Ah, a girls day out; Shopping, cocktails, yummy food, cocktails, gossip, Tom Hardy, cocktails, maybe some more Tom Hardy, definitely some more cocktails. All of us (well...perhaps with the exception of any male readers) have been there, or would like to be there right now - if only our bank balances weren't so cruel! I personally love a girls day out, catching up with friends and having a laugh. Well, this one was certainly not your usual. A fortnight ago myself, Olivia and Kat (two of my lovely friends/classmates) decided we were going to go on a small adventure to an abandoned hospital. Even saying it now makes me question why we thought it was a 'fun' idea. Empty, derelict, creepy, possibly haunted with hundreds of evil ghosts who could eat us alive and suck out our souls - I mean you would have to be totally crazy to not want to spend your Wednesday afternoon doing that! Saying all this, we are all keen photographers, and we will do crazy and weird things for a nice photo. Hence why we set off to this horror-movie-esque building.
For lovers of this kind of thing, the building is called Glen O'Dee Hospital and is situated on the outskirts Banchory. It has a wealth of history and visually the structure, even though slightly less stable, is truly stunning. It was built in 1900 and originally a sanctuary for TB patients until the disease died out. Next it apparently became a luxury hotel, which is easy to imagine due to its grand appearance and size. However, when the war hit it was taken over again and served as a billet for troops. In 1955 it was used as a convalescent hospital, and in the 1960s it was again a safe-haven, but this time for those with typhoid. Last but not least it took the role of an elderly residential home. After years of use, Glen O'Dee officially shut it's doors in 1998 and has since been lying empty and deteriorating.
It is almost heartbreaking to see such a beautiful building decaying over time, not only this but being constantly bad-used and vandalised. The building itself is not strictly 'visitable' and I would strongly encourage anyone who is planning on going to take extra care as the building is extremely unsafe. Please do not go alone, and generally, I do not want this post to 'inspire' anyone to visit anyway as it is not open for the public.
For an arty person, or anyone particularly interested in this type of thing, it was truly fascinating. Despite the often distasteful graffiti and vandalism, the decay of the building was oddly beautiful. Although many of the windows are boarded up, the natural light that streams in turns everything golden, making even the ugliest broken old chair look strangely picturesque. The three of us carefully walked round the building for hours, analysing every detail there was. We stopped at the third floor, as it was simply too unsafe to carry on. However, this did not stop me from walking away with hundreds of images.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the building was the basement. This was the last place we visited, but certainly the one that caught us all by surprise. In the basement there was a small room literally filled to the brim with books. They covered the floor in a thick layer, pages everywhere. It is hard to tell what has always been there and what has been moved and altered, but regardless it is still insanely intriguing. Puzzle pieces lying on the floor, list of patients, even an old record player.
Nowadays the building is clearly used as a 'party' area for teens, litter lines the floors and we found some rather random pieces of clothing and paintings on our travels. It is a shame to see such a grand building go to waste, and I do not predict it to be long until it is demolished or worse. To have see the building in its former glory would be a great insight to what was behind the doors before they were permanently closed. But for now enjoy these snap shots of what we saw, ultimately a magnificent structure in the strangest of ways.