West Park Abandoned Asylum
West Park Asylum (or West Park Hospital) was a large psychiatric hospital in Epsom, Surrey. The hospital was designed by William C. Clifford-Smith (architect to the London County Council), who was also involved in the design of nearby St Ebba’s Hospital. The hospital had been in planning since 1906, and by 1917 it was largely complete; however, the outbreak of war postponed opening until 1923.
In November 2010, demolition of the former hospital buildings commenced. As of April 2011, much of the centre of the site as well as several wards have been cleared.
The hospital was the last great London asylum, and the last of the Epsom Cluster, a group of 5 mental institutes (the others being Horton, Manor, Long Grove and St Ebba’s.) The asylum follows the compact arrow design, with external villas.
When complete the hospital could cater for around 2,000 patients of mixed class, and hence the site had extensive boiler houses and plant rooms, a large laundry and a substantial water tower. There were enormous kitchens located behind the canteen, and in turn this was behind the main hall/ballroom. However, the main hall suffered an arson attack on September 30th 2003 and is now a burnt out shell. The asylum also boasted its own railway but this was removed in 1950, and no trace remains except around the central engineering block. The main stores and sewing rooms were also located here, but other services, such as the mortuary and chapel, were located by the entrance road, along with two lodges for the matrons and a large manor for the superintendent.
The hospital was slowly run down from the mid 1990s, and by 2003 most of the hospital was closed and derelict. A few outer ward buildings and villas remain open today and are still used for psychiatric treatment. As the hospital is largely derelict, it is of increasing interest to urban explorers who visit for the sheer size of the hospital, and also for many hospital items still in situ, such as beds, kitchen equipment and personal items. A padded cell is also of interest to explorers.