Yorkshire Evening Post
FINAL DAYS FOR CONTROVERSIAL VICTORIAN MENTAL ASYLUM
End of the Royd
The much criticised former Victorian asylum, High Royds Hospital in Menston, shuts its doors for the last time on Tuesday.
Its patients have already been transferred to a multi million pound purpose built unit close to Leeds General Infirmary in the city centre.
The closure marks the end of an era in the mental health care in the city.
The hospital opened in 1888 as the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum and was one of the biggest institutions of its kind.
At one stage the site, near Ilkley, included its own library, surgery, dispensary, ballroom, butchers, dairies, bakers and even its own railway.
By the 1930s it also had a sweetshop, cobbler, upholsterer and a tailor, turning the 83 hectare site into a small village.
The hospital was earmarked for closure in 2000 when health bosses announced a £47million overhaul of mental health services, which also included ripping down the Roundhay Wing at St.James’s Hospital – also fiercely attacked for its poor conditions and antiquated facilities.
Instead, seven specialist units have been created across the city, geared to the specialist needs of the young and old.
The Roundhay wing was replaced by the state of the art Becklin Centre, also at St.James’s, at the end of last year, while High Royds’s replacement, The Mount, has just begun operating.
Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust medical director Nigel Fenny said the closure of High Royds was a huge step forward in mental health care.
He added: “This marks an end of an era for the trust”
“High Royds has been associated with mental health care in the city of Leeds for over 100 years. But it also signifies a new beginning for care in Leeds.”
“The reprovision process has seen the trust move out of old fashioned and outdated facilities into state of the art units. Everyone involved in the process, which has taken over three years, deserves congratulations for what is a fantastic achievement”
The site of the hospital – a 83 hectare sought after countryside site – has now been sold to developer Raven, which plans to build more than 500 homes on the site, both by building new properties and converting the old quarters.
The company’s plans also include creating leisure facilities and space for small offices.
Meanwhile, the remains of the interior is to go up for auction. Furniture and artefacts will go under the hammer on March 20. Items on offer include Victorian doctors’ desks, cabinets, old farm equipment and a large effigy of Jesus Christ which was once on display.