Corridors of the mind

Photo by Flickr user wvs. Click for sourceI’ve just discovered the joy of searching Flickr for photos of psychiatric ward corridors which turns up some amazing images of hospitals past and present, and photos of institutions that are slowly, and sometimes beautifully, decaying.

The great numbers of abandoned hospitals are mostly due to the shutting down of the old monolithic psychiatric hospitals in the second half of the 20th century.

As the buildings were often built as large permanent structures, often with great architectural finesse, many are difficult to knock down or sell, and so have just remained to fade away. Needless to say, they’ve become a regular destination for urban explorers.

There are many striking photos to check out, but there’s one interesting historical shot. It’s a photo of the main corridor in the now closed down Friern Barnet psychiatric hospital on the edges of North London.

The place was built in 1853 and was originally called the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum and the building had, so they say, the longest corridor in Europe, which is captured in the image.

As with many institutions of the time, the building, at least on the outside, was very beautiful. It has now been converted into ultra luxury flats called Princess Park Manor, which, as you can see, has a swish website to match.

So swish, it seems, that despite lauding the architectural heritage the building, it neglects to mention that it used to be one of London’s biggest asylums.

Link to photo of psychiatric hospital corridors.

One Comment

  1. rita
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Mind boggling promo filmette on the Princess Park link – don’t miss the “history” section for what it doesn’t say!. Going to “Colney Hatch” used to be a synonym for cracking up, years ago- the “Hatch” part got separated off, too, and became “the nut hatch” (and variants). I gather the splendid St. Bernards Hospital in Southall has followed the same fate? Interesting in view of the terror that many hospitals had for older citizens when said institutions had been adapted from workhouses. Probably the change of clientele from “the mad” to whoever buys Princess Park apartments ensures there is no historic hangover in this case.


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