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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Dark Passage’s forays into the disused insane asylums that seem to litter the American countryside are moving and sad. Sad, because so many of these architecturally ambitious buildings are just being left to rot, but also disturbing for the implications of the activities and events which occurred within them. Another site, Dark Spire, has links to the US’s best-known disused asylums, including details of preservation societies and a history of the type – in particular those institutions established under the principles of mental health pioneer Thomas Story Kirkbride. While some are sliding into dereliction, a few of these institutions have been given a new lease of life. The Kings Park Psychiatric Center has a particularly fine website, while David Gallagher's Lightningfield also took a recent foray into another example of crumbling American gothic.

Urban archaelogy is a fascinating genre – a fascination exacerbated for Britons as we can hardly imagine so many vast structures existing unknown and unloved in Britain’s tightly packed urban fabric. But exist they do - the UK is apparently full of the unknown. Cane Hill Hospital in Coulsdon, South London, is an example of a homegrown abandoned asylum - this aerial photo gives you some indication of the scale. At Spring Hill in Wiltshire there is a citadel of similar size - only underground. The 2,000,000 square foot construction, built during World War 2, contains these remarkable murals decorating the canteen. Find out more about our bunker heritage at Subterranea Brittanica, the Cold war research group.

A few more links. Dead Malls is concerned with a more mundane element of the built environment, but no less interesting when left to the elements. The Urban Exploration webring has links to sites all over the world, while this site has details on closed stations along Paris's metro (see the forthcoming things 16 for a piece on Moscow's hidden metro lines). Ghost Towns are also popular on-line destinations, though few sites are as slick as the Ghost Town Gallery, a semi-professional travelogue across the abandoned communities of the old west.