Under an Amendment Act set in 1834 all parishes in Wales and England were grouped together into Poor Law Unions. Each Poor Law Union had to provide a place where people who were unable to support themselves could live and work, known as the workhouse. Because of this the Hospital was erected during 1839 by the Holywell Poor Law Union.
In 1965 the north side became the Hollywell community hospital which operated for 43 years before being closed in 2008. The site has its own on-site parish designed by a proclaimed local architect in 1883-4 and was a feature of the site for many years (though now much of the flourish is covered by boards!).
Upon its closure the site was owned by NHS Wales and was sold at auction in 2011 with full planning for 69 dwellings for the seemingly low figure of £275,000. The buyers are said to have sold the North half of the site within a few months of ownership for an “undisclosed amount” presumably making a quick profit!
A report from a local on YouTube stated that in early 2012 a large amount of visitors dressed in traditional muslim garb attended the site and shortly after a blaze broke out. Though this is unfounded and likely hearsay. Fire damage on the property can still be seen to this day. We avoided the floor around the burnt areas for safety reasons.
I have to say this was one of the more fun explores that we have done, the site is massive and very varied. Possibly my favourite part of the explore is when we pulled out some mad ninja warrior moves to go between floors, only to be confronted with a far more obvious route! It took a full afternoon to walk around, though this was in part due to someone taking a million HDR photos in low light!
Whilst most of the site has been stripped, there is plenty of evidence of the buildings previous use with much of the original signage being left. The mortuary in particular had a heavy atmosphere due to the rooms past use and because it is so dark in there! There were also a few boxes of needles spilled on the ground around the octagonal workhouses, though these do appear to be hospital waste rather than from recreational drugs.
The majority of the buildings are still structurally sound, which makes a nice change, though there are areas of fire damage in the old workhouse. There are also a few open lift shafts and a missing fire escape which leads to a three storey drop, so make sure you tread carefully if you plan to visit.
There are many proposed development plans for this site, but I believe as with many of theses places the listing provides too much red tape to actually go ahead. I hope one of these proceeds before the fire damage and vandalism make the buildings uninhabitable.
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