By Hollie Bone
If the words ‘abandoned asylum’ don’t strike a deathly cold fear in you, you’d be braver than most – but you wouldn’t be the only one brave enough to take a peek inside.
A 27-year-old photographer from Worcester, known only as ‘Dab Hand’, took an informal tour of the derelict Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff, armed with only a camera.
The abandoned site, formerly known as Cardiff City Mental Hospital, was opened in 1908 and stood for more than a century before it was officially closed in April 2016.
But while the patients have left, evidence of the asylum’s dark past remains for those brave enough to bear witness.
Revealing what it was like to get inside, urban explorer Dab Hand said: “When I walked around the hospital, it seemed like I was completely on my own, although the sheer size of the place, you never would know for sure.
“They only noises were the wind blowing and pigeons flapping, which did give you the willies sometimes.
“In the pathology department where they would have looked into diseases, there was a strung up bird, all you could see was its eerie skeleton – it looked like it had had enough of life and committed suicide, as it slowly twisted in the slight wind.
“It was a surreal moment looking at the innards of a bird in almost complete silence.”
The site covers an impressive five acres of land, and once served some 750 patients across 10 wards.
During the Second World War, the self-contained institute – which includes a 150ft water tower – was turned over to the military to serve injured personnel.
By the mid-20th century as the NHS came into being the site returned to its original purpose, but by the early 2000s the phasing down of the hospital began.
Dab Hand added: “Seeing it totally empty of life was peaceful but you really do start to wonder what stories ex-patients could have told you from their time spent here.
“I’m so happy to have been able to see it before it is lost forever, or trashed by the locals, which seems to be happening at a rather fast rate, almost as fast as the ivy growing through the windows.”