1818 - 1995
Founded in 1818 on Corporation Street, Stafford, this welcoming complex of now derelict buildings was later blessed with the more comforting name of "St George's Hospital".
Kelly's Directory, 1896, states:
The County Lunatic Asylum, Stafford, is a very extensive building of brick, with projecting wings, and is appropriated solely for the reception of pauper lunatics. A large detached wing was added to the south-eastern side in 1879 to hold about 90 patients, and in 1884 the building was further enlarged on the north-western side at a cost of about £40,000. The new additions including workshops and bakeries. The Asylum will now hold about 870 persons.
The following report was made following a visit to the Asylum in it's heyday:
"The Committee recently purchased for the sum £5,000 22 acres of meadow land adjoining the Asylum at Stafford, which had been in the occupation of the Asylum on an annual tenancy for many years, and was essential for the proper management of the lunatics therein. The buildings at Stafford, with some few exceptions, are in a substantial state of repair, but from the destructive habits of many of the inmates considerable outlay is necessary in the interior fittings from time to time, and repairs and renovation are continually required".
Since this ugly place is only yards from my home, I decided to take some pictures of it in case the kind of people who enjoy exploring tumbledown lunatic asylums might be interested. So here goes:
This is a small building on the outskirts of the complex. It's right next to the street, and the only one that's not surrounded by mesh fencing and razorwire. I'm not sure what it was for, but it was probably just a gatehouse or security building. The date 1882 is clearly visible above the entrance.
This is the North-facing frontage of the building, set back about 50 yards from the road but still clearly visible to passing traffic. As you can see, it's pretty big.
A long shot from the roadside. Sorry about the darkness of this picture. The complex goes on quite a lot to the right of the picture.
Looking West, this is the best shot I could get of the front of the East wing. This little road runs all the way down the front of the building. You can clearly see the tower from the previous picture peeping up from behind the roof.
This is the back of the East wing. As you can see, some modern development has gone on here before the place was closed in the mid-90s. This access road is also a little disused.
Following the road a little, I'm met with signs that read "ASBESTOS: DO NOT ENTER", and "DO NOT ENTER: DANGEROUS SITE". You got it. I'm staying firmly on this side of the barbed wire. There used to be an entrance to the complex here on the east wing, but now all of the tarmac has been consumed by plantlife. This shot is from the East side of the complex, looking directly West towards the centre.
Overgrowth is quickly swallowing this road up. Nature has already reclaimed half of it, with only the "W" from the "SLOW" warning remaining
This shot is taken facing Northwest from the south side of the complex (use the big tower from the second picture for reference, you can just see it poking up behind that tree). Although the fence looks rickety, there's some stronger wire fencing behind it and razorwire on top. There's a prison just next to this complex (what a delightful area) so I doubt razorwire is in short supply in Stafford.
Big gates protect the South entrance a little further down the road. To the right of this picture there were a few smashed up greenhouses. It looks like the plants did a little too well.
OK, much too well. The access road behind the gates is totally overgrown, although a hint of a road covered in moss still remains. Sooner or later this will be devoured as well. This is what around 10 years of neglect can do. Logan's Run didn't even get close.
The South of the complex. This is a view of the opposite side of the building to that shown in the second picture. Some artful types have managed to get in and scrawl graffiti on the walls above that majestic entrance by standing on the balcony above it.
This shot was taken from the far East of the complex to attempt to give some impression of the scale of the place. It didn't work, but this is probably some of the best free parking space within walking distance of Stafford town centre.
This is one Quality Dry Cleaning Shop that will never open again. The buildings in the foreground are part of a disused cleaning company. I guess it helps to have a dry cleaner next to a lunatic asylum... This one is taken from the West side of the building, looking roughly East.
Completing our tour, another shot of the West side of the building, looking East. This one is taken from just a little to the West of where the picture of the frontage was taken. The ramp on the right leads to some sort of loading bay for the old cleaning company. The bay doors hang wide open.
There's not really much more to say about this monstrosity. It's an extremely ugly and looming place, it's fascinatingly gloomy, and the fact that you're not allowed in by FIREWALKER SECURITY makes it even more interesting. I know that it's recently popped up on urbex:uk as a site of interest, so maybe someone will get some pictures of what it's like inside one day. They'll have to be quick about it, though, since in the last few days they've been adding more and more fencing around the place. It's probably not long for this world.