Wednesday, February 4, 2009

London Asylum for the Insane - London, Ontario

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I decided to post some old pictures of an exploration I did a couple of years ago at the London Asylum for the Insane. The old Asylum sits on the grounds of the current London Psychiatric Hospital (Regional Mental Health Care).
A bit of history:

The London Asylum for the Insane was opened on November 18, 1870. Dr. Maurice Bucke was the second superintendant for the London Asylum (1877-1902). Reports indicate that Dr. Bucke favoured humanitarian treatment of the mentally ill and that he attempted to improve mental health through providing patients with beautiful surroundings (the Asylum was a working farm)and many social activities. Dr. Bucke is also said to have limited patient's use of alcohol and the hospital's use of mechanical constraints as a form of control.
A more controversial treatment method that Dr. Bucke used was his gynaecological surgeries, performed on over 200 women between 1895 and 1901. The theory at the time was that a women's mental health was intimately linked to her reproductive system.
The building you see in the picture was not the main building but the Infirmary or Exam building. The main building was demolished in 1975. There is also the original chapel and barn on the grounds as well as the current and active London Psychiatric Hospital.
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Picture 066
Map picture



25 comments:

Corker2 said...

Humm . . . a rather interesting place to visit. Wonder what's inside? I'd snoop around there, if I had the chance. Wonder if it's Haunted?

Al Ebaster said...

A real shame you couldn't get in, I bet it's a real gem inside. Still, these are great photos, thanks for them!

Anonymous said...

In if you were to get inside you wouldn't get to far, the floor and stairs are rotted out completely, along littered with dead animal carcases. Its been said that vultures that live in the top of the building also on the top floor, I have worked here for 2 years and haven't seen any myself. Yes this place is guarded and gated with 10 foot high fences, and the doors are heavy bolted up due to the unsafe structural issues with the building

phrenzee said...

It's safe inside. The stairs are not rotten. This building is actually the Medical Examination building. I believe it opened in 1903.

Inside photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/phrenzee/sets/72157612505333542/

Anonymous said...

hey, nice exploration!!
i'm very interested, i work in performances and would love to use a space like this...
could you tell me where it is exactly??
thanks!

Anita said...

Phrenzee: How did you get in? I've been fascinated with this building for years...

Anonymous said...

Wow...my mom would love to see these pics...she lived nearby from the 40's to the 60's and whenever someone escaped, a huge siren sounded and all the moms went running to get their kids in the house...

Anonymous said...

Wow...my mom would love to see these pics...she lived nearby from the 40's to the 60's and whenever someone escaped, a huge siren sounded and all the moms went running to get their kids in the house...encoun

Heather said...

Fyi - this is on Highbury Ave in London on the east side, just south of Oxford on the grounds of the current Regional Mental Health Care London.

Anonymous said...

You may be interested in my blogs,
http://kayfgibbs9.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get in? / is it still standing?

Heather said...

I'm not even sure it's still standing - the last time I heard, it was, but it's so old I can't imagine that it wouldn't be demolished soon. I didn't go in, but others have - check out Phrenzee's photos on the link above you.

Anonymous said...

hey um uh i dont know if this is off topic but um i was playing zombies on black ops the other day the map is verruckt i was wondering if that was a real asylum some people say it was somewhere in london i googled it and i came this the asylum verruckt was for all sorts of defects from being deaf all the way to being crazy and i was just thinking maybe its a real asylum i have also been told other that it being real that it was home to a lot of murders massacres and suicidal events im just a curious person and would want to know more thanks

Anonymous said...

Great article.

No, this building is out of bounds now. They use to do tours inside the asylum for educational purposes. But now they have closed the tours and everything so you can't get inside it.

Heather said...

Hi! It's Heather - I have never heard of Verruckt being a real asylum, however, I wonder about London England?

Anonymous said...

My cousin works at the new psych hospital, this building is still standing behind it. It was boarded up within the last couple of years though. She did say you can hear weird stuff in some of the other buildings though, such as the rec centre. She also said that if you are in the basement where the gym is located in one of the buildings you can hear someone running vigourously above you. You often feel very creeped out, even just sitting near it in you car it definitely gives of some strange energy.

Anonymous said...

I had a great aunt or great great aunt who died in 1916 who was a patient at the London Insane Asylum. She supposedly had dementia, and there were no nursing homes or other facilities like that to house people with dementia. I've driven around the buildings that are still standing and walked around a little - as much as you can. Definitely a spooky looking place. I'd go inside if I could too. But...you can't.

Anonymous said...

I did industrial duct work inside the current buildings back in 1998.

At the time I worked for a private contractor out of Stratford. In accordance hospital safety policy you have too take a brief course on the safety "do's and don'ts" [always keep an eye on your tools, what to do if caught alone with a patient in a secure area etc.] for contractors and for the patients, this is done with the hospital maintenance crew.

The contractors, grow a solid relationship with the maintenance men and women very quickly over the time it takes for such a project; as every morning begins with reporting to them and breaks are taken in the secure maintenance area. The supervisor of the facilities maintenance are was a wonderful guy who'd been at the facility for decades. He offered an "off the record" tour of the old hospital to the 3 of us that were there. Being a history buff, I was the only one who accepted. A decision I regretted almost immediately.

While the inside of the old buildings are fascinating from a historical standpoint, the imagery that comes to mind when inside is at times, gruesome. I [was] not a "believer" in the super-natural, until that day.

There is a sadness that you are hit with upon entering. It stays with you the entire time. The basement consists of draconian cells made of thick steel bars and old stone. There are still (at that time in '98) metal fixtures on the walls that were once used to chain patients to the walls. The top floor has a large boarded up area on the roof, that can be seen from the outside, that was utilized for sunlight as that was the room in which lobotomies were performed. And many other surgeries.

The supervisor made no attempt to "build-up" the tour before hand, and simply allowed me to look around without narration. But it was an experience and the feelings it provoked I will never forget. Not until after were the "stories" about that building shared with me.

Murders, sexual abuses, borderline atrocities were committed on human beings in those buildings. From patient upon patient, staff upon patients, and patients upon staff. Event the old horse stable that can be seen from Highbury Rd. had horrific stories attached to it.

The soties were not shared in a manner to terrify. Nor do I believe that much or any of it was urban legend. As i said the supervisor had been there for decades. The things he had seen with his own eyes in our "modern times" were enough to turn stomachs. He was one of the first people to see the results of the patients that had decapitated another in the 1980's. (Remember that?). He had heard stories, first hand, from doctors and employees who had worked there before him. I did not doubt this man. His intent was not sensationalism.

Inside the old building, there are noises, sounds, things that I could simply not "explain away".

I only remained on the job for two more days afterward. To this day (I've lived in Michigan for the past 10 years) when I return to London to visit family, I will not drive past that place.

Harry Throssell said...

I was a student psychiatric social worker stabled at this hospital for clinical experience in 1959. It had all the trappings of the old locked 'loony-bins' but a blessing was a delightful student from another university who became a lover and with whom I'm still in contact today. We both remained in psychiatry. Harry

Anonymous said...

I drive by this place to get to work everyday, and I've never once noticed this building or even knew about it. I'll be looking for it on my way next time. Anyone have pictures of inside?

Phrenzee's album is hidden :(

Anonymous said...

I did my psychiatric affiliation at this hospital for 3 months in 1954. I was student nurse from SJH in London. Later I worked there as I could not leave the patients...happy then to find out largactil had arrived...conditions still deplorable. Still doing ECt in series and no one talking to the patients...could talk for hours about this topic. ddp

Anonymous said...

I've walked around the exterior of the building several times during my stay at Regional. Everyone agreed that it would be an interesting place to wander about in. Sometimes you can hear voices emanating from the building.

linw said...

When I was in college, it was still open. In 1999. I actually went inside because it was part of my course, DSW. It was amazing. We went to the basement where they showed us all kinds of equipment they used in the old days. It was so awesome. I'd love to go back. I was actually offered a temp job taking care of a resident but was scared at the time. Kicking myself now, wish I had done it then.

Anonymous said...

Richard lives on.... He has been reincarnated and was on the ward i was on, he now has bipolar. He is stable now and has been released.. I asked him to shave his moustache.. I slept under his bed and seen the world of the unknown... it didnt scare me but it scared the less stable ones and the abused ones... I wouldnt recommend bothering King Richard V.... He is the master of the wards and the king of the patients... DONT FUCK WITH RICK> He will retaliate but not in a physical way.. stay away from his castle you bastards.

The Son and Ax King
A. J. B

Long live the King!

Kay F Gibbs said...

Well actually I think I have one up on you dude. I was connected to this thing in 1976, so back off me. These images were helping me connect with the psychiatric problems I was having.