Denbigh's Victorian asylum ready for demolition
Monday, October 6th 2008
JUST four weeks before demolition work begins at the former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh the Evening Leader has gained exclusive access to the decaying Victorian asylum. Anything of any value has been stripped from the Denbighshire building by bounty hunters looking to pick up a piece of history – or to make some quick cash.
What's left of the wooden parquet floors – once painstakingly polished – are rotten and crumbling with gaping holes dangerously widening as they collapse.
Cast iron radiators have been ripped off walls or are missing altogether and any brass fixtures, from light switches and bolts, to door handles and hinges, are missing.
The majority of windows, both internally and externally, have been smashed and doors ripped off hinges.
Dry rot and mould runs along the walls. Ceilings have collapsed and floorboards creek precariously underfoot.
Lead has been stolen off the roof so rain falls through the tiles and into the building which has caused the upper floors to collapse.
The section of the hospital earmarked for demolition is covered in graffiti and has been a target for vandals.
The main hall, where the first patients' annual ball was held in 1852, has twice been deliberately set on fire and the main stage stands charred as it falls apart.
Other sections that will be torn down – including the old staff shop and canteen as well as old offices and patients' rooms – have sections of the roof missing, ceilings have fallen making some sections impassable.
Away from the main building sits the chapel which has been pillaged of all of its wooden pews, slate flooring and stained glass windows.
Opposite, in the mortuary, the doors have been ripped off frames and discarded and the brass hinges taken - even from the refrigerator.
The enamel autopsy table has been smashed and blood splatters adorn the tile walls.
Built over four years from 1844 to 1848 when it opened, the hospital, situated on Nantglyn Road, once housed 1,500 patients.
It was the first psychiatric institution in Wales and employed a huge number of people from Denbigh and the surrounding area.
But in 1987, in a process which began with Enoch Powell's infamous Water Tower speech in 1961, when he proposed that psychiatric care facilities be switched to community care instead of institutional settings, a 10-year strategy to close the hospital was formed.
It closed in stages from 1991 to 2002, with the main building shutting its doors in 1995.
This article was published by Evening Leader on Monday, October 6th 2008 and NOT owned by nor affiliated with opacity.us, but are recorded here solely for educational use. The photographs featured in the article are randomly selected from the North Wales Hospital (Denbigh Asylum) galleries on opacity.us unless noted otherwise; they may not directly relate to the article subject matter except for the site location - any other relation is purely coincidental.