Tales of the Urban Explorer: Middlewood Hospital Chapel
Close to a private housing estate lies Middlewood Hospital Chapel. Getting a good view of it was tough as it is set inside a jungle nowadays.
We skirted the perimeter thinking we would be eaten alive by thorns, brambles, and creepers if we attempted to take them all on.
Just outside the city of Sheffield was a psychiatric hospital named The South Yorkshire Asylum, which was built in 1869 and opened in 1872, and was designed by architect Bernard Hartley.
Its name was changed quite often (West Riding Asylum from 1890, West Riding Mental Hospital from 1930, Middlewood Hospital from 1948), and reported 1,189 patients living on campus in 1975.
The church was built a little later in 1875 and supposedly used by these lunatics locked away in the asylum to repent their 'sins'.
The names have changed over the years, which are a product of the signs of the times. Asylum (Lunatics), Mental (a little better), and then dropping the ‘mental’ altogether.
Having checked all around one side, we found a hole through the brambles and cagily threaded our way toward the old church trying not to get pricked or be tripped by the creepers.
Getting around the grounds of Middlewood Hospital Chapel was tiresome and required you to follow badly formed trails of stomped-down brambles that insisted on attacking me.
We assumed this was not the way inside; it hasn’t been opened in years.
This Grade II listed building is for sale like many other old churches. It's also a massive liability and that is why the buyers are not queuing up to purchase it.
If they included several machete's, a year's subscription to the 'clear your gardening shit' service, several hard-core strimmers, and some added lawnmowers then it may prove more attractive.
Being skinny is always an asset during explores and I was tested at points.
Finally, we found the way in and viewed the devastation inside. It was not a pretty sight anymore.
Either someone's been excavating the floor, it disintegrated or it was removed. Where the pews used to be, there are now large craters. You can at least walk the walk down the central aisle.
The old organ survived but must have been pulled down from its original location. No wonder it is in such a state, that and the bird-shit.
My conquest for a piano or musical instrument that still plays continues. I did try and pressing the keys resulted in them getting stuck and yielding zero sound.
The path to the old bell tower had been blocked off. I wish they would leave the interesting bits open, inconsiderate bastards.
There was some graffiti but the windows had been spared.
Those planks tell me something used to be up there. I suspect that it was the organ that used to live before some dickheads dragged it down.
Seeing outside light is not good and will accelerate the decay of what’s inside more quickly.
That’s not been opened in some time.
Why there is anti-climbing fencing inside is a good question and one I cannot answer.
The years of dust and decay accumulates quickly.
A chair up there means someone used to sit there. We could not be arsed climbing up as there appeared little to see.
Is this a half-hearted attempt at renovation?
It would make for a massive house, that would require tens of thousands to renovate, but would you like to live next to the graveyard which is included in the deal?
I leave the externals mostly for when we leave. It was not easy to photograph due to the dense foliage.
As ever we found a much easier way to exit the grounds without getting even more scratches than I had already managed to accumulate.
This is a recurring theme with me; always check out ALL of potential entry points before choosing the first one.
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