Inside the ‘eerie’ abandoned 100-year-old asylum used as a psychiatric hospital for First World War veterans

Ella Castle

Haunting photos of an abandoned Scottish psychiatric hospital have been shared by an urban explorer. Natasha McCallum discovered Bangour Village Hospital, west of Dechmont in West Lothian while exploring and posted the pictures online. The ‘eerie’ hospital, which first opened its door in 1906, was made part of the Edinburgh […]

Haunting photos of an abandoned Scottish psychiatric hospital have been shared by an urban explorer.

Natasha McCallum discovered Bangour Village Hospital, west of Dechmont in West Lothian while exploring and posted the pictures online.

The ‘eerie’ hospital, which first opened its door in 1906, was made part of the Edinburgh War Hospital during the First World War, though was later reverted to a psychiatric facility.

Photos taken by Natasha show decrepit building left abandoned to vandals and the elements, with debris, smashed windows and collapsing walls throughout the former lunatic asylum.

Those brave enough to take a peek inside are also greeted to a number of creepy sights, including haunting baby doll with one of its eyes missing suspiciously hanging from a wall, while other rooms contain the original equipment used to treat ‘shell-shocked’ war veterans.

Natasha McCallum posted the snaps of Bangour Village Hospital west of Dechmont in West Lothian to Scotland's Abandoned Places Facebook group

Natasha McCallum posted the snaps of Bangour Village Hospital west of Dechmont in West Lothian to Scotland’s Abandoned Places Facebook group

Haunting photos of an abandoned Scottish psychiatric hospital have been shared by an urban explorer that they said gave them an 'eerie feel'

Haunting photos of an abandoned Scottish psychiatric hospital have been shared by an urban explorer that they said gave them an ‘eerie feel’

The hospital, which first opened its door in 1906, was made part of the Edinburgh War Hospital during the First World War , though was later reverted to a psychiatric facility

The hospital, which first opened its door in 1906, was made part of the Edinburgh War Hospital during the First World War , though was later reverted to a psychiatric facility

As seen in Natasha's powerful photographs, the current state of Bangour Village Hospital shows shattered windows are shattered and floors are strewn with debris, while some of the original equipment remains

As seen in Natasha’s powerful photographs, the current state of Bangour Village Hospital shows shattered windows are shattered and floors are strewn with debris, while some of the original equipment remains

Amid changing mental healthcare practices across the UK throughout the late 20th century, many psychiatric hospitals shut their doors during the 1990s and 2000s. In 2004, the building was officially closed after the departure of its final patients. 

Natasha commented: ‘All that remains is dark corridors, collapsing floors and is pretty much falling to the ground. Although this place has such a haunting vibe it’s not a place I would visit again nor on my own.

‘They say this place is haunted although the feeling inside was enough to possibly believe so. To top it off the freezing fog gave the buildings such an eerie feel.

‘Inside you can see what remains of the old hospital. I hope you enjoy the photos.’

Bangour Village Hospital, near Dechmont in West Lothian, opened in 1906 for Edinburgh’s ‘lunatic paupers’, and for almost 100 years housed patients with mental health problems from across Central Scotland.

But after St John’s Hospital opened in nearby Livingston in 1989, it was slowly shut down, and in 2004 the last remaining ward was closed.

Today, it is a relic of its former past, and its Grade A-listed buildings leave a chill down your spine as you walk around the 960 acre estate.

Bangour Village Hospital, near Dechmont in West Lothian, opened in 1906 for Edinburgh’s 'lunatic paupers', and for almost 100 years housed patients with mental health problems from across Central Scotland

Bangour Village Hospital, near Dechmont in West Lothian, opened in 1906 for Edinburgh’s ‘lunatic paupers’, and for almost 100 years housed patients with mental health problems from across Central Scotland

After St John’s Hospital opened in nearby Livingston in 1989, it was slowly shut down, and in 2004 the last remaining ward was closed

After St John’s Hospital opened in nearby Livingston in 1989, it was slowly shut down, and in 2004 the last remaining ward was closed

Today, it is a relic of its former past, and its Grade A-listed buildings leave a chill down your spine as you walk around the 960-acre estate

Today, it is a relic of its former past, and its Grade A-listed buildings leave a chill down your spine as you walk around the 960-acre estate

One former hospital employee who worked there in the 1980s described it as a 'sinister' place to live and was filled with 'shell-shocked' veterans of The First World War

One former hospital employee who worked there in the 1980s described it as a ‘sinister’ place to live and was filled with ‘shell-shocked’ veterans of The First World War

Built on the Bangour Estate, which was bought by the Edinburgh District Lunacy Board (EDLB) in 1902, it was set up as a new style of psychiatric hospital based on the Continental Colony system

Built on the Bangour Estate, which was bought by the Edinburgh District Lunacy Board (EDLB) in 1902, it was set up as a new style of psychiatric hospital based on the Continental Colony system

Built on the Bangour Estate, which was bought by the Edinburgh District Lunacy Board (EDLB) in 1902, it was set up as a new style of psychiatric hospital based on the Continental Colony system.

This approach had been developed at Alt-Scherbitz near Leipzig, Germany, and aimed to give patients a more calming environment for the duration of their stay.

The revolutionary design saw 32 villas created in the style of suburban domestic villas, with large bay windows and south-facing public rooms to bring in the most light.

Each could house between 25 to 40 patients with the non-medical staff separated by a complex of workshops, stores, a kitchen, and the main hospital block.

Bedrooms were also situated upstairs in an attempt to try and move patients away from the typical stresses and difficulties of institutional life.

By the end of 1905, there were up to 200 patients in residence at the facility, and recently it was discovered that 566 patients had been buried in unmarked graves in nearby cemeteries.

Following the outbreak of World War II, the complex was turned into the Edinburgh War Hospital in 1939 with a large annex built to increase its capacity. 

After the war, the annex was converted into Bangour General Hospital, and Bangour Village Hospital returned to being a psychiatric hospital. 

The disused site has a reputation among nearby residents for being haunted by the spirits of deceased patients.

One former hospital employee who worked there in the 1980s described it as a ‘sinister’ place to live and was filled with ‘shell-shocked’ veterans of The First World War.

Following its closure, the former hospital was used as a filming location for the 2005 psychological thriller The Jacket starring Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody. 

It was also later used for a counter-terrorist exercise run by the Scottish Government in 2009 to test de-contamination procedures in the event of a nuclear blast, while the site is currently earmarked for redevelopment. 

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