Barrow Gurney The Abandoned Asylum

I explored Barrow Gurney alone and took in the creepyness and horror of the present and the past of this place. I left Barrow Gurney when it was about to get dark and drove directly back to London. I slept badly the following night!

In order to prevent over crowding at the existing asylums in the Somerset Area in the 1930s it was decided to build a new mental hospital in Barrow Gurney. Work began in 1934, finnished in 1937 and opened in 1938. The Bristol architect Sir George Oatley designed the the hospital made of red bricks.

In the 60's the hospital's population peaked at 453 patients but numbers began to fall as more provision was made for care at home or by community support workers. By 1970 there were about 200 patients in care at the hospital and the number progressively declined until in the 1990s.

JPS (Jamie Paul Scanlon) made several art works in an on the Barrow Hospital buildings. Some where still there when I arrived. Many believes the place is haunted and JPS have contributed with illustrations to underpin the the creepyness of the place.

Work began in 1934, finnished in 1937 and opened in 1938.

In the 60's the hospital's population peaked at 453 patients!

In 2005 a national survey of NHS hospitals was carried out and Barrow Gurney became famous for being the notorious 'Dirtiest hospital in Britain'. Barrow hospital had particular poor standards of hygiene with "an unacceptably dirty environment". This harsh criticism led to the closure of the hospital. Two of the remaining wards were shut down immediately, and by 2006 the last ward closed it's doors and Barrow Hospital was left to decay.

In an Interview JPS told «I did not have permission to paint at Barrow however i knew it was going to be demolished and security there very weak so it was a perfect place to make sure I got my work looking right although they still get painted in a very short amount of time I never had any problems although it’s pretty dangerous there.»

JPS is based in Weston-Super-Mare near Bristol. JPS have made several street art works similar or inspired by Banksy.

The art works at Barrow Gurney are legendary and I felt lucky to experience them first hand. Barrow Gurney is not exactly an urban environment and far from mainstream street art locations.

I visited Barrow Gurney in December 2014. The asylum buildings are not there anymore, and from media, I have learned that the area is developed into appartments and houses for happy families, unaware of the dark past of the place.

How life really was as a patient on Barrow Gurney, is difficult to imagine. If you are struggelig with your mental health and psychical well being, you need good care, and if needed, continious care in small units with a warm and supportive environment. The Barrow Gurney Hospital seems to have failed in the past and untill the end with appropriate mental healthcare.

I left before dark, but the place has made an enduring impression in my mind....

Created By
ole eyra