hellingly then and now

Hellingly Lunatic Asylum is one of the most iconic establishments of all time.


Home, hospital, adventure playground and latterly the building site of a complete new village.


In this chapter we take a look back at how some of the most familiar sights and sites within this massive complex have changed in the fullness of time. Some may find this a little harrowing after its former glory, some will find it enlightening, but it will certainly make people think.

Change is inevitable whether we like it or not, so let's embrace it and celebrate the life of this extraordinary building.

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1. The Hall. 


Amazingly, these three photos are all of exactly the same view.

Top left is circa 1984. Photo owned by Simon Cornwell & Peter Aitkenhead:  view the photo in its original context at http://www.simoncornwell.com/urbex/projects/he/hp/p1.htm

Top right is the same view in May 2009

Bottom left is a similar view on 17th July 2010 - the wooden floor has been removed, along with the brick supporting piers.

Bottom right is the same view in February 2011 during final demolition. The end wall has gone and the buildings behind can be seen.

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Top left is circa 1920. Photo owned by Simon Cornwell & Peter Aitkenhead:  view the photo in its original context at http://www.simoncornwell.com/urbex/projects/he/hp/p1.htm 

Top right is April 2009: repeated arson attempts have resulted in some silly holes burnt in the floor!

Bottom left shows the same view in November 2010 with the wooden floor and brick supporting piers removed. The once beautiful blue ceiling is blackened from the burning of the floorboards.

Bottom right: demolition February 2011.

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ABOVE: 2006, RIGHT: 2009. The pentagram has been the subject of much speculation and conjecture, as it only seemed to appear when it rained. Very clever and no, I'm not going to give the secret away!  CLICK HERE to see the above photo in its original context at www.derelicte.co.uk

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ABOVE LEFT & RIGHT: This is the fantastic piece of graffitti which I have adopted as a kind of "mascot" for the ghost-of project. I have christened him The Guardian, because he always stood very proudly and defiantly at the corner of the hall as though keeping watch over it. This is maybe a little of a difficult one to spot, the reference point for both photos being the old chap's cane. The photo on the left is dated August 2009, the one on the right is February 2011. We had to look quite hard to find him, but still just about there. This rather choked me up seeing him like this... <:o(

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Again, 3 very similar views of the same location: this time looking at the hall from the south side (from the frontage of the site. TOP LEFT is August 2009, RIGHT is May 2010 and BOTTOM LEFT is  FEBRUARY 2011.  All of the viewpoints are taken from within a few feet of eachother, on account of various parts of this side of the hall being gently removed.

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2. External Views



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