West Park Asylum, Jul-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On July - 26 - 2009

The fact that there’s so many abandoned asylums across the country mystifies me, why did they all close? Where are all the former and/or expected residents? Are we all collectively more well-adjusted these days to the point where asylums are no longer needed? I think this mystery along with the general mystery of the mind and its maladies is what makes exploring abandoned asylums a particular favourite of mine, they have odd layouts and structures – nothing quite like an industrial or commercial site.  West Park has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, it’s one of the more popular destinations on the urbex ‘circuit’ and I assumed that because of this and the wealth of Flickr photos of the place that it was completely uninhabited and extremely easy to get into but only one of my assumptions was true. On arrival I followed my sat-nav right up into the complex, right past the security/construction hut and up to a place with at least 20-odd cars dotted about – not the abandoned site I was expecting! Whilst I was driving up the main internal road I did spot what appeared to be a derelict area in the background so I knew I was in the right place but I just hadn’t approached it in the best way, as it goes I’d have probably gotten away with parking amongst (what I assume are) the staff cars because there were enough of them that I probably wouldn’t have looked out of place.  Instead I just stuck the car around the corner in a less obtrusive place though I did park it on its own so perhaps it would’ve stood out more. Rather than walking right back through the main gate I wandered up a footpath alongside the complex and came across one of several holes in the fence that was a doddle to step through, still I ended up behind a building that looked like it might be in use so I was getting a little concerned but a short walk around the back of this building (and the accompanying van parked outside) led to an area that was clearly abandoned and a massive area it is! I wasn’t really limited by time during my explore at West Park but I knew that I’d only be there a few hours, I find that explores lasting much longer are more likely to result in detection so I don’t like to push my luck, with that in mind I treated the day as extended reconnaissance and tried to get a good feel for the place with a view to returning in the future. Once into the derelict area of the site I came across building after building, most of them sealed which I presume were wards though I couldn’t get into them to see what the layout was like, each of the buildings had an accompanying green hut that was half way between a summer house and a bus shelter. After coming across so many sealed buildings I eventually got to an area where there were lots of smashed windows, this allowed me to grab a couple of shots by putting the camera through the window and shooting with the flash on, the photos didn’t always turn out but it’s interesting to see what was in there. After the smashed-window building I found a door that had been sealed but subequently ripped open, I clambered in and found what is probably the grubbiest and most rotten room I’ve ever seen during an explore…

Whilst I was positioning my camera to take shots of this room I did have a feeling that there was someone nearby, I even saw a shadow (of what looked like a man) flick across one of the windows at the far end of the building which got my heart pumping a little bit! After staying still for a while I carried on taking photos but for at least fifteen minutes I had a definite sense that I wasn’t alone and sure enough when I clambered back out of the doorway I was confronted by a deer, yes – a deer! There seemed to be quite a lot of them in this area of the complex and whilst they were a bit jumpy they were very curious and in some cases approached me for a better look, only the babies ran away through fear – the adults just stood there stating at me. After the ‘Caution Wet Floor’ room I came across a boarded up prefab right next to what looked like an entrance to the site next to a large car parking area, I think this may be one of the boundaries between the derelict site and the live site, there was a van parked in the near distance as well but I couldn’t see any signs of activity so I carried on. The prefab’s lock was smashed off so I had a look around, the place was completely boarded up so it was pitch black inside but with my trusty head torch I could see that the place was in a derelict but not completely ruined state, I managed to get the chair shot below on a 30s exposure, at f/14 on ISO 1000 and that was with the aid of the head torch! Other than having a couple more face-offs with the local wildlife I didn’t stick around too much longer, I identified a few areas that warrant further exploration so no doubt I’ll be back at some point. I’m not sure exactly how to get into the main corridor network but judging by Flickr plenty have done so – if anyone who knows the place can offer some pointers please let me know.

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2 Responses to “West Park Asylum, Jul-2009”

  1. [...] Posted on August 1st, 2009 by sophos9 Our friends over at http://www.sickbritain has posted an update on West Park Asylum – can anyone help out with their question? I didn’t stick around too much longer, I identified a few areas that warrant further exploration [...]

  2. rae says:

    I’m doing a research project on the treatment of mentally ill individuals over time, and would like to visit the hospital.
    I live in Greenwich, London and would be reaching the Epsom area by train. Could you tell me the hospitals actual address/how to reach it?
    also how difficult is it to actually enter the hospital?

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If youre into Urbex or youre trying to find out what its all about you may find yourself needing some help finding out about the art of Urban Exploration.  Here at Sick Britain Im planning to put up original content like my What is Urbex? and Urbex Safety articles as well as posting links to other community sites such as 28 Days Later or Derelicte.

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