Blackburn & East Lancashire Royal Infirmary
Having put off going to this abanoned hospiotal for some years due to more glamorous other targets - so to speak - when I finally arrived all that was standing was the Edwardian War Memorial Wing, albeit this building was still huge consisting of 4 floors of sheer decay.
Inside, the aesthetics had been transformed. Paint peeling in vast ammounts. water everywhere and nature snaking in through shattered windows giving a ttpical abandoned hospital look to the place. A combination of different coloured walls and boarded up windows made for interesting light, dark in some areas and overly bright in others but always with a strange colour tint to the light to make for interesting images.
Luckily the famous mosaic floor was still intact which considering there was no security at the site was a relief as this was of historical importance. Photographing it was tricky due to that room being pitch black.
Electricity cables hung suspended in mid air along with piping adding a surreal feel to the place. Pigeons flew overhead at inapropriate moments. A grand example of Victorian architecture sadly rotting away and doomed to demolition. A last chnce to document it before Barratt changes the lnadscape forever once more into something all the more dull.
After the first stone was laid on the 24th May 1858 on land at Hollin Bank - which was purchased from Joseph Feilden Esq for £3,200 (£1,600 of which he gave back) - the infirary finlly opened its doors in 1864. Initially there was a 500 pateint capacity
and in 1893 a Nurses Home and children's ward were was added in later decades and a lot of that was paid for by the Harrison family. Additionally, In 1897 further extensions were built to increase capacity and patient numbers whereby when the Victoria Wing was built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of the Queen with The Mayor, Fred Baynes, laying the foundation stone for this building. The new capacity stood at 130 by 1908 after completioon of the new wing which contained a new ward to house the increase in patients along with an anaesthetic room, recovery room as well as an operating theatre and sterilising room.Extra wings, a Children's Ward and a Nurses Home were added in later decades and a lot of that was paid for by the Harrison family.
The word 'Royal' was officially added to the title on the 21st of April 1914 by a decree of King George V,, becoming known as The Blackburn and East Lancashire Royal Infirmary.
After many alterations and expansions over the years it was deided that further epansions and develpment in the hospital was not viable and by 2006 most of the services had been moved to what was to be called The Royal Blackburn Hospital on the site
of the former workhouse.
After developers bought the old Infirmary, it was also considered by a Heritage report that the original buildings had lost most of their original character after the laterations and therefore not worthy of being of any historical signifiance to be saved. The last standing part of the hispotla - the subject of my report - was the Edwardian built War Memorial Wing which was built just after the First World War. This has however at the time of writing now also been demolished. Inside this wing was the historic mosaic floor [photograph 27] at the centre of the wing built in memory of the dead and injured in the First World War and this has ben carefully taken up and preserved and it will join other historic items from the 86-year-old building in storage for a special public memorial garden.
Of particular interest is the alleged 'time capsule' that was buried under the Victorian wing of the hopstal, Thre is some debate a to whether this has actually been saved or still lies under the ground.
On most of the site are now new homes and now the final part of the hospital has been demolished a large dementia residential centre will be built upon the site to complete the transformation.