Hotels, hospitals and schools are three institutions that rely on guests, patients and pupils to keep them functioning. Take those elements away and the buildings can’t remain open for long. While some survive the test of time, many rise and fall due to population decline, reduced demand, improved care and so on, leaving only memories – not all of them pleasant – and photographs. Or, in the case of these eight sorry structures: deserted rooms, crumbling corridors and spooky staircases to nowhere.
Abandoned Hotel, Lebanon
Beirut has come a long way since the bloody Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990. In 2009, Lonely Planet listed Beirut as one of the 10 liveliest cities in the world, while The New York Times named it the top place to visit. But residents are divided over the loss of the city’s Ottoman and French colonial architecture. This beautiful yet derelict hotel reflects the changing times, as developers and investors favour the concrete jungle over the historic. Photographer Craig Finlay said: “The stairways were all demolished or sealed off with bricks, but… I’m gonna go back and find the heart of this place. it has secrets it wants to reveal to me.”
Hotel Sayao, Navarra, Spain
But not all abandoned hotels are bricked-up both internally and externally. The scene at Hotel Sayoa in the Navarra region of Spain seems more like one of rapid desertion, where staff and residents left in a hurry without emptying the premises first. Dishevelled but certainly not destroyed, the old guest book at the reception desk and abundance of furniture suggest this is a relatively new abandonment.
King Edward Hotel, Jackson, Mississippi
From its completion in 1923, the King Edward Hotel embodied Jackson society and politics for over 40 years. But upon closing in 1967, the stunning Beaux-Arts style hotel was destined to stand empty for the next four decades. Happily, these images by Mark Lyon were captured at the start of a $90 million renovation that saw the building reopen in December 2009 as the Hilton Garden Inn Jackson-Downtown. Discover more about this historic building – and its rise from the ashes – at Preservation in Mississippi.
Mansfield State Training School and Hospital, Connecticut
(Images: reivax, CC-SA-2.0)
Like many historic hospitals of its era, Mansfield Training School, a former state-run psychiatric hospital, found its way onto the National Register of Historic Places despite the constant battle against urban decay. Opened in 1860 as the Connecticut School for Imbeciles at Lakeville – reflecting the insensitive approach to mental health at the time – it had various names before becoming the “Mansfield Training School and Hospital”. It closed in 1993 after numerous lawsuits shone a damning light on poor conditions at the hospital.
Glen O’ Dee Hospital, Scotland
Just creeping into the 20th century, Glen O’ Dee Hospital in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, was built in 1900 as a sanctuary for tuberculosis patients, many of whom never left alive. First called the Nordrach on Dee Hospital, it had the rare distinction of being converted to a luxury hotel before reprising its original role as an infectious diseases hospital combating the 1960s Aberdeen typhoid epidemic. After providing brief pockets of luxury amid decades of suffering, Glen O’ Dee Hospital was last used as a home for the elderly. It finally closed in 1998 and lives on today in these haunting photos by Ryan Roberts .
Lillesden School for Girls, UK
The Lillesden School for Girls has become an urbex hotspot and staple of digital photography forums and websites, and these stunning images by howzey demonstrate why. Occupying the former Lillesden Estate Mansion, built in 1855 by banker Edward Lloyd, the grand house became the Bedgebury Girls Public School after World War One. Later renamed The Lillesden School for Girls, its condition rapidly deteriorated due to water damage and general decay after closing in 1999. But hope is on the horizon, with these grand rooms rumoured to be awaiting renovation as private apartments.
Abandoned School, Leipzig, Germany
This abandoned school in Leipzig tells a different story. A more modern, post war institution devoid of grandeur, almost every inch of the building has been vandalised in some way, shape or form. Graffiti is scrawled across almost every inch of wall space, bathroom sinks have been unnecessarily smashed, and the entire school looks like it’s been ransacked. It’s sad to see a building that helped children forge their futures in such a state of disrepair, and compared to Leipzig’s historic architecture, this one surely isn’t on the preservation agenda.
Abanadoned High School, Pittsburgh
Perhaps the most eerie of the three schools featured is this abandoned high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What caused its closure is uncertain. Perhaps it was consolidation of educational resources or population decline in this area of the changing industrial city. But the seats in the crumbling auditorium and the rusting lockers once assigned to specific pupils are a mysterious reminder of the voices that once echoed through these empty corridors.
Keep reading – explore 6 Eerie Abandoned Hospitals and Insane Asylums and visit 10 Abandoned Buildings and Places Documented by Urban Explorers.