The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

Ticking Boxes – April 2010

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March/April 2010 has been quite a busy period, what with visiting some drains, getting high in London, doing some interesting new stuff and then some stuff that’s under lock and key until I feel like it (probably next week or so…)

So here’s a few of those little things that just get done along the way.

Atkinson Morley Hospital was decided upon when I had half a day or so to kill. The Icelandics scuppered my weekend plans by polluting the airspace when their Eyjafjallajokull Volcano erupted on the thursday, so that Austrian powerplant on the agenda would have to wait for another time. Without wanting to make too much of a fuss, I got in touch with young Gary and we killed a couple of hours with this delightful example of a Victorian community hospital. Built in 1869 with funds donated by Mr Atkinson Morley for looking after poor patients, this hospital eventually became a centre of excellence for brain surgery.

While I’d overlooked this in the past in place of the larger and apparently more interesting Mental Hospitals, I’d not really considered the similarities in design that would be seen here. Two separate sides to the hospital were clearly defined, with a separate administration block. Not unusual…

The wards were largely stripped; some bedlamps remained and some signs on the walls. No beds, lonely chairs or much of anything in fact. With just two wards, two stories each, and some ancillary rooms on the sides, this place lacked interest.

In the basement were the only really interesting things here, a CT scanner, one of apparently two in the building. Atkinson Morley was recorded as being the first place in the world to use CT on a human, and as such goes down in the medical history books. Inexplicably, these scanners are still here, rather than being used elsewhere, where I’m sure others would benefit.

On the way out we took some photos of the front, and a stereotypical stupid security guard got out of the car, with the instructions of ‘no photo’ going unheeded. Sorry sir, but you’ve spent all morning sat in your car while we’ve wondered round the site you’re supposed to be guarding….

Earlier in the week, we hit up another medical facility, the St Peter’s hospital morgue. This one was deemed too small and too far from the main body of hospital buildings, so another was built and this beauty left.

While this was an interesting enough place to wonder around, it consisted of little more than a room with 3 slabs in, some fridges, and a chapel of rest. What I found more interesting were the notes left behind for staff. One note advised on hygiene, another on what items should be stored where, and then another bizarre handwritten sign on a fridge indicated it was for babies only. If little else, this site did remind us of our mortality and as such I went away glad to be in the fresh air, rather than in the fridges below with several other refridgerated ex-people.

For the last year or so a framework has gone up on the Oxford Road Mosque site in Reading, and a few days before we visited a scaffold went up on the minaret. I had recently purchased a Manfrotto superclamp and was keen to try it out. Did we take our shoes off? Of course ! While there’s not a great deal to see up here, it was a nice spot to sit and observe the Oxford Road from. I’d rather be up top than down below.

And I think that’s it for the last week or so.. Nothing spectacular, but a few bits to keep the juices flowing while the more nocturnal stuff is being arranged.

Written by Winch

April 18th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Posted in Dereliction

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