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Thread: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)

  1. #1
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    Default Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Whilst this all still seems relatively new, lone urban explorers have been quietly sneaking around for decades, and it was only the social networking provided by the Internet that allowed explorers to hook up, explore together, share locations and form communities.

    Every now and then, I get sent pictures from explorations which took place in the eighties and nineties. These are extremely interesting as they often feature buildings which were demolished before urban exploration became more popular; buildings that would’ve been targets if they were still with us.

    Therefore I was extremely pleased when Brett Robertson, now living in New Zealand, found a cache of old photographs.

    "Of particular interest is a small collection of photos I took of Long Grove Hospital at one of the many visits friends and I made to the hospital having 'discovered' it abandoned in 1995. Unfortuantely by this time vandals had all but destroyed the complex and the theatre had been torched. I have often wondered what became of the beautiful buildings and after a google search have discovered your urbex site and learnt that Long Grove has in fact been redeveloped into housing. I am fascinated by your site. The experiences at Long Grove were truly amazing. Although extremely eerie and an almost sinister experience.I developed much confidence by braving the last bus trip from Surbiton after a few prepatory ales and roaming the compound (and basement by torch light) on a few occasions. I actually enjoyed the tranquility of being at Long Grove and absorbing the history, while at the same time letting the imagination run wild contemplating what must have gone on there in the past."

    These are his pictures...



    This is a possible hospital worker's cottage, or small gatehouse, in the grounds. Architecturally it’s more akin to 1930s suburbia than a Edwardian asylum. However, the triangular roof decoration is shared by the gatehouses of Horton Asylum (just across the road). As G T Hine designed both, and at this point was busy rubber-stamping the same asylum design all around London’s outskirts, then the similarities between both should be expected.



    This building was probably either nurses' accommodation or (more likely) a patients' villa. Again, some of Hine’s architectural style can be see here with his distinctive use of pebbledash on the upper floors (a nod to the Arts And Crafts movement).



    As Long Grove was essentially a slightly better version of Horton (with the position of the Administration Block being the only real difference) then I can use the Horton floor plans to try and identify the main asylum buildings. This ward is easily identified by its four sequential bay windows. We're actually in an airing court, in the heart of the complex of buildings and this is either the Laundry Patients (Female) day rooms or the Chronic And Working Patients (Male) day rooms.

    Note the horizontal lines of black bricks which serve to highlight the buff concrete lintels above the windows. Whilst this banding is a characteristic of Hine’s designs, this colour scheme appears unique to Long Grove. Oddly, surviving building at Long Grove (including some of the ward blocks) don’t share this colour scheme (they use Hine’s classic standard yellow stock bricks for the banding).



    The blue colour of this unidentified room suggests a workshop or storage area, perhaps in the male half of the asylum.



    This shot is really difficult to identify. It’s possible that Long Grove and Horton also differed with respect to the configuration of the boiler house, water tower, kitchen courtyards and so on. This may explain why I’ve failed to identify this view using Horton's plans.

    My one suggestion is that we’re looking over the kitchen courtyard, with the Stores to the right, the start of the Kitchens to the left, and a large Meat Store in the centre.

    However, the large building just off to the left of the shot looks a little too grand, and too tall, to be part of the kitchen complex.

    Any ideas?



    I had more luck with this shot. It’s taken from the first floor, looking across the semicircular main corridor and over towards the back of Female Acute Ward 1-44 (to use Horton's naming). This the only ward to have the placement of the sanitation tower (to the left) and the small lavatory spur to the right which has allowed me to identify it.

    Note again the distinctive use of the black bricks for all the banding. This gives Long Grove a rather unexpected grim appearance.





    This is obviously the Ballroom and, unfortunately, in a familiar state for most urban explorers. However, this was back in 1995! It would seem arsonists have been burning down the Ballrooms since the asylums started closing. An interior view (below) shows the doors bricked up with breeze blocks (suggesting the hall has been in this state for a while).



    As Long Grove has been converted to housing, I’ve only visited once to look at the Administration Block. But when I went looking for Netherne's cemetery I got chatting to a David Wilson Homes representative on the Netherne site. She'd worked on the conversions of Netherne, Warlingham and Long Grove. Her memories of Long Grove were not good: she hated it and found it a particularly creepy and eerie place.

    It had its famous patients: Ronnie Kray was admitted to Long Grove. They dosed him on Stermatol and assigned him to Napier Ward. He made the radiator his best friend and thought the man in the opposite bed was a dog.

    When Iain Sinclair trudged around the M25 for his book “London Orbital” he also trudged around Long Grove and Horton asylums en-route. Long Grove was secured, guard dogs on patrol, access impossible. It’s a pity there wasn’t a friendly urban explorer to call on at the time.

    “In a pub, keeping to the generic rules of crime fiction, she fell into conversation with a ‘large balding man, dressed in grey overalls.‘ He was a driver; for years he had delivered medical equipment to the hospitals in Horton Lane. ‘He moved closer and told me in whispers that the Long Grove had mysteriously burned down, along with the records, five years previously... He lowered his eyebrows and told of strange goings-on, unexplained fires, weird disappearances.‘ When Rachel produced her notebook, the man backed off, retreated to the fruit machine. ‘More than my jobs’s worth,‘ he muttered" - Iain Sinclair, London Orbital

    If the Internet urban exploration movement started ten years before it did, then Long Grove would've been a right-of-passage, the first asylum to be explored, the first to be mourned when it was redeveloped. Good to know that others were there with cameras first.


    Pictures: © Brett Robertson 1995
    Text: © Simon Cornwell 2007


    All the best,
    Simon

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    That was so interesting, Simon. Enjoyed that very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    Note the horizontal lines of black bricks which serve to highlight the buff concrete lintels above the windows...
    Note again the distinctive use of the black bricks for all the banding. This gives Long Grove a rather unexpected grim appearance.
    The brickwork and colouring gives it a very terraced-housing look, imo, which I rather like. :D

    Cheers :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


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    Default Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Superb stuff Simon,really intersting and good photos.
    My first Explore was KL Foundry in Letchworth,(50 Acres of Buildings) in 1980, it was on the way home from school and we built a camp in there as boys do.

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    Default Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Great stuff, thank you Brett and Simon :)

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    Thumbs up Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    “In a pub, keeping to the generic rules of crime fiction, she fell into conversation with a ‘large balding man, dressed in grey overalls.‘ He was a driver; for years he had delivered medical equipment to the hospitals in Horton Lane. ‘He moved closer and told me in whispers that the Long Grove had mysteriously burned down, along with the records, five years previously... He lowered his eyebrows and told of strange goings-on, unexplained fires, weird disappearances.‘ When Rachel produced her notebook, the man backed off, retreated to the fruit machine. ‘More than my jobs’s worth,‘ he muttered" - Iain Sinclair, London Orbital
    There aint nothing like a good bit of rumour and mystery;), love it really great stuff Brett and Simon
    Aversos Compono Animos

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    Default Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Absolutely brilliant! nice one :)_
    Life is a lens
    FiveEyeBlue

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    Default Re: Long Grove (Urbex 1995)


    Really pleasant and fascinating read. It is always a nice experience reading about explorations from before my own exploring days. The photos are great, you would barely recognise it now with landscaped gardens, roads where corridors used to be.

    A shame the main hall was destroyed, but an all-too familiar scene among the familiar abandoned hospitals and asylums.

    Thankyou Brett and Simon for sharing this. It's excellent.
    Too Much Reasoning Kills Inspiration, Stone Dead

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    Default


    There's an article about typhoid carriers living at long grove on bbc news today.

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    Thumbs up


    Facinating bit of history Simon. Thanks also to Brett for sharing his photos :)
    You can tell that Long Grove was designed by G.T. Hine. Having visted Hellingly a few times and noticing the similarities -the Main Hall with it's semi-circular windows, the almost "toast rack" like terracotta chimney decorations. The external butresses on the Main Hall are a bit different though (Cherry Knowle's got some, but that's a two storey with the Chapel above). Thanks again -very interesting.

    Lb:jimlad:
    Lb :jimlad:

    Think we're gonna need a bigger boat

    www.severallshospital.co.uk
    www.runwellhospital.co.uk

  11. #10
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    Unhappy


    Quote Originally Posted by krela View Post
    There's an article about typhoid carriers living at long grove on bbc news today.
    Thanks K. That's a good reminder that closing Asylums wasn't all bad. :(

    Lb:jimlad:
    Lb :jimlad:

    Think we're gonna need a bigger boat

    www.severallshospital.co.uk
    www.runwellhospital.co.uk

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