CefnCoed Mental Health Facility, Swansea, UK

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May 14, 2017
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Oh my life, it's been awhile since I've posted or had a chance to visit our wonderful forum. However, I was lucky enough to be one of 15 people to get tickets for today's photographic tour around CefnCoed Mental Health Facility, as part of a project to archive what the place looks like before the site is *ahem* "redeveloped" (read: they're going to bulldoze it and build a housing estate on it)

I had an absolute ball, despite a few of my fellow photographers being quite precious about their shots and deliberately standing in some of mine as 'pay back' - how childish, I do feel I got a lot of good shots, it's a shame that the upper floors were very badly damaged by the winter rain and mould and so I wasn't allowed to see the old Padded Rooms due to the spores and possible inhalation of said spores, but oh well, it cannot be helped and my health is more important to me than seeing that (though I was absolutely gasping to! Also, the ECT room was a disappointment, all the equipment was moved to the main site in the city as it was still useful)

OK, OK, I'll stop rambling and tell you some history then we'll get to the images, I swear. This place was originally planned in 1908, it's foundations were finally laid in 1914 but wasn't started until 1928 due to the First World War. It was finally opened in 1931 and has been closed since I believe last winter. It served to hold people with mental disabilities as well as those with mental health issues.

I'm going to apologise as I went full on 'art house' with a lot of these, I'm so sorry, my B&W filter got a real hammering.

The water tower and some of the out buildings, this has got a Listed Status.

Welcome to CefnCoed, this is the hallway from the main entrance.

The old lecture hall. A lot of the lights don't work anymore so even though I tried flipping a light switch to see in here better, it didn't happen.

The map of the place. Where I was is clearly marked out with one of those helpful 'you are here signs'

This was a patient's room, it was not safe to go in here because the ceiling was mostly on the floor, as you can see. I'm quite certain it's not supposed to be there ;)

This is not a doctor's office but the kitchen manager's room. This one is so unsettling to me, it just looks so much like the person just stepped out for a minute, or like everyone just downed tools and walked out one day.

The kitchen, but it looks eerie without the kitchen machinery and equipment.

To the right of this place is a set of stairs that led upstairs, above ward 3, to a some locked doors behind which was the Secure Ward that housed the violent patients and thus, the padded rooms. But due to the aforementioned mould, spores and general rain damage, we weren't able to go upstairs and see the padded rooms and the isolation rooms.

OK, Guys and Ladies, that's not all I've got, but you're probably going to have to wait for anymore. There's a part 2 coming as I'm going back in July in the company of a friend from the RPS, hopefully I'll get some better images and I'll remember to turn off the B&W filter on my camera
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upstairs via Ward 3, where, as I said, we were not allowed to go into as they were apparently thick with black mould because the heating was turned off before last winter and the rain got in, so it's gone rampant up there and it wasn't deemed safe to visit.

It's probably also worth me now mentioning that there are security guards on site who still patrol it, they've chased off thieves trying to take the old scrap machines and people - I spent and informative 20 minutes chatting to one of them during a quiet part of the tour.
really? the tourguide swore to me that's where they were

EDIT: OK, I take that back. I apologise most humbly, i misunderstood the tour guide. I spoke to my mother, who did her secondment mental health training there during the 1980s when she was doing her nursing qualifications, I got it wrong. The padded rooms are apparently on a different ward, a floor above ward 3. Apparently they're up the stairs to your right as you face the entrance to Ward 3. The doors are/were locked. I don't know if they still are.
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There are no padded cells in Cefn - they were never used. The first super intendant of the hospital thanked the manufacturers for supplying them but added that they were rather expensive cleaning equipment cupboards. The only remains you can see of one of the rooms they were installed at but they were gone by the 1950s.
If there are any padded rooms/cells still remaining here I didn't see them either, and me and mockney reject spent a good few hours looking around and pretty much covered the entire site.

Great report MissEvelynn! Looking forward to Part 2 :)
The history you provided is fascinating, and it's amazing to think about the journey this place has been through since its planning in 1908. Your "art house" approach to the photos sounds intriguing! Sometimes, those filters can really add a unique touch to the images.
The photos give a good feel of the place. As an aside, Cefn Coed is Back Wood in English. It is on the outskirts of Swansea/Abertawe. While all the signs in the photos in the alsylum/mental hospital are in English, were there any in Welsh?

I am in email correspondence with the Welsh Language Commission over the now official sole use of Welsh for places previously with both English and Welsh names; for example the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.

Curiously the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 states only that: “the Welsh language must not be treated less favourably than the English language”. Not equally, or that the English language must not be treated less favourably than the Welsh language.

DP explorers should be aware that place names once familiar to them may have disappeared. Caveat exploratores.

Not that it is to be treated as being on a par with English; or English on a par with Welsh. Why is that? Why is English treated by the Welsh government as a ‘second class’ language?

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