Selly Oak Hospital abandoned Mortuary and Pathology Labs
Selly Oak Hospital started out as a Workhouse for the poor and developed over time. The mortuary, operating theatres and wards were added as part of expansion.
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History of the abandoned Selly Oak Hospital
Like many of the older hospitals in the UK, Selly Oak Hospital started out its life as a Union Workhouse for the poor. The Workhouse at Selly Oak was built in 1872 to replace five smaller hospitals around the area and could house 200 pauper inmates.
A separate infirmary was built in 1897 which could accommodate around 250 patients. At this time there were no operating theatres or a morgue. The internal walls were not plastered which was commonplace in Workhouses as painted brick was considered adequate for paupers. The workhouse and infirmary were separated by a high dividing wall and were run as two separate establishments.
The hospital was expanded gradually between 1911-1929 with the addition of operating theatres and surgical wards. The mortuary and pathology laboratories were added in 1934. The hospital was incorporated into the NHS in 1948 and ongoing improvements and additions were made until the site was closed in 2012.
I enjoyed the visit, however the evening before, while in London I’d managed to break my camera so was shooting with a hastily borrowed camera with low battery (thanks Ben, got me through the day). I was tired, annoyed about my camera, and trying to manually focus in less than ideal lighting, so I wasn’t overly happy with some of my shots. No problem – I’ll revisit….
Well, they stepped up security! On our first visits the site was a walk-in! Security didn’t seem too bothered and you could wander around uninterrupted. Unfortunately, the travelling community noticed this too, and moved onto the site. By the time I tried to revisit, the travellers had left but security appeared adamant that no-one else would enter the site now. All access points were closed up, guards were stationed at every gate, car and foot patrols were taking place and worst of all a guard was stationed at the morgue! We had to abort that mission, so we had a look around the main hospital buildings instead.
I had a rethink and worked out a plan to get me into the morgue so I could re-shoot. So, four months months after my initial visit I returned for a fourth visit and finally managed to get the shots I was after. Unfortunately the body scoop had been removed, but I was still happy to finally complete the job!
The Morgue and Body Storage Fridges
The body scoop had been removed when I revisited a few months later.