High Royds Asylum

(A few people have bubblemailed me asking about some of the sites i have visited, so im going to try and get some writeups done for the past sites i have visited, and will get them done for future sites as i go there, so on to the first without further ado, which is High Royds: )

High Royds was built in 1888 just outside of Bradford in the county of West Yorkshire in the UK. It was one of the many echelon style asylums, which means the wards were designed in an arrow shape, as opposed to the more popular pavilion style asylums where the wards were tightly clustered around each other.

High Royds was one of the last remaining asylums that also used the shared open wards not found in today’s modern mental health facilities, which now opt for a more private system of wards comprising of individual rooms for each patient.

Built to almost be a village in its own right, the idea was that High Royds would be capable of catering to all the needs of the staff and residents without them having to venture too far into the world outside. To this end High Royds was given better amenities than some villages we see today, boasting its own train station for the delivery of goods and supplies and a raft of shops and services including a library, a pharmacist, sweetshop, a butcher, a baker, but sadly not a candle stick maker. The site even came complete with its own tailors, upholstery and cobblers for the making and repair of clothes, furniture and shoes.

The asylum closed in 2003 due to budget cutbacks, but has seen plenty of activity since then. As the setting for both the movie ‘Asylum’ and the TV series ‘No Angels And Bodies’ it has seen its fair share of screen time, and now is proving just as popular on the small screen of a digital camera, having become a very popular site for the UK Urban Exploration culture.

It is entirely understandable why this would be the case, decorated throughout most of the site in ornately decorative floor and wall tiles the explorer is treated to wonderful vistas round every corner they turn. Sadly a lot of the buildings are now succumbing to moisture damage from holes in the roofing and pipe work being stolen for scrap value, but what does remain is as beautiful as ever.

Sadly a large proportion of the site no longer remains, having been destroyed or converted to make way for the identically named High Royds village, a new development of luxury apartments and homes set within the grounds of the old asylum, and sometimes even using the actual walls and buildings of the old structure.

No doubt the rest of it will follow suit, and the site is very much secured of late to ensure that no one gets in while the rest of the work carries on, but High Royds for the time being at least sports one of the most photogenic morgues and admin blocks that I have ever seen in an asylum so far.

A school which overlooks High Royds was where members of the UK band Kaiser Chiefs spent some of their formative years, and thus High Royds became the title and partial subject matter for their song “HighRoyds” – the first verse of which goes:

I remember nights out when we were young
They weren’t very good they were rubbish
Running round Highroyds isn’t fun
Just teenagers testing their courage

I would contend that running around the place is fun, you just have to have a certain frame of mind and a camera to document it with!

A few of the pictures from High Royds are:


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