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.
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…