The New Asylum – Mayday Hills burning

How hot is The New Asylum?

A timely question . . .

No, not really. Today (October 22nd, 2019) there was a report on the local news of a small fire on the grounds of the old Mayday Hills Hospital. Not too much damage done and hopefully restore-able.

The news reminded me of rapidly the social knowledge and history of the old asylum and those days is disappearing. I believe the fire in the picture has taken place among some old artisan buildings that had fallen into disuse by my time at Mayday Hills – tailors and seamstresses, farriers and market gardeners, piggery keepers and dairy herdsmen. All working behind the Ha-Ha wall of the institution. The above buildings abut the wall.

There was another great fire at Mayday Hills in 1951. That fire destroyed a significant portion of the institution – the Male Wing.

A number of temporary buildings were erected and became the new permanent replacement wards simply through the fact of their existence. They lasted until the Institution’s closure in the mid-1990s.

Some folk might be interested in Ghost Tours that these days take place in the old prisons and hospitals of our institutional past, and so I include a link to a newspaper feature of the Mayday Hills Ghost Tour site, with their potted history of the place. The broad facts are accurate enough, I believe. The presence of ghosts not so much, but it’s a good read.

In my time, I was haunted by the living of Mayday Hills. There was no need for the supernatural to add a necessary frisson of mood or spice.

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