Welcome back everyone!
Let’s talk about the time where I sneaked into the wrong abandoned building shall we? Though my favourite travels are nature escapes- I love exploring all sorts of places and that involves -the abandoned & decaying buildings. There’s something fascinating about those places. All the objects that are found there, signifying a once thriving environment full of life- now left to rot, overtaken by decay and nature. Now, just to mention – I’m by no means a professional urban explorer and I think this post will be a good example of that.
When I explore abandoned places, I travel with other people (for safety), and I always use ‘entrances’ that have already been created. I never break down windows or doors, but rather look for holes, cracks and whatever else is there – to squeeze in. It doesn’t always work out, sometimes there’s just no way to get in. You can search for information or comments from other explorers online where you’ll occasionally find updates about specific abandoned places and their accessibility. But the information is not always reliable, as a lot can change with those abandoned structures. Some get demolished, some get bought and re-developed others get more strict security and are sealed up to the point of no possible entry. And other times, it all works out, you can get in and truly admire the place with remnants everywhere of what it used to be. I also would like to mention that I don’t recommend anyone doing what I do. Because more often than not, it is dangerous, and you could get into trouble (like I did).
So now that this is out of the way, we can begin. I initially set out to travel to Talgarth located in the Black Mountains in Wales to explore the infamous abandoned mental asylum there. To give a quick overview, we drove to the area where the Mental Asylum was meant to be. We arrived and spent several hours evaluating the building and looking for ways to get in, managed to squeeze into some places then got kicked out, only to find that I was at the WRONG PLACE. Wrong abandoned building with the actual asylum 8 minutes away. I think I’d make the worst burglar in the world. This little mishap however, ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I managed to explore this abandoned place which holds so much history… which I would of missed have I not been so unprepared and confused … hehe
As mentioned before, I ended up at the wrong place to start with. But after further research I found some history about the building which is so fascinating! This took an extremely long time as this place isn’t really listed/ advertised on the internet (as much as other popular abandoned spots anyway). So, it took some digging to find out what it was exactly before it was left for decay. Driving in through an entrance which seemed like something out of a horror movie, set the right atmosphere for exploring- all the forest consumed path, with gothic building revealing itself when you drive through depths of it. Dark yet mesmerizing. We parked on the side of the road and ignored all the no-entry signs that were there…. Oops.
The place was actually formed with a great complex of buildings with a park and a garden stretching over to the bottom of a hill. It was a TB Sanatorium. TB stands for Tuberculosis and it is an infectious disease which affects the lungs but could also affect other parts of the body, ultimately leading to death if left untreated. After TB was determined to be contagious in the year 1880, campaigns were formed to stop people spitting in public places and the infected were encouraged to enter a sanatorium such as this one.
The sanatorium facilities varied based on the class of an individual. The sanatorium for the low-class resembled prisons, while the middle and upper classes sanatorium resembled a holiday-resort like place where a constant medical care was offered. In the pre-antibiotic era, people believed that the best way to treat the disease is with fresh air, right nutrition and relaxation. Ultimately though, 50% of those who entered died within 5 years. From looking around this place, I think this sanatorium was for the upper class, due to the buildings, fields, forest paths and beautiful views surrounding it.
The sanatorium seems like an ideal retreat place (at least the upper class ones) settled in beautiful locations with high care and facilities. But the truth of what it was like to stay in one is very daunting. I’ve read some articles of people who stayed in such places, and how the stigma of death hung around them each day with the constant coughing of fellow patients and separation from the loved ones. The sanatorium treated the patients if their situation or disease got worse, which sometimes would end up to be a bloody procedure of removing lung tissue and up to 8 ribs if the lung began collapsing.
After antibiotics were introduced, there was a great decline in sanatorium facilities and many of them shut down, including this one. Scouting the area, the grounds of this place were massive and involved many buildings. Some were taken over, refurbished and re-opened to serve different purposes, this one however, remains closed – but I did read that there are some development plans sparking up for it also.
I walked around the building to find any possible access points. The place was so tightly sealed. Even the windows in the upper parts of the building were boarded. I was like a mouse looking for any crack I could squeeze through. Finally, I found a small crack between the metal fence. Boy, now I wish I took a photo of it actually, so people could congratulate me on my super bendy- ninja skills. I manged to get some shots on the rear end of the building which seemed like a series of backrooms for storing numerous items such as fans, radios, chairs etc.
Once through, I started looking into ways to the main building, sadly no luck. Every door, every window was sealed, boarded up. The place looked run down but had some enchantment to it. Like in a dark fairytale. It was like a castle, among beautiful hills, surrounded by dark forest paths and apple trees. I started getting nervous as I saw some people (possibly security guards) walking around in the distance, so I had to be super stealthy.
I did take some photos through windows and of the surrounding area. I walked through the grounds discovering some more decaying buildings but also beautiful forest walks and the little field at the front with scattered apple trees. With black mountains in the background. The idea of people picking apples and living among these mountains seems like a dream, although the reality was much different.
The only entrance point I found in this place- led to an office area, where files, rubbish and folders were piled up. The place was so badly decayed, I didn’t want to stay too long in the rooms. The walls were peeling off, some of the ceilings were collapsing and there was mould everywhere. Some plants started over-taking the rooms, the whole scene looked haunted but also fascinating.
Dust and decay were spread throughout the place. In one room, there was some old-curtains with a very aged pattern, which caught my eye. And also, a coffee station with milk and a microwave… I could never decline a cup of coffee, but this one seemed like a death wish.
The rooms included boiler rooms, electricity rooms, storage rooms, bathrooms. It was quite interesting to see everything and imagine what life must of been like there, what it was like for people packing up, knowing they’ll never come back to this place again. The corridors were like a maze leading from once door to another. Some rooms seemed barely touched, while others were completely decayed, with bright walls almost entirely covered with black mould.
I didn’t spend too long in this building but I managed to see a fair amount of interesting items. After leaving the building I went through the forest path to admire the remaining of the area.
Shortly after that…. I got caught. And rushed off the property… it happens and I got off easy to be honest. No hard feelings as I understand people who do that, they try to keep the troublers away. They have no idea I mean no harm and just admire abandoned places…. Giving them some more life and purpose in their existence!
So after all that, I got into the car and had some lunch, to then discover that the Mental Asylum was in fact 8 minutes away (the place I originally planned out for). Doh! I was sitting there laughing at myself for good 5 minutes. As said in the beginning, my confusion was a blessing in disguise, but I’ll elaborate more about that in the next week’s blog where I will talk about the ACTUAL asylum I set out for.
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See you again,