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Nearly four years ago a friend and I explored and photographed a small portion of the famed Hellingly Insane Asylum:  a sixty-five acre hospital complex that had sat, rotting and abandoned, for a few decades in the English countryside just outside the aptly-named town of Hellingly.  Even as far back as four years ago the demolition had already begun on this gorgeous derelict facility, so when our trip to Herstmonceux Castle yesterday took us right by Hellingly, we didn’t expect to find anything left standing when we popped in for a look.

The acres of land that once housed tuberculosis wards and insanity blocks have since been built up with new construction, the houses utilising the very bricks salvaged from demolition.   At the far back of the generic neighbourhood, past all the houses that look exactly the same, only two partial structures of this once-grand hospital are still standing, being torn down as the houses are built up, quite literally, across the street.   There exists a sort of eerie juxtaposition on those streets: houses with welcome mats and families already moved in and, directly across, buildings whose walls must’ve heard the screams of hundreds of patients.

It’s sad to see such a beautiful abandoned structure be torn down, especially since I would’ve loved to have the chance to photograph it once more, utilising what I’ve learned these past four years to bring the place more justice with my shots, but at the end of the day I’m very grateful I got the opportunity to see it when I did.

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Anyone who knows me knows I love abandoned buildings.  There is an eerie beauty to their derelict and forgotten states. My friend Barrie and I went and photographed the abandoned Hellingly Insane Asylum.  This place is HUGE, comprised of a multitude of buildings sitting on 61 acres of land.  We were able to get in through the fence and went in the nearest two buildings to the entrance: the female chronic and epileptic blocks.  Much of the buildings were empty and we spent a good one and a half hours exploring these blocks.We then spotted the ballroom / main hall across the yard but, in our attempt to get there, we were caught and told to leave the site by one of the construction workers.
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to see this behemoth of a compound before it is completely torn down. Hellingly Asylum opened in 1903.  This facility had it’s own railway line, boiler house and water tower, ballroom, and mortuary. Most of the hospital closed in 1994.  Since then, this 61 acre compound has sat rotting in a small town in East Sussex and is popular with graffiti artists, arsonists, photographers, and urban explorers.  Currently it is being demolished and salvaged for brick but as of Nov. 2010 a surprising number of the buildings still stand (at least from what we could see).