Chesham Cottage Hospital, Chesham, April 2009
I had been meaning to visit this place for as long as I can remember and finally got motivated enough to do it after someone posted some pictures up of it on one of the numerous urbex forums. The problem with it is that its just a little bit too small and stripped of anything of any major interest but on arrival I thought there was still some mileage in it. The whole place reminded me of Harperbury Hospital in that it has decayed to much the same degree and so very little of the actual character of the place remains. It was opened in the late 18th C and was run voluntarily until the NHS took over in 1948. Before closing in 2004, it offered the following heath services - physiotherapy, phlebotomy, podiatry, X-ray, consultant outpatient clinics, audiology, enuretics. As an aside, this explore was probably one of the least enjoyable I ever have done; for a start I went solo - I don't scare easily but this place soon started to get to me. Most of it is pitch black and there was evidence that the local kids are using it for various dubious activities. It was absolutely tipping down so I got a right soaking and the (surprising loud) sound of water dripping through the building made jump quite a few times. Not good.
On arrival I am greeted by a fairly boring looking early 20th C. brick building.
I stepped into the entrance hall. The sight of the beer bottles and needles on the floor don't give me a warm, welcoming feeling.
I venture onwards and find two main wards, each opposite each other. Both wards are pretty stripped but less trashed than the previous rooms and each has a striking circa 1970's floor tile design. They are also very dark due to the boarding on the windows meaning each shot needs to be artificially lit.
Nice to discover a little bit of detail like this along with the curtain rails.
In an small annex off the wards I discover the remains of a bath and next to it a machine used for sterilising hospital equipment, tipped over at a 45 degree angle. Some toilet humour graffiti adorns the lavatories.
Out of wards and into the main connecting corridor, again pretty trashed but at least back in the daylight. Water was dripping through the ceiling making a surprisingly loud noise as it hit the ground. Occasionally it sounded like foot steps.
Leading off the corridor are a number of small rooms most of which are empty and/or totally trashed. One room contained the remains of what looked like a small gym or weight lifting department. I wonder if this is something to do with Physiotherapy. Another room contains the remains of a dark room, presumably once used for developing X-ray films.
I finally end up at the "back" of the building where I discover the kitchens, laundry and plant rooms. It's weird to find a lone dishwasher rusting away; why was it left behind? And what happened to the cooker/fridge/freezers etc? At the time the hospital was closed I'm sure the dishwasher was perfectly serviceable, along with the two ruined washing machines I find later in the laundry.
I'm nearing the end of my visit now and just want to take a quick look at the fairly extensive and overgrown hospital grounds. At the bottom of the grounds I find a totally torched cottage which perhaps once belong to the resident caretaker. The entire roof is missing but the splendid turn of the century enamel bath and boiler still remain, looking almost defiant in their repose, the bath full of leaves rather than hot, clean water. Oddly, there are also a line of empty dog food tins in the kitchen. How these survived the fire is anyone's guess.
View of the back of the hospital.