Abandoned Morgues: 21 Derelict Mortuaries & Body Slabs

Hellingly Asylum Morgue

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abandoned-morgues-hellingly-hospital-2 (Images: howzey; Hellingly Asylum’s abandoned mortuary)

The late-Victorian/early-Edwardian-era saw a vogue for ‘splendid isolationism’ in institutional buildings. Hellingly Asylum is a perfect example of this. A remote facility, it was only in the last years of its life that other buildings began to creep into its surrounding environs. Yet even as it fell into decay amid a brand new stretch of suburbs, the abandoned asylum retained a sense of isolation almost overwhelming in its power.

Most desolate of all was the abandoned morgue. Right up until the site’s demolition in 2010, the ruins still contained the old body fridge, yawning forbiddingly open amid the clutter. Body trolleys lay useless nearby, their time of taking patients on their final journey itself at an end. From about 2003 onward, the existence of the creepy old morgue was well known. By the end of the decade, though, its fate had been sealed. Hellingly was torn down to make way for housing, its spine-chilling abandoned mortuary consigned to oblivion.

Tenby Mortuary

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abandoned-tenby-mortuary-2 (Images: Adam Slater)

Perhaps the most-curious thing about Tenby mortuary isn’t how freakishly pristine its gleaming white surfaces remain (although that is certainly a major part of it). Rather, it is the location that really stands out. Surrounding the rooms you see in these photos on all sides is a housing estate and industrial area. The abandoned morgue above doesn’t come attached to a hospital or whatnot. Instead, it exists as an isolated thing; an antiseptic white world, floating freely amid an encroaching sea of grime.

The logical conclusion seems to be that this was part of a small funeral home, where bodies could be prepared prior to burial. Yet no sign of the undertakers itself remains. All we have is this one, strangely well-preserved room. Whether it is still in such excellent condition, or whether time and vandals have finally taken their toll on it since these pictures were taken, we’re unsure.

Hartwood Hospital Mortuary

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abandoned-autopsy-slab-at-hartwood-hospital-in-scotland (Images: Skin; Adam Slater; Hartwood’s abandoned mortuary and pewter body slab)

Looking for all the world like a ruined castle from the outside, the abandoned Hartwood Hospital in Scotland was in fact once a self-sustaining asylum; complete with its own reservoir, farm and even graveyard. Slowly shut down over a long period of time that finally came to an end in the year 2000, it now stands derelict and empty: a gloomy shell amid a wasteland of broken buildings.

Deep in the bowels of this foreboding building sits an abandoned mortuary. Too fresh to have accumulated layers of dust or rampant weeds, it looks eerily forlorn; like the building’s owner found the odour of death impossible to wash away. An abandoned body table remains ready for the next autopsy and the fridge doors hang open, waiting for the next cadaver to be wheeled in. Although not as openly ruined as many on this list, Hartwood’s old mortuary exerts a strange melancholy pull all of its own.

Harold Wood Hospital’s Abandoned Morgue

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abandoned-mortuary-at-harold-wood-hospital-in-london-3 (Images: Adam Slater)

Opened in 1909 and finally closed in 2006, the empty remains of the old Harold Wood Hospital are undeniably creepy. But photos suggest that nowhere in the hospital can compare in eeriness to the derelict morgue.

Enormous, almost pristine and (here, at least) not yet gripped by decay, the abandoned morgue is unusual. As part of one of London’s big hospitals, the morgue is also enormous. Rows upon rows of body storage freezers line the walls, and there are plenty of tables for conducting multiple autopsies on the dead to pass through. Likely impressive enough in life, Harold Wood’s abandoned mortuary is perhaps even more so in death.

Letchworth Village Residential Home Morgue

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abandoned-letchworth-village-residential-home-morgue (Images: Doug Kerr; Justin Gurbisz)

The name ‘Letchworth Village’ today brings up images of neglected patients, crammed into stuffy, overcrowded dormitories. Despite offering the world the Polio vaccination, Letchworth was an asylum for the poor, sick and terminally mad that soon became a festering wound on the nation. As such, it is perhaps fitting that its abandoned morgue is now one of the creepiest places in the United States.

A broken, abandoned room that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, the Letchworth morgue is today a forlorn, empty place seemingly devoid of hope. Rust flakes the walls. Water pools on the floor. It’s a place a wreckage and decay, a far-cry from the village’s founding image of a place where the mentally disabled could go to be cured, rather than punished for their misfortunes. Developers have long considered building something new on the site. For now though, Letchworth village remains a desolate ruin.

Alcatraz Morgue

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abandoned-morgues-alcatraz-4 (Images: Robot B; Cory Doctorow; Todd Petrie; abandoned morgue on The Rock)

Inside a tiny shed on the fringes of America’s most-infamous prison sits Alcatraz’s abandoned morgue. Built with little care in 1910, the intended temporary resting place for the island’s notorious prisoners is little more than a shack, capable of housing only three corpses at one time. Like the rest of the prison complex, it’s overwhelmingly bleak. Today, the abandoned autopsy table is buried under a thick layer of moss.

Yet even in its lifetime, the Alcatraz morgue was essentially abandoned. When prisoners died on the island, most were simply shipped back to San Francisco; where better facilities could be used to determine cause of death. Over the handful of years it was supposedly ‘in use’, the now-abandoned mortuary only ever held one corpse. Even then no autopsy was actually performed. Today, it slowly decays, firmly removed from the average tourist itinerary.

West Park Mortuary

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abandoned-mortuary-at-west-park-psychiatric-hospital-in-surrey-3 (Images: The Urban Explorer)

A low redbrick building in the grounds of the abandoned West Park Mental Hospital in Surrey, West Park’s mortuary was until recently a haunting reminder of the area’s past. The last building to be closed off following a slowly-enacted demolition order, it continued to house creepy artifacts right up until late 2013.

Alongside the stripped and damaged body fridges, the rooms of the mortuary held abandoned equipment, chemicals and even preserved brain matter. As the hospital was originally constructed during the interwar period, there’s no telling how long some of the samples had lain there, gathering dust. Although these relics made the site well known in the local area, the abandoned mortuary was eventually stripped and demolished in January 2014. A housing complex now sits on its former site; the inhabitants presumably unaware of its dour history.

 
 


 
 
 

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