Before The Echoes Fade

Hospital architecture was transformed during the Victorian period. The rapid changes in science, technology and government meant new expectations in health care. Certain architects specialised in hospital design, providing functional buildings that conformed to the latest medical advances, and with greater budgets than ever before. Hospitals specially catering for the mentally ill emerged, set apart in large grounds, places for therapy, treatment and convalescence, rather than incarceration.

For their time, these hospitals were enlightened. Patients were given space, remarkable facilities, and hospitals were carefully ordered. Gradually, however, the buildings became out of date, in need of repair and refurbishing, and their reputation sank. The crisis in mental health care in the later twentieth century was in part blamed on the hospital buildings of the Victorian era. Most have now been closed, the land sold and buildings demolished, an architectural loss, certainly
How We Built Britain BBC

What is it about hospital corridors? Is it the impending treatment or trepidation when visiting a patient ? Either way, High Royds is no exception and instils such unease in bucketloads.

The labyrinth of vast corridors are wide and tall, and the sound of echoing footsteps can lead to disorientation, you are never quite sure where they are coming from.

Fortunately, the subtle light and reflections make them photogenic subjects, with a popular find being the double vanishing points of the twin passages.

Generations of staff have walked these endless corridors.

The introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 transformed the hospital with new decoration and furniture and almost doubling the number of medical staff overnight.

In more recent times since the widespread use of anti-depressant drugs there has been more emphasis in treating sufferers of mental disorders in the community rather than a locked door philosophy.

At the time of closure patient numbers had dwindled to the hundreds with the majority being over 65 years of age..