A bit of a different report this time, a guided tour. For 3 days this year the Heights of Abraham decided to open up the deeper levels of the Great Masson caves. These appear to be trials in the hope to make this a more regular event. The tour took us, first into the usual show caves, before branching off to the deeper parts behind a big iron door. Plenty of interesting geological structures, but perhaps more interesting to us urban explorers a fair amount of structures and artefacts left behind from the caves lead mining days. The tour had us crawling through gaps, sliding down slopes and squelching through mud, all whilst being given a highly informative history of the system by the head guide Tony Wood (Chairman of the Peak Mine Historical Society). I would recommend keeping an eye out for this event in the future.
West Park Asylum (or West Park Hospital) is a large psychiatric hospital in Epsom, Surrey. The hospital was designed by William C. Clifford-Smith (architect to the London County Council), who was also involved in the design of nearby St Ebba’s Hospital. The hospital had been in planning since 1906, and by 1917 it was largely complete; however, the outbreak of war postponed opening until 1923. When complete the hospital could cater for around 2,000 patients of mixed class, and hence the site had extensive boiler houses and plant rooms, a large laundry and a substantial water tower. There were enormous kitchens located behind the canteen, and in turn this was behind the main hall/ballroom. However, the main hall suffered an arson attack on September 30th 2003 and is now a burnt out shell. The asylum also boasted its own railway but this was removed in 1950, and no trace remains except around the central engineering block. The main stores and sewing rooms were also located here, but other services, such as the mortuary and chapel, were located by the entrance road, along with two lodges for the matrons and a large manor for the superintendent. The hospital was slowly run down from the mid 1990s, and by 2003 most of the hospital was closed and derelict. A few outer ward buildings and villas remain open today and are still used for psychiatric treatment. As the hospital is largely derelict, it is of increasing interest to urban explorers who visit for the sheer size of the hospital, [...]
The hospital was designed by John Giles and opened on February 18th 1903, originally under the name Brecon and Radnor Joint Asylum. In 1921, it changed its name to the Mid Wales Asylum. It was designed to cater for only 352 patients, but by the end of 1925 455 were present. In 1994 the number averaged around 140. It closed on April 7th 2000 but because it was under used at this point parts of it had been left empty for years and this has left parts of the building in a very sorry state. The site was sold off to its previous chief medical officer for pittance, which was somewhat controversial in the local area.