Lancaster Moor Hospital was Lancashire’s first County Lunatic Asylum. The decision to build it was taken in 1809, one year after the permissive County Asylums Act, 1808. Designed by architect Thomas Standen The hospital opened in 1816 as the ‘County Lunatic Asylum for the County Palatine of Lancaster’. The Asylum was extended in stages throughout the C19th and C20th, In 1878 the asylum acquired land on the north side of Quernmore Road and a large building known as the Annexe was designed by the architect Arnold Kershaw and opened in 1883 for the accommodation of 828 patients. The asylum was renamed Lancaster Moor Hospital under the National Health Service. The annexe and all associated buildings north of Quernmore Road had closed by 2000.
The buildings are constructed of stone; in the centre of the block over the main entrance is a clock tower about 100 feet in height, and there are smaller ones at the front extremity of each wing. The Asylum is a quadrangular building of stone construction, with a grand front, relieved by pillars of the Doric order, and at one time could hold up to 3,200 patients.
Revisited this one in order to photograph the murals on the wall in one of the wings. I had seen them on other peoples photographs but we missed this section the first time we visited in May 2013 owing to us having to make a swift exit after being spotted inside… Visited this time with Donna, we managed to succeed with the mural wards although we were limited with access to the ground floor only. I’m still glad we revisited and I had a bit of a wonder on the roof of the main building which has a nice mellow pitch :). We did manage to access and subsequently get locked in the main part of the Asylum as security and builders entered through a door and then locked our exit point. I didn’t snap any photos in the main part as we were too busy keeping our eyes on the activity outside before making our exit under the cover of the noise of a digger starting up :). Fun and games as usual!
Dont forget to check out the initial visit which covers the rest of the place from May 2013
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Who painted these murals?
I had no idea what the hospital was like, seems such a sad place. As a child, living in Fleetwood, we talked about it amongst ourselves and thought we would go there if we were bad. I actually think, looking back, that I thought it was just a made up place, but, sadly, as we get older and wiser we realize that such places existed. Now living in Cumbria, another such hospital has in recent years been closed, and the stories that I heard from there makes your blood run cold. I suppose that we mustn’t judge the past on present day values though. Girls of 16 locked up, for life, for having a child! Thank goodness those days are gone. Must have been very hard to work there and I am sure that the majority of the staff were wonderful people doing a job that I for one would find extremely hard to do.
I’m not 100% sure on the origins of the Murals, but I would assume they would have been painted by patients or staff. Art therapy was quite common in these sorts of institutions, ive come across all sorts of art work in various asylums, you should check out the photos of the ones at Severalls (search for the reports on my site) there are loads but these are some of the most impressive I have come across.
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