By Alex Jones
HARROWING photographs of a fire-ravaged, abandoned former NHS hospital and care home have emerged – as news breaks of EVERY major A&E department missing wait targets.
Unsettling images show the burnt-out husk of the defunct hospital’s basement; the overgrown but still stately façade of the once grand building; and a former resident’s room which has been completely trashed by both vandals and the passage of time.
Remarkably little history remains of Batley General Hospital near Leeds, UK, which shut 31 years ago in 1988, considering it would have served thousands of patients during its lifetime.
Subject to a huge fire in 2017, urban explorer and photographer FreakyD was keen to visit the site and catalogue what little heritage remains before the building degrades completely. The daredevil photographer also has a personal connection with the derelict property.
“My favourite aspect of the site, although I only found out after I had been, is the fact that my mother used to work here as a nurse as a young woman,” explained FreakyD.
“It’s nice to be able to see a part of your parent’s history and feel a connection through an exploration to those close to you.
“Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much longer the building will be standing. Large fires have left this building very exposed to the elements, the internals are sodden and filled with a damp and smoky smell. The roof has been mostly burned away the water damage is leaving floors soft under foot, making it a little dangerous.
“Unfortunately the rooms have been stripped back to basics so there is very little left of the ‘hospital’ itself. In one section of the building, which it was later converted into a care home there is still residents’ names on doors and personal belongings left behind. Many of the rooms are either inaccessible or destroyed though.”
The hospital first opened in 1929 and was known as Batley General Hospital until the formation of the NHS in 1948. The building then changed its name to the Batley and District General Hospital until it closed in 1988 when the newly built Dewsbury District Hospital opened nearby. For the first half of the nineties, part of the hospital became the Carlinghow Nursing Home before closing its doors for good in 1996.
For years, the building became increasingly dilapidated until 2014 when Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School bought the site and planned a £1.5million overhaul to house over 250 pupils. However, the project stalled and a major fire in 2017 – which produced a column of smoke visible from miles around – meant the renovation never took place.
FreakyD was upset the property could not be put to good use, especially considering the pressure the NHS is currently under.
“As you can see from the external photos it is clear to see that this building would have stood very grand in its heyday,” the urban photographer said.
“With the recent stories around the lack of space in health care it is sad to see buildings like this mothballed and left to rot.”
Earlier this week, newly released NHS figures show that every major A&E unit in England has failed to hit its four-hour waiting time target for the first time. All 118 units fell below the 95 per cent threshold in November as the NHS posted its worst performance since targets were introduced more than a decade ago.