Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

In August of 1937 construction began on what was then known as the Ontario Hospital, St. Thomas. Built on the land of six area farm families, for the purpose of treating people with psychiatric illness, the hospital accepted its first 32 patients in April of 1939. By August of the same year, almost 1100 patients had come to reside at the hospital. Its greatest capacity with over 2,400 patients. Even before construction was complete, the hospital was known as the finest mental health hospital in the country because of its modern design. The site included 460 acres of land for the facility’s food and produce needs.

Shortly after the declaration of World War II in September of 1939, Premier Mitchell Hepburn and the Province of Ontario negotiated to lease the hospital buildings to the Department of National Defense in support of the war effort. By late October 1939, patients were relocated to other facilities across the province and hospital grounds became a training base for more than 60,000 air force personnel in the service, repair and maintenance of RCAF aircraft. At the end of the war the facility was returned to the Ontario Department of Health and restored to a fully functioning psychiatric hospital.

Upon re-opening in November of 1945 the hospital, in the words of Superintendent Dr. Lynch was “the most advanced in the Dominion.” By April of 1958, hospital admissions peaked at a total of 2238 patients. During this time, the facility pioneered many innovative approaches that supported patient health and well-being. One unique development during this time included the establishment of a 463 acre farm that provided staff and patients with the means and opportunity to participate in food production for the entire hospital.

The 1970’s through the new millennium was a time of significant change in the life of the hospital. Of notable interest was the introduction of the forensic mental health program in 1976. This period of time also saw the beginnings of mental health transformation. It was based on a new way of thinking; shifting care wherever possible, from an institutionalized model where some patients could spend long periods of time, often years, within the walls of a mental health facility to living productively in the community with proper support and resources.

In January 2001, St. Joseph’s took over governance of the former St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital. This reorganization of mental health care was ordered by the Health Care Restructuring Commission (HSRC) in 1997. HSRC directives also called for the divestment of a certain number of long term specialized inpatient beds from St. Joseph’s to hospitals across southwestern Ontario and the construction of two new specialized mental health care facilities, one in London and one in St. Thomas.

The state of the art hospital has been built on the existing lands in Central Elgin- next to and replacing the existing Regional Mental Health Care St. Thomas building. Opened in June 2013, the new facility, entirely devoted to forensic psychiatry, better supports staff and a recovery model of care for patients by creating healing environments, providing a neighborhood and community setting which allows for individual growth and skill development and enables patients to return to community living more successfully.

Short Version Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Video

 

Long Version Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Video




Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital – 2015 Update and revisit




Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital – 2017 Update and revisit




 

11 thoughts on “Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

  1. I am absolutely obsessed with things like this! The only thing I didn’t like was you have to press the picture one by one and there is not even a little blurb explaining the picture or the history of it!! I don’t understand why there is not a lot more people who have not seen or commented on it. Its absolutely fascinating and so interesting. I would love to share this site. I will not do so until I have permission. So cool. Just wish I knew how you are able to get in these places and how you feel when you are there!? Thanks for your beautiful photos and the awesome eerieness behind them. A Fan Angela

  2. Hi. First of all, I LOVE your photography. I have a website, it’s just not ‘done’ yet. I am an amateur photographer. Just getting started. I guess it’s a new-found passion/interest. I have a question for you. How did you get started? How do you get into these places? I went to an asylum tour today (Willard Asylum) and they only let us in a couple of buildings. I was VERY disappointed. I have MANY places I’d love to visit and I’d even be willing to stay the night in one (most people look at me like I’m nuts.) Is the only option to do it illegally? LOL

  3. The spookiest thing of all……that damn swing set!
    It’s funny, for a psychiatric center some of the buildings architecture and features feel really maddening…..rooms with big curves, and those corridors with the little round porthole windows, so weird.

  4. hi, I’m an urban exploration photographer. I’m wondering if I could get the “address” for this hospital? If you’re not comfortable posting it (I can understand why) I can provide my email? Thanks so much! 🙂

  5. Utterly fascinating captures of a most epic explore I’m sure. I am astounded by all the abandonment you have to choose from in Ontario. Are most of your explores day trips or are they longer in order to get to your destination?

  6. I saw tubs like that in the movie Frances Farmer. People were in them with what looked like a canvas cover over them. I don’t know if they made them get into ice water or what the purpose of the tubs was. I would like to know. In the movie, it shows a doctor performing a lobotomy. These were definitely places of torture.

  7. I can provide a little information for you, the image you have showing the large diesel engine hooked to a generator that has set into the concrete, with the small electric motor on the back comma isn’t early way to provide uninterruptible emergency power, the diesel engine is allowed to be kept at idle, call AC power is fed to the electric motor electric motor intern runs the generator in the center should there be a loss of power driving the electric motor the clutch on the diesel engine would automatically close within a half of a revolution of the drive shaft, the governor on the engine would kick in to increase RPM and the generator would continue making power running whatever was considered to be the emergency load, in both hospitals the emergency critical load was operating rooms and life-support systems, AKA ventilators bypass equipment elect comma you can find more information about the system’s if you look up technical material Corporation (TMC) they manufactured transmitters for the United States Navy and government comma this was a system they commonly used for uninterruptible power to their transmitters as I worked on one that was being taken out of service in the mid-1990s. Until the invention of high-powered scr and other solid state mechanical uninterruptible Power was all you had there were no battery powered UPS systems, until the early 1980s and they were extremely expensive or even a system able to backup just one operating room let alone an entire Hospital Ward.

    Also you have pictures of the main Steam Plant for the hospital, both facilities that size or heated with either hot water or Steam forced through radiators, the large green things with the blowers on the front are referred to as forced draft fire tube boiler, they look to be either natural gas or oil fired and I’m a fairly modern design probably late 60s to mid-70s I would say that each one is approximately 10000 horsepower equivalent normally steam is rated in either pounds per hour or horsepower.

    The pictures of the morgue that you have, are known as holding drawers normally there would be a large walk-in refrigerator where the bodies were kept on rack, until autopsy then they would be transferred to the holding drawers so it was easier for the pathologist to move them. The images we know from movies showing row upon row of drawers is hardly ever seen, for the exception of hospitals that were built in the 19 twenties and early thirties by the 1950s that system had gone it was now using large holding rooms.

  8. I worked in this facility for a few years. The building and grounds were beautiful! There are about 2 kilometres of underground tunnels that spanned the hospital and at one time under the roadway to the nurses residence across the road. There are so many stories of spirits and strange events and many staff would not walk the tunnels. The new hospital is beautiful but just not the same.

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