More than 50 years ago Enoch Powell, the then health minister, announced the closure of the great old Victorian and Edwardian asylums – refuge for some, incarceration and controversial treatment for others.
But years on some still lie derelict, waiting to be demolished or redeveloped. They’re broken into by vandals and urban explorers. They also provide ideas for artists and writers.
Author James Scudamore – whose new book, Wreaking, is based around an old mental asylum – found inspiration at the empty Severalls Hospital in Colchester, where redevelopment is planned. With BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he took one last look around before the doors finally slam shut.