Law Hospital near Carluke, East of Glasgow, was a regular urbex haunt until an infamous incident this July when the BBC got hold of pictures of confidential patient information, and the usual media panic took over. I’d never been to Law, so I went along one Monday for a look – expecting an almost empty site, it was surprising to find the place absolutely packed with people, maybe a hundred cars parked everywhere, and loads of activity.
So I went back on a Sunday morning – even then, I was constantly dodging workmen. The place has definitely been seriously turned over in a hurry – most doors have yellow ticks on them, and “Clear” is written outside most buildings.
Most of Law Hospital is a series of single-storey wards – built as an emergency medical service hospital just before WWII, most of them are pre-fab huts built to last only a decade or two:
Hartwood Hospital was, at one time, the largest asylum in Europe, designed to house 500 patients in six wards.
Construction started in the beginning of 1890 on land purchased from Lord Deas (the “hanging judge”), with a branch line built from the nearby Hartwood Station. The official opening was on 20th May 1895, and by 1901 the hospital had over 800 patients, in a hospital that was it’s own self-contained world with it’s own farm, power plant, water supply, cottages for staff, bowling greens and train service. Hartwood pioneered the idea that psychiatric patients should not just be locked away, but some attempt should be made to treat them – Hartwood was the first hospital in Scotland to use Lobotomy as a cure, pioneered occupational therapy, and in 1985 was the first hospital to try community care.
The hospital just about made it to it’s centenary, and it’s College of Nursing, annexed to Strathclyde University’s Bell College, survived a bit longer and closed in 2000. Most of the wards were demolished, but the main building with it’s twin towers survived, and for a time became the Lanarkshire Media Centre, home to Lanarkshire TV, a short-lived local TV station. That lasted a couple of years then the building was abandoned, and suffered a serious fire in 2004. It now stands very derelict.
This was a two-day explore – first to have a look at the nursing college, then back a week later for the main building. The nursing college covers three sides of a square, and is an elegant Victorian stone building. Access isn’t for the faint-hearted…