Reflect
As the sun started to set upon the Asylum the feeling of this place changed. We took a moment to reflect on what we had seen before continuing.
Mother Nature is trying to reclaim back what was once hers.
The room would have been split up into sections with more of the plastic walls you can see in this photo. This would have created sleeping areas for upwards of 30 patients.
The rooms are a decent size with lots of windows as you can see.
Water Tower, Stairs
These stairs take you from the Second floor up to the Third floor of the Water Tower which has the Spiral Stairs up to the roof.
Water Tower, Spiral Stairs
The spiral stairs in the water tower take you up to the roof where you have an amazing view of the grounds & surrounding countryside.
Male Housing Block
This was one of the Male housing blocks, As you can see all connecting corridors have been demolished. A week after taking this photo the building had been torn down.
More Images Available on Flickr
The images above are just a small selection of the images I have edited. I have lots more photos of Whittingham Asylum on my Flickr page which can be found here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157644608038281/
Whittingham Asylum, Final Thoughts
I am in no doubt that Whittingham has some bad stories attached to it, whether that is stories of Ã¢â‚¬ËœweirdÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ medical treatments or patients being treated badly or just the overall idea of Asylums such as this, However, some people believe that the people who lived in places like Whittingham had a better & longer life than they would have if they was mixed with the (i will use the words from documentaries I have watched) general population. What I think or feel is irrelevant as I know nothing of the problems that the patients faced on a daily basis.
If you can push aside the darker side of Whittingham then this place has a beauty to it. The Victorian architecture in some places of the site is amazing, whilst in others it looks rushed. I have enjoyed my visits here and I am so glad I have been able to see & document it in my photos before it was to late.
Before I go to look around places like this I always like to find out about the history. By doing this I feel it gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the place you are photographing.
Thanks for reading,
Visited a couple of weeks ago with fellow explorer Urblex. Got in real early which worked out well as we had a good few hours wandering about what is left then out before it started getting busy. Nice relaxed mooch this one, a good time was had by all
Thanks For Looking
Good old Whitty, its been a long time coming for myself to visit this one. I had seen a lot of pics of this place, but it wasn't high on my list to do, just one of those derps you keep saying to yourself I'll do it next time or soon.
On a recent road trip south it was suggested by a PeterC4 and Sonyes to head along there for a derp mission. Camping out in the nearby village green with Trooper and Revelation Space, on the night of the recent Lunar Eclipse it turned out to be a excellent spot to park up for the night and get some kip. Except I slept so well I missed the Eclipse, ooops!
An early start meeting PeterC and Sonyes (Pr0j3ct M4yh3m would be joining the party later) we headed into the lions den, with Secca doing his rounds we were almost busted within minutes of setting off. But after getting a good soaking tramping through some fields we were within the grounds of the Hospital, only to be halted in our progress by Secca once again doing his job. He wasn't very good though as he failed to spot us and we soon disappeared into the building not to be seen again, for some 8 hours.
Whittingham Asylum was designed by the Lancashire Asylum Boards Archtiect ~ Heny Littler, and construction work commenced in 1869 to alleviate pressure in the three other Lancashire which were deemed to be full in 1866. The Asylum is a Radial Pavilion Plan, the last surviving derelict since Cainhill was demolished back in 2010.
Opening in 1st April 1876, Whittingham has a occupy capacity of 1000 patients, with the construction of two further annexs - St Johns and later St Marys. The capacity at its Peak in 1915 was 2,820.
Various scandels affected the hospitals reputation and finally closing in 1995 due to better medicines and techniques to treat the patients eventually sealed its fate.
Thanks for looking!!