In honor of one of the Atlas Team’s imminent departure for parts Welsh in a few days, today’s Morbid Monday dredged up all sorts of gruesome Wales-related goodies. Between the black death & child labor in the mines, we found the story of the truly creepy North Wales Hospital, aka. Denbigh Asylum, once home to electro-convulsive therapy & non-voluntary lobotomy treatments, now in a state of picturesque doomy decay.

Denbigh Asylum

Photo by LulaTaHula

The asylum was built between 1844-1848, at the height of the Victorian lunatic asylum building craze spurred by the 1808 Asylum Act which proposed moving the mentally infirm into care facilities rather than workhouses. The Denbigh asylum was specifically constructed to serve Welsh-speaking lunatics locally so that they could be attended to in their native tongue rather than being sent to English asylums.

It closed relatively recently and in 2008 the empty building was featured in a not-loved-by-locals episode of “Most Haunted” (“sensationalist rubbish”), and then later that year it was consumed in flames and partially gutted. Now the historic building is facing an uncertain future, and sits on the buildings at risk register.

* Built in the north of Wales, Denbigh also produced the famed journalist/explorer/historic monument defacerand, later, inspiration for Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Henry Morton Stanley and is home to the more ruined, slightly less creepy Denbigh Castle*  

According to Wikipedians, the castle features “a heavily defended passageway that had murder-holes, portcullises in series, two wooden doors, and enfilading arrowslits.” We at Atlas Obscura stand by any attraction that features a good murder-hole. Wikipedia **See also: Dead Explorer Fights Knife Crime

Doomy Welsh Link Roundup after the Jump 

 Denbigh link fest:

Great set on Flickr

On the fantastic Opacity blog 

History of the asylum, on the Time Chamber & Timeline 



Artwork inspired by Denbigh Asylum by Rachel Gadsden

More links from today’s doomy Welsh explorations:

“We see death coming into our midst like black smoke” The black death in Wales, 1349

The stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great is at Llanrwst church - whereabouts of his corpse still a mystery

”..I was frightened for someone had stolen my bread and cheese. I think it was the rats”

“why druids split humans in half, how the Normans outwitted the Welsh with a lump of ham” Horrible Histories, Wales

A handy guide to the Megolithic tombs of Wales… and more ancient tombs in Wales, this time with less giant rocks, more mounds

Discovery of the day: the terrific web site for the National Museum of Wales

Join us each Monday on Twitter and follow our #morbidmonday hashtag, for new odd and macabre themes each week: Atlas Obscura on Twitter


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