West Park Mental Hospital (Mortuary), Epsom, Surrey
Five years ago, West Park Mental Hospital was the place to be if you were an Urban Explorer. It was an absolute gem of a site. Immortalised in urban exploring history West Park had it all; hoards of ex-patient personal belongings, miles of perfectly decayed corridors & wards and the jewell in it’s crown, a padded cell.
Having visited the mortuary I’m now kicking myself that I never saw West Park in it’s glory years. The entire site is now being redeveloped and the mortuary, on the perimeter of the site, is the only building still standing and undeveloped.
It was once an absolute mission to get inside the West Park site, but basically walking in the front door no one batted an eyelid as we walked straight to the mortuary. As we entered the building, we were immediately in the body storage area, three body fridges all with the doors wide open.
As we continue through the building we come to the main lab room. It’s astonishing to see things as personal as brain tissue and named blood samples strewn across the worktop like litter. It’s absolutely fascinating to see and to photograph but there’s no excuse as to why these very personal items weren’t destroyed when the hospital slowly began to close in the early nineties.
Amongst the brain and blood is a mummified corpse of a rat. Black and decaying. On the opposite bench, more blood slides, a teapot, the spine of a medical dictionary and a page from the manual of the equipment which encapsulates body tissue in wax blocks. A rare insight in to seeing how the brain samples were created.
There are an additional three doors on the sides of the main lab room, one leading to a toilet, another to a room with medical equipment and a large chest freezer and finally a long room which seemed to be a kind of ‘down-time’ area with an arm chair and fireplace.
Inevitably, the mortuary building will be no doubt destroyed along will all the personal items and be incorporated to the new Noble Park development which has already transformed the hospital as it was known.
UPDATE: Sadly, as of January 2014, it looks like the mortuary has been completely stripped and all that remains are the body fridges. SOURCE
UPDATE: The mortuary has now been completely demolished. SOURCE