High Royds Lunatic Asylum


High Royds Lunatic Asylum
Visited with: Alex & Klare
Visit Date: February 2015

Please Note: Entry is always through an open access point and not by forcing our way in….. We are explorers, not vandals.

History Courtesy of www.highroydshospital.com

High Royds, Psychiatric Hospital 1888 – 2003

After years of construction the new Asylum was to take in her first 30 female inmates on the 8th October 1888, all transfers from the overcrowded Wadsley Asylum, Sheffield.

Elizabeth Johnson was first woman to enter the Asylum in October 1888, She died on February the 15th 1904 and was laid to rest in Row 5 Grave 13 of the asylum cemetery Buckle Lane.

Elizabeth had been transferred along with 29 other inmates from the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Wadsley, Sheffield, on the 8th of October 1888.

The first 61 admissions were all female. It would be November before the Male patients began to arrive, again transfers from Wadsley.

Like the women, many had already spent considerable time in the West Riding Asylums prior to arriving at Menston and were in the main wretched and worn out. The majority of them destined to live out their years in the asylum receiving Palliative Care.

The first man in the asylum
Admission number 62
Charles Pett, aged 39
Occupation: Clerk or Messenger
Chargeable to Bradford.
Admitted on the 7th day of November 1888.

Back in those days the hospital was known as the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Menston. By the 1920’s she became Menston, Mental Hospital before eventually gaining the title ‘High Royds Psychiatric Hospital’ in 1963.

When ultimate closure came in 2003, she was one of the last surviving hospitals of her kind to be still functioning.

At one time the complex included a library, surgery, dispensary, ballroom, butchers,dairies, bakers, even it’s own linked railway. The addition by the 1930s of a sweetshop, cobblers, upholsterer and tailors completed what was really in effect a self contained village for the apparent insane..

Revered by many, the location has been used for media productions such as the film ‘Asylum’, and TV series, Bodies and No Angels, amongst others. David Dimbleby deemed the structure of such merit to feature in his BBC documentary series How We Built Britain.

Today, 2015 the old asylum breathes new life, unlike many others across the country that have met with complete destruction.

I hope you like the images. You can click any image for a larger view.

The Ballroom
High Royds Asylum Ballroom

The Barred Corridor – The barred gate was a movie prop.
High Royds  Asylum

Main Entrance Windows
High Royds Asylum Windows

Main Entrance Corridors
High Royds Asylum Corridors

The Climb to the Tower
It does not look much but I was breathing hard when I got to the top. If my memory serves me well there was 4 or 5 of these levels.

High Royds Asylum  Clock  Tower

The Clock Tower
High Royds Asylum  Clock  Tower

Final Thoughts
Unfortunately I got here a little to late into the redevelopment of the site. Most of the site had already been converted into the new accommodation. However, I did manage to see the ballroom, clock tower & the barred corridor so it was not a total loss.

The redevelopment is looking amazing and it is great to see that this site is now enjoying a new lease of life.

As always, thanks to my good Friends Alex & Klare for the company as always.

If you would like to purchase a print of any of the above photos or any photos on this website you can contact me via the email form on my contact page for more information.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Duggan

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