A trip to ST Crispins Asylum (Documentary Piece)

I had a chance to follow a group of urban explorers on a trip to an abandoned mental institution called ST Crispins in Northampton, the asylum it’s self was built in 1876 and was closed in 1995 but is a hotspot for graffiti artists and urban explorers alike. The buildings are currently under renovation so it appears that the majority of the asylum will soon be inaccessible.IMG_1411

My bags contents just before setting off

As the three of us approached the building we could see fences all around the perimeter with the majority covered in barbed wire but eventually after circling the fence we found a small gap between the fences that had been damaged so we decided this would be the entry point.


L and T searching for an entry point

Entering the complex through the gap in the fence

Once through the fence we decided to circle the exterior of the buildings to see if we were the only ones about and it appeared that we were.


L and T searching the exterior of the building

The first building we decided to enter was a small projector room and the back of the main hall, we found two battered but original Kalee model eleven projectors. From this room we could see (through a small window) the fire damaged section of the complex.

(Left) The projection room (Right) one of the two Kalee model eleven projectors

We then decided to head to the main hall which we could see was heavily damaged in a fire.


L and T examining the exterior of the main hall

Once we entered this section of the complex we could see that it was a lot more open than the rest of the buildings, although we were a lot more courteous around this section of the complex as the floors and walls were propped up in places. The first thing we saw was the courtyard that separated the main hall from the clock tower. Following this we entered what appear to be a shower block (due to tiled walls and floors.) There was a lot of graffiti in this section as well as holes to see the rest of the complex.


L and T enter the courtyard


The courtyard separating the two buildings showing clear traces people had been here


L and T examine the shower block


A view of the clock tower through fire damage in the roof


External view from the shower block


Graffiti left on the walls

We then travelled across the courtyard and into the shell of the main hall, it was evident that this was the most vulnerable part of the complex as the walls and room were only held in place by scaffolding.

The Main-hall showing evident structural damage


L and T stop for photos

We then left the main hall and headed for one of the wards. It was apparent that this block had been heavily stripped as the floor was no longer there and their was huge holes in the actual structure.


‘You will die here’


L checks for signs of life


L and T check the corridor


Huge damage to the ward

We then checked the other ward which in a much better condition, although it was very dark. This is where I decided to get some experiment images using flash, long exposures etc.


Reflection of the Clock tower in a puddle


A view of how dark the ward was (Flash was used)


L (left) and T (right) while in the ward





L watches over our equipment while T and I take photos

Two images of T taken in the ward

We were contemplating leaving when I stumbled across a stairway, after some discussion we decided to head up to the second floor. This was much brighter then the lower floor and we could see everything much better.


The view from an open hole on the second floor


Graffiti on a second floor wall

After exploring the second floor we decide to leave as it had started to get dark. We wanted to clear all the floors but the time and weather was not on our side.



L and T leave through the hole in the fence

All words and images by Jay Kelly


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