Yesterday I went for an explore with four from London. Our destination was the West Park Asylum, part of a ring of asylums around London which were at one time run by the NHS (National Health System I think). Apparently Margaret Thatcher decided these places were better off either
1. Shut down or
As a result, many of the workers and patients walked away from these places leaving everything in perfect order, just as it was when the asylum was up and running. What happened next, some of the explores tell me, many of these places are not seen as worth preserving because either
1. They are two ‘new’ to be of historic value or
2. The land is simply needed for something else on this little island
Because of this, the explorers take it upon themselves to record this history, and the slow decay of these places with their cameras. Despite this, many are seen as criminals, ‘trespassing’ on this recently privatized land.
When we arrived at West Park, we quietly walked in over a broken fence, and walked around the bushes keeping an eye out for the single security guard that patrols the area. Not seeing him, we proceeded to slip into the service shaft under the building. Unfortunately, our man magically appears after only one of the four of us get in and we are escorted out.
On to plan B. We headed over the St. Ebba’s and strangely, given what had just taken place, parked in the parking lot and walked in. Although part of this hospital is still ‘live’ (meaning patients still roam the grounds) they did not seem to mind, nor did the nurses who probably had personal histories in the derelict buildings on the property and were quite aware that we were going in the archive them, in a sense.
Turns out, it was a good thing we arrived when we did because demolition has begun and half of this beautiful derelict hospital in now gone.
On to the next explore…