Don’t Open Dead Inside

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Return to the asylum, probably the last time I’ll venture in here. This is the the older maybe the oldest part of the hospital.

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The entrance from the inside. Down towards the main door turn right and the stairs that ascend to heaven.
Obviously I had the shakes when I fired the one below off. Things that go bump in the night are not usually known for their love of spray painting but when you creep around old buildings you can’t help but let these little messages put something in the back of your mind.

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Up the stairs, some parts are dark some parts aren’t. When I was a kid we used to play around in an old hospital for infectious diseases but we never ventured up the stairs in it.

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Top of the stairs turn right then left made it safe!

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Probably worth a couple of quid if you could get it out, no mass of riches inside it. A wee look around upstairs nothing exciting except soft and warped flooring. Time to get back out.

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Back the way we came turn right and out because if you turn left.

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There’s dead inside! At least they’re not infected or are they?
That’s it then pretty much all the buildings of Starthmartine Hospital explored before the bulldozers move in and flatten the lot. Click on this LINK if you want to see a previous trip with a bit more history on the place.

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The yellow area is where these photographs were taken, the blue is previous visited parts of the site that can be seen in the LINK above or below. Red is the area the hospital sits on.
The two unexplored buildings side by side are pretty securely locked up and look like they could be the ones in the best condition. The single building sits close to the old gate house which could be a security post now.

Nearly forgot if you’re going to be spending some time here and fancy relaxing a bit why not try out the luxurious pool facilities.

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The Baldovan Asylum previous visit.

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Voices in my head

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Taken an age to get this through PS without getting the dreaded PS Not Responding, aaaaaaagh!
This is the old part of the asylum/hospital I’ve been doing a bit of exploration in and around, more photos in the previous two posts.
In the first post I referenced the little known film Session 9 about a squad of asbestos removers working in Danvers State Mental Hospital.
A box of recordings is discovered during the work which turns out to be interviews with a former patient that happens to have different people living inside her and she can also speak in different voices.
When I was in one part of the buildings someone had written the following.

Don’t waste your time on me you’re already the voice inside my head…..

Merely lyrics from a Blink 182 song but try watching Session 9 then standing alone in an old abandoned asylum/hosital and reading them scrawled across a wall next door to the room marked therapy.

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The Asylum (Baldovan Institute)

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Urban exploration today. After looking at some abandoned US buildings I decide to make the effort to gain access to this gem not far from my house. The Baldovan Institute/Strathmartine Hospital here’s some history on the buildings.

Baldovan Institution was founded in 1852, mainly through the benevolence of Sir John and Lady Jane Ogilvy and from voluntary contributions and fees. It was established on the north bank of the Dighty as an orphanage, hospital and place of education and training for ‘imbecile’ children, accomodating 30 children. As such it was the first hospital of its kind in Scotland and the second in Britain. The Orphanage opened on 30th November 1854 and the Asylum opened on 6th January 1855.
In 1856 its name was changed to Baldovan Asylum and it expanded its operations after it received its licence under the Lunacy Act of 1858, which legalised its function as a home for children. It was found that contact with ‘imbeciles’ had a detrimental effect upon the orphans and so in 1867 the Orphanage moved to other premises and the Baldovan Asylum concentrated its efforts on the care and education of mentally handicapped children. By 1879 the number of children accommodated at the Asylum had increased to 70 and the site where the Administrative block now stands was acquired. By 1904 the Main Building wards were built and occupied by 160 children.

The Mental Deficiency (Scotland) Act was passed in 1913, providing state supervision of mental defectives, which led to an increased demand for accommodation at Institutions like Baldovan. Between 1904 and 1932 further developments included another ward, staff residency, school facilities, a large Recreation Hall as well as occupational therapy and training in domestic, farm and garden work.

In 1925 the Baldovan Institution Confirmation Act sanctioned the trustees to form an Incorporation with the counties of Aberdeen, Forfar (Angus), Kincardine and Perth to undertake the management of the hospital with provision for children of all four counties.

In 1948 the running of the Hospital was transferred to the National Health Service. Subsequent developments included a change of name in 1959 to Strathmartine Hospital and major building works in 1963-1965, which saw the demolition of the original premises and the creation of new and improved facilities, including three new single storey wards and a swimming pool. Two new 25 bed wards were opened in 1980.

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This wasn’t my first visit to the site a few years back on a summer’s evening stroll the good lady and I had a wee look around the grounds but stopped short of going in the actual buildings. On that visit there seemed to be an overwhelming feeling of sadness coming from the buildings.
If you go back even further say twenty odd to thirty years ago I was actually in the buildings with my grandad to visit his brother who lived pretty much his entire life here. My memory of that visit is being in a large packed hall, the noise of everyone chattering and someone offering me a boiled sweet from a wee paper bag. I kinda broke down and vaguely remember my old grandad not being best pleased with me for ruining the visit, I never got a return trip.

UntitledGreat uncle George

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I quite liked this metal topped post, maybe it was a light or just a sign back when it was in use. Behind this is a little wooden waiting bench, the photo was not very well focused so you’ll just need to use some imagination until I get back and do more shots.

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Entering the dormitory the spooky finger prints dragged down the door tell I’m not the first.

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Some staff in a similar ward at Baldovan Institute LINK There used to be a video on Youtube that had apparently caught a ghost on camera in these buildings. The footage was of a silhouetted figure moving to the left as the camera panned right, it was clearly the outline of a female and it always made me think that it had the look of an old style nurses uniform with high collar similar to the ones worn in this linked photo.

A day in the life of one of the nurses PART 1 and PART 2

King George V becomes patron LINK

The register of lunatics LINK

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You have to wonder what box of delights this cupboard would hold.

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Back in the childhood years we lived not too far from this hospital when it was still in use, occasionally you would hear the siren being sounded at night. We used to joke that it was a lunatic that had escaped from the hospital, this is one of the sirens they would have used to send the warning. A Carters air raid siren similar to this one LINK

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Sadly the buildings are now a target for vandalism and arson which will more than likely mean more buildings that Dundee will loose to memory although they do just manage to sneak on the Angus side of the divide. So we can’t really pin this one on the local council.

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The grounds of the hospital are now completely overgrown which makes walking from building to building a bit more difficult below is a screen grab of the site ringed in red and the blue square is the part of the grounds I was in.
As I rounded the third block on my visit something reddish brown caught my eye moving through the long grass at first I thought it was a deer but soon realised it was a dog, a big dog! My guess it was with whatever security they have going around the place. I decided to leg it and get out of there until the next time.

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When I came out of the buildings and headed for home a little known film popped in my wee brain. Called Session 9 it’s about some workers in an old asylum in the US, the Danvers Lunatic Asylum. Well worth a watch if you like a wee spooky movie on a dark night. Had I remembered this before I went in my visit may have been considerably shorter.

Also a book about the former Baldovan Institute/Strathmartine Hospital called Fifty Years In The System by Jimmy Laing is an interesting read

“We arrived at the main administration block to be met by the only doctor and i remember his words to this day: ‘Come in James, you’re going to be very happy here’. How those words haunt me now. The entrance hall, with the Superintendent’s office on one side and the Matron’s office on the other, had beautifully polished floors and was decorated with various pot plants in brass containers, but through the doors the reality of Baldovan existed.
I was taken away and bathed and put to bed. That night I cried my heart out. When I compared the surroundings of my ward with the ‘government green’ walls and the ‘government cream’ ceilings and the whole place smelling of Izal disinfectant to that of the entrance hall and the Superintendent’s office with its decor and plants where my mother had last seen me I suddenly realized where I was.
As I looked around the dormitory with every bed with its institutional red bed cover I thought, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen to me? Am I ever going to leave here?’ I was only nine years old”.

A like on Flickr today led to the discovery that someone has scanned the Baldovan part of the book. You can read it here LINK

Another update after finding a tweet linking to a video on youtube by wattage2007 a stunning piece of aerial footage to give you an idea of the scale of the site.

Urbex: House of Gray

Gray House

A Sunday afternoon/evening stroll turned into a little urban exploration, this time in an abandoned in 300 year old mansion. Constructed between 1714 and 1716 as a little country retreat for Lord Gray, the peerage is one of the oldest in Scotland Alexander Gray was created the 1st Lord Gray around 1440.

There has been a few attempts to restore the property but so far none have been completed, as you walk through this building there is still plaster board sheets, pieces of wood and lamps left as if tools have been downed recently although it’s been a couple of years.
Tragically if nothing is done it will probably end up like most historical building in and around Dundee…..confined to memory!

House of Gray, Liff

Above is the first view we had of the mansion, although it’s been a place I’ve wanted to visit for a while this was actually the first time I’d been there.

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The hallowed halls above. When you’re in these kind of places you don’t want to say anything about spooks and you certainly don’t want to see anything spooky but when you get home you kinda hope you caught something in a photograph. I didn’t see anything or catch anything and thankfully the good lady was with me so I could chuck her at any ghosts.

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Some of the original fireplaces. The majority of this building has the windows bricked up so when it’s dark it’s dark! My plan would have been to sit the camera on it’s tripod, bang on the shutter release and illuminate the room with my torch. I had left my tripod and the shutter release at home so I lit the shots with the torch and quick fired, I’m not to keen on filling the room with the flash and rarely take a shot with it on.

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I was hoping for a massive grand staircase in the main part of the building but sadly that detail was left out and a couple of spiral staircases is the best you get. It does make you wonder what kind of people once walked up and down these stairs and along the corridors on dark winter nights with nothing but a candle to light the way.

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The back of the house, some roof detail and the weather beaten Gray coat of arms which I suppose is holding up not too badly for it’s 300 birthday.

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The final view as wee make our way home, the boss says when we win the lottery she’s having that, although I’m not to keen to be sleeping in a house that’s reputed to be haunted. I think we’ll turn into a boutique hotel, nobody else has succeeded in restoring the property can anyone? Or is there something that doesn’t want the house changed?

Before we got to the house I did get the chance to relive my childhood years by doing a spot of plundering on a massive plum tree and pretty tasty they were too. Far better than anything I knicked from someone’s back garden that’s for sure.

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The Blue Room

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In an old house that sits all on its own in the woods the smell of smoke hangs thick throughout and the only furniture left is this old wooden sideboard. Every window is boarded shut so you need a decent wee torch to see inside the rooms when you’re on this urban exploration.

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The only window open is the one on the gable end of the building, burnt out by the fire contained in an asbestos lined room. The downstairs part of the building is locked which is probably a good thing I would imagine that part of the building is dark!

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