Just my librium and me

I’ve just discovered that David Bowie’s song All the Madmen is about his half brother and his time as a patient at the recently closed Cane Hill psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of South London.

In fact, the hospital is pictured on one of the original versions of the cover to his classic album The Man Who Sold the World, as you can see from the image on the left.

The main part of Cane Hill hospital has been closed since the early 90s and was largely dilapidated, but one unit was still in operation until it finally closed last year.

Being one of the few remaining vacant Victorian asylums, it was regularly visited by bored youths and curious urban explorers and there are hundreds of videos of the abandoned hospital buildings on YouTube.

As is the fate of all old asylums in the UK, it is in the process of being turned into luxury flats.

However, I suspect it’s also the setting for the recent video ‘Take Me to the Hospital’ from purveyors of rave The Prodigy, but I can’t find anything which confirms which old hospital they filmed in, so it will have to remain speculation.

Link to Wikipedia on All the Madmen.
Link to audio of track on YouTube.
Link to Wikipedia on Cane Hill Hospital.

1 thought on “Just my librium and me”

  1. Always sad to see what happens to these old asylums. The one I always think of is Danvers State Hospital, in Massachusetts.
    Influential in both science (home of the ocular-insertion lobotomy, I believe) and fiction (possibly the inspiration for Arkham Asylum in both HP Lovecraft & Batman) and location for the inordinately creepy low-budget horror ‘Session 9’.
    As an aside – I’ve followed this blog for some time and it never fails to inform and fascinate me. Thanks.

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