To get away from anything angel-related for a bit, I came across this fascinating article on asylum architecture yesterday.
I’ve mentioned it before, but because I’m interested in urbex, and stumbled across that fantastic photograph of the hall of Hellingly asylum which I now have on my wall, I’m completely enthralled by the idea of “institutional architecture”: that it has set constructs and conceits and can be used both for good and for ill.
I can’t remember where I read it now, so you’ll have to take my word for it – but recently I read that the passageway from the former condemned cell at Old Bailey was a series of archways, each narrower than the last. Anyone walking to their execution would have their already (justified) sense of impending doom heightened by the deliberate and increasingly claustrophobic effect.
Posted by loummorgan on July 11, 2013
Last week, we bought a couple of new pictures for the house. One was something arty by way of a wooden staircase and a chandelier (Other Half’s choice), and mine was… well, it was this.
Hellingly Main Hall: photograph by Mike McLean
I wasn’t sure what it was, but I was very taken with it. A village hall, maybe? Some kind of theatre…?
Welcome to Hellingly.
Opened in 1903, it was designed by GT Hine – consultant to the Commissioners in Lunacy and asylum specialist (seriously, is there anything about that sentence you can’t love?). It remained in use until 1994, when the main building was vacated and decommissioned. Hine designed the hall as the centrepiece of the asylum, its heart, and even in its derelict state, it’s still possible to see the status it was awarded.
Since its closure, several of the associated outbuildings have remained in use: some are now privately owned, and some are retained by mental health services to house the criminally insane–but the main building has long fallen into disrepair. Frequent attacks by vandals and arsonists haven’t helped, and all that’s left is a shell.
Albeit a bloody creepy one…
You can learn more about Hellingly here, and here, as well as take a photographic tour on the Abandoned Britain site and read the account of a site visit by a UE group.
Posted by loummorgan on May 31, 2011