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.