Cane Hill, Abandoned Mental Hospital
August 26, 2006 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Cane Hill^ is an abandoned state run lunatic asylum (link contains tons of photographs) in South London. Built in 1882, the hospital for years housed Charlie Chaplin's mother (before he became wealthy enough to rescue her). Shuttered since 1990, the locations' inherent creepiness continues to fascinate urban explorers. Inside Out has a series of interesting pieces on the location, including music & paintings inspired by Cane Hill, an essay on the location, detailed floorplans and further photographs.
posted by jonson (18 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks - the photographs are fascinating, though the essay was fairly turgid I thought. The site reminded me of Philip Hoare's fascinating book on the now almost entirely demolished military hospital in Southampton - Spike Island: The Memory of a Military Hospital. Demolition started in 1966, by which time the building had had arson attacks and also been used as a set by Jonathan Miller for Alice in Wonderland. Hoare also found casenotes lying around - I'd be interested to know what the legal situation is about leaving patients' records in what's obviously an insecure environment.
posted by paduasoy at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2006

Oh, so cool. This is totally going to be my fortress when I become an evil genius. It makes great sense, most people will stay away because it's creepy. The few that come exploring will be perfect test subjects for my hideous experiments. Their screams will just add to the ambiance.

Now the question is, which is more evil genius appropriate? To buy it through a series of cleverly layered shell companies, or just, you know, become a squatter?

Decisions, decisions...
posted by quin at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2006

Great post jonson. The first (non-Wiki) link is not only a fascinating collection of photographs, but the accompanying writing is an interesting look into the author's life and views (the comments about psychiatry and depression in particular).
posted by biscotti at 3:53 PM on August 26, 2006

Yeah, I'm kinda regretting linking to the essay, it's somewhat tripe. But the paintings were great.
posted by jonson at 3:53 PM on August 26, 2006

posted by moonbird at 4:29 PM on August 26, 2006

Gosh, thanks for this. I wonder if you can see it from the London-Brighton train line - I'll have to keep an eye out next time I go down there.
posted by randomination at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2006

Fantastic. Thankyou so much for posting this. Fascinating stuff.
posted by ninazer0 at 5:00 PM on August 26, 2006

Amazing photos & comments. In fact the whole Mechanised is awesome.

I wonder if you can see it from the London-Brighton train line

Heh. I may be coming up to London from Brighton on Monday. I'll definitely look out for it now.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:22 PM on August 26, 2006

In fact the whole Mechanised is awesome.

You're not kidding, Clarissa - I highly recommend the section on the (disused, obviously) Tottenham Baths.
posted by jonson at 5:30 PM on August 26, 2006

So far I've loved Severalls in particular. It's a shame it doesn't say where the various extracts are from. (or did I miss something?)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:34 PM on August 26, 2006

[oh I did miss the appendices... is it all from
Madness in its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospital 1913-1997, Diana Gittens (London, 1998)]
then? Might have to get hold of that... ]

posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:36 PM on August 26, 2006

I've been enjoying the Mechanized site too - the photography is great and I love the attention to details. Another great post, jonson - thanks!
posted by madamjujujive at 6:17 PM on August 26, 2006

I just watched Silent Hill and these photos are kind of freaking me out
posted by jacob hauser at 9:20 PM on August 26, 2006

posted by caddis at 9:56 PM on August 26, 2006

Hrm. Every image I click on gives an error like "Error: Image File Missing (media/images/medium/rachelanddylan/IOc.jpg)"

posted by drstein at 10:17 PM on August 26, 2006

Yeah, the images on Inside/Out no longer have full size versions, apparently; fortunately there's a ton of photos over on the Mechanized site.
posted by jonson at 10:44 PM on August 26, 2006

If this post midly creeped you out, then you should see the movie Session 9
posted by Vindaloo at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2006

For more creepy illict fun, check out Infiltration .
posted by JDC8 at 4:56 PM on August 27, 2006

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