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Thread: St. Johns Hospital, Essex feb'11-dec'12

  1. #1
    Join Date
    April 2012

    Arrow St. Johns Hospital, Essex feb'11-dec'12

    Hello there peoples:)

    If you fancy coming on a little walk around St. Johns hospital then have a flick through these pic's that Iíve taken over the last 2 years...there are rather a lot of them, as there are many different parts to see, so if the mods want to cut the report down to a more manageable size feel free to do so (just hope we donít bump into each other where no one can hear you scream
    I know this place has been covered many times before, but I canít help feeling that it has been underrated and deserves more exploring.

    I first visited the place a couple of months after it closed in 2010, I mainly got external shots for the first year as sec were always floating about and I was always being caught. Itís not that I have any inside info, Iím not that lucky, itís due to its location being on my doorstep I have been fortunate to have had many explores, sometimes successful and other times not, but through persistence, bordering obsession some may say??? I have managed to work my way through most parts of the hospital....the mortuary is yet to be infiltrated...I havenít given up yet and thereís still time so who knows!

    Sadly over the last year the hospital has quickly gone downhill with thieves wrecking the place and taking any available metal. I really donít know what the future holds for the place will be, as local papers once said some of the buildings will be saved and converted into flats, but now I fear demolition could be on the cards if some of the buildings have deteriorated, well the developers would like people to believe so as it makes life much easier for them, which I disagree with of course, most of the buildings can be saved if the will is there as they are structurally sound.

    I really hope that the current property developer has an interest in preserving the local history and doesnít go down the typical easy route of maximising greed and profit and churning out more tasteless miserable flats that add nothing to the local environment. The St.Johns Hospital site would make a fantastic little housing estate, ok the single story main hospital buildings wouldnít be suitable for redevelopment but the 3 and 4 story red brick buildings would certainly be ideal.

    A tiny bit of history....

    The St.Johns Hospital begun life during the 1920's as the Infirmary of the Chelmsford Union Workhouse. It finally closed in late 2010 with the patients being transfered to the nearby Broomfield Hospital.

    So on with a few external shots taken in early 2011...

    The large block with white pillars to the right behind the silver chimney is one of the maternity units, the smaller mansion to the left was one of the nurseís homes. The main single storey hospital canít be seen from this view, itís behind the maternity unit. The smaller buildings in the foreground are workshops, the boiler house being the largest.

    It was difficult to work out what these buildings were used for as they are relatively empty inside, they are connected to the chapel and the older nurseís quarters by a narrow pitched roofed corridor.

    When I first started to visit the hospital about 2 years ago I was intrigued by the overhead pipe work that snaked around the entire site, it gave the place an industrial feel as no attempts were made to conceal them, which I liked:). As usual metal thieves have been slowly dismantling parts and virtually all of the visible pipe work surrounding the buildings has now gone.

    These 2 siloís have since disappeared but the chimney still would probably be much harder to sneak that out without causing some attention.

    The boiler room

    The Maternity Block before the metal shutters were put up...I always seemed to bump into sec cycling about at this spot. The hospital had only been closed a few months and the interiors were in perfect condition, no trashed walls or metal stolen when I took these in feb 2011...I hadnít managed to get in yet but you could see through the windows it was how they had left it, some folks had got in as pics were about but I had to wait nearly a year before I could.

    One of the great things about having a local explore is being able to visit it at different times of the day and year. It really makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of a place when the evening sun warms the lovely red brickwork. The lead spire on the roof of the chapel looks a little messy since this shot was taken as the thieves have had a go at it...I did read in the local paper that some folks were actually arrested for the theft, which makes a first! These late Victorian buildings may not be the most beautiful or elaborate in design but they display the classic well built industrialised style suited for their purpose, and I have grown very fond of them over the years and will surely miss them if yet another boring bland block of flats is thoughtlessly spewed up in their place.

    Remnants of the pipe work which was raised about 15 ft on stilts.

    Left is the small mortuary which I havenít been able to see inside yet, maybe I never will, but it would be nice too as Iíve been soooo patient and we all know that feeling of wanting to know what could be hiding inside! Saying that, I tried to get inside the small mansion for over a year, eventually stumbling across a long ladder in one of the corridors which I stashed in the undergrowth for another day as it was getting dark. When I eventually got into the mansion it wasnít worth the wait as it was like new inside, no decay or atmosphere...but worst I kicked over me tripod when my phone rang which gave me a fright and broke my 50mm which Iíd only used once before, it could have been worse, I tell myself to make me feel a bit better;)

    There are 2 lovely rows of mature horse chestnut trees, about 8 in total, it will be such a shame if these go.

    The rear of the chapel which is on the first floor.

    The old nurseís home. PIR belted out a spooky recording like some freaky zombie warning you that sec were on their way, it caught me out quite a few after been turfed out Iíd often go and pay the old Marconi factory a visit, the same security firm patrol both sites so it often got embarrassing as id meet the same guys twice in one day, they didnít speak particularly good English but it was a hell of a lot better than my Polish. I had to speak to their boss on their phone the first time they caught me as the poor guy couldnít find the words to say what I was doing inside, I managed to talk him out of calling the old bill, so from then on it was usually just grim looks and the shaking of heads from sec and id slump off feeling a twat again:p

    The single storey white wards that came off the main central corridor of the main hospital.

    The rear of the main hospital

    The wards at the rear of the hospital which backs onto a golf course, thereís a little clue:)

    Back of the nursery

    Rears of the maternity block, the green shaded out windows are the delivery rooms/theatres

    The main entrance

    This building would make a great conversion rather than being flattened

    The Sewing Rooms

    Silver chimney near the boiler room

    One of the smaller boiler rooms

    A little look around some of the wards...

    Mental Health ward

    Childrenís ward

    Children painted the ceiling tiles

    Staff messages...I always find these kind of personal touches rather sad to read as the place obviously played an important part for so many people.

    Maternity Unit

    Office off the small corridor in Ante Natal Ward

    I hope these poor guys pull through;)

    These ones didnít make it...looks like suicide

    Back into the main hospital and Operating Theatres

    The old nurseís home

    Along the narrow corridor...

    And up the stairs into the chapel....

    Which is just one big pigeon loft

    The back of the chapel

    More nurses rooms

    I will just show you inside the mansion so that you donít waste your time if you visit!;)

    I waited so long to see in here...a bit of a come down really, nowt about:(

    And finally....the Sewing Rooms

    I love the way the green ivy has grown across the green room and last yearís leaves have turned brown and dropped, looks like one of them Goldsworthyís natural installations...donít u fink? :)

    So thanks for takin the time to have a look!!!

    Well I hope you have enjoyed your little tour around St. Johns and maybe this has tempted some of you to have a mooch about before itís too late. Part of it was supposed to be demolished in the summer of 2012 but sheís still hanging on, if i eventually manage to get into the mortuary and if thereís anything interesting IíII update ya, in just a few pics next time;)

    Safe sploorin folks, byeee for now:)

  2. Thanks given by: AlexanderJones, Bones out, BTP Joe, corn_flake88, explorer101, flyboys90, gingrove, Lucky Pants, Mars Lander, mr_bones, Pen15, perjury saint, Pilot, Silent Hill, skankypants, sonyes, steve2109, TayTaySwifty, TeeJF, TheBitterestPill, UE-OMJ
  4. #2
    Join Date
    September 2011
    Near Manchester


    Wow thats just great I thoroughly enjoyed my virtual walk around there , theres quite a lot to see there it seems, really fab images and some pretty bizzarre but ace head gear :D
    My Flickr :

    You think Adventure is dangerous? Try routine, it's lethal ! :)

  5. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  6. #3
    Join Date
    January 2012


    Thank you for that report - I really enjoyed looking through it all. Great stuff!
    Why go through a door when there's a perfectly good window?

  7. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  8. #4
    Join Date
    April 2012


    Got some crackin shots there!!

  9. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  10. #5
    Join Date
    September 2011


    Best report I have seen of this place! So much detail, it made me feel like I was walking around with you!

    Cheers for sharing it with us :)
    Urbex Photography | Exploring The Hidden Past
    Urbex Photography Website | Find me on Facebook

  11. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  12. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Centre of England or near enough


    Really enjoyed this report,last shot is amazing.

  13. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  14. #7
    Join Date
    December 2011
    West Suffolk


    Lovely report, thanks for sharing, really well put together, you got to see a lot more of the place than I did when I went...
    If there is a fence round it then it must be worth looking at !

  15. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  16. #8
    Join Date
    October 2012


    Fantastic report I really enjoyed it!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  17. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  18. #9
    Join Date
    December 2012
    NW London


    Really great to have a virtual walk round as this seems like a big place with lots to see.
    Ay idea what those birds were?
    Strange feeling when reading the staff messages, you've captured the place so well.

  19. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
  20. #10
    Join Date
    October 2011


    Loved that thanks :).
    Looking beyond the pictures. :p

  21. Thanks given by: prettyvacant71
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