Breaking into the Asylum
by Sam Langford
" We have not received an offer from any football club as yet but there
were a number of bids in the melting pot !"
He declined further information on the identity of the interested parties
but he added;
There has not been any official bid made by a football team to purchase the
former De La Pole mental hospital site near Hull, East Yorkshire. Malcolm
Scott from Scotts, the estate agents handling the sale for NHS, stated
" In all probability, the structures will be flattened saving maybe one or
two buildings. But most of the buildings are deemed obsolete."
According to East Yorkshire council, only the chapel is a grade II listed
building, the rest of the buildings can happily be demolished.
When Dependent visited the former hospital we found a hive of activity. A new
smaller, high security hospital, resembling a hi-tech penal institution,
shares the site in close proximity to a University of Hull college and
halls of residence, a crematorium and temporary police dog training centre.
The inside of the former hospital is a labyrinth of
corridors, linking the wards. The place displays a remarkable development of dilapidation
considering it only closed a year ago. The decay obviously goes back years,
we can only try to imagine what it was like for those who had to live
there. Old hospital furniture litters the place, lino floors peel, various
tones of colourless paint flake off the walls. It's hard to believe that
the decor ever helped anybody, never mind people psychologically disturbed.
We found various external reports strewn around, which criticised the
hospital and its treatment of patients.
These reports, some up to ten years
old, constantly contained assessments such as;
" ....the walls are drab and damaged, this is not an ideal environment for
the mentally ill."
"Many patients appear very unhappy and unusually disturbed......".
Julie, a former nurse who now lives in Shipley,West Yorkshire, stated;
" I left De La Pole in 1988. The last straw for me, was when they started
to let dangerously ill people out during the day, to fend for themselves.
It was a very sad place, much more could have been done."
In one of the wards a former patient had put a verse on the wall which was
entitled 'Insanity is......' It pointedly describes the daily routine.
In the former art therapy department, we found evidence that disturbed
people were actually breaking into the former institution. Graffiti adorns
the walls alongside paintings by former patients, these blood red daubing
include, " all must die" and " I fuck little boys". The former art therapy
department is adjacent to the police dog training centre. Surely only
another large US style shopping mall has the gravity to replace the old
hospital, psychology or the chemical cosh?