Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

By Mark McConville


EERIE IMAGES have revealed the abandoned remains of a Welsh hospital originally opened as a mental asylum that was taken over by the military during World War Two.

The haunting pictures show an aerial view of the sprawling facility, the long, snaking corridors and an empty dentist’s chair waiting on its next patient.

Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

Other spooky snaps show medical equipment and medication that was left behind, shelves filled with patient records and hand prints left on a wall.

The striking shots were taken at Whitby Hospital in Cardiff by photographer Antony Meadley.

Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

“Being alone in a building which is abandoned is almost like a form of meditation,” he said.

“Studying it to decide which parts will make the best image. I am also fascinated at seeing how nature starts to reclaim buildings and the stages of decay they pass through.

Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

“I want people to realise how transient humans and our buildings are and to record and share some of the history which will soon be lost.”

Costing £350,000 and ten years to build, the Cardiff City Asylum opened on April 15 1908. The main hospital building covered five acres, designed to accommodate 750 patients across 10 wards, five each for men and women.

Like many Victorian institutes, it was designed as a self-contained institute, with its own 150 feet water tower atop a power house containing two Belliss and Morcom steam-engine powered electric generator sets, which were only removed from standby in the mid-1980s. The site also contained a farm, which provided both food supplies and therapeutic work for the patients.

Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

The first medical superintendent was Dr Edwin Goodhall, whose then advanced approaches and therapies resulted in the hospital acquiring a reputation at the forefront of mental health care. Patients were also encouraged to take work and supervised tours outside the institute.

During the First World War, the facility was called the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital. During the Second World War, part of the hospital was turned over to the military, becoming the largest emergency service hospital in South Wales, treating British, American and German personnel. 200 beds were retained for civilian use, which enabled early treatment of post traumatic stress disorder of military patients.

Mediadrumimages / Antony Meadley

On July 5 1948, the hospital was taken over by the Ministry of Health as the National Health Service came into existence. After the introduction of Care in the Community in the early 1980s the hospital went into a period of decline and the number of resident patients reduced.

In November 2010 the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board decided that it was preferable to centralise all adult mental health care services at Llandough. The hospital finally closed its doors in April 2016.