After my own hospitalisation in 2004 I began to be drawn to the Victorian mental asylums that are scattered around the UK. These once grand and now derelict buildings were often home to thousands of psychiatric patients with an array of disorders. Most asylums were so large that it wasn’t uncommon for them to function as insular communities, furnished with theatres, hairdressers, dentists, and sometimes even cinemas.
In the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher brought in the Care In The Community policy these asylums began to slowly empty the institutionalised into society in the hopes of decreasing costs and helping them integrate back into normal society. These once bustling hospitals quickly became defunct and were left to the elements to decay.
As I wander around these architectural carcasses there’s an eerie reminder of what these buildings once were: tattered clothes remain; artwork hangs on the walls of a cell-like room; medical syringes and bandages overflow from a broken cupboard. Darkness battles with shards of light that slither through cracked windows and I wonder what happened to all those that once called this home.