Inside the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution

Published on Mon Nov 10, 2014 by

I visited a really interesting building - the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution in Newsham Park. The doors were open for the Liverpool Arts Festival on the 8th and 9th of November 2014 and featured loads of artists and performers. But for me, it was an opportunity to have a look inside the building and discover a little about it's past.

The Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution was built in the 1870s by benefactor Ralf Brocklebank, as there were a large number children orphaned during maritime disasters. The Orphanage opened in 1873 and housed 182 children. Designed by the top Victorian Liverpool-born architect Alfred Waterhouse, it was built to an incredible standard, ensuring its survival in spite of being derelict for nearly 20 years. Other buildings then opened and in 1879 the Sanatorium opened. By the end of the First World War it was estimated there had nearly 1000 children living in the orphanage, since it opened. New facilities, including classrooms were added in the 1930's before the orphanage closed in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War and fear of the building being bombed. It reopend in 1946, however due to financial difficulties it was forced to close in 1949. Two years later the Government bought the building and converted it into a Psychiatric facility called Newsham Park Hospital.

The hospital officially stopped taking new patients in 1988 and in 1992 all remaining patients and staff were relocated. Later in 1992, Rainhill Lunatic Asylum inmates were moved to Newsham Park Hospital taking up 90% of its space and some £1.6 million was spent on the hospital so it could house its new patients. But by 1997, the building closed its doors one final time to residents.

Apparently a few parts of the building are haunted and the buildings new owners make the most of this with ghost tours and hiring the place out to film and movie-makers. More info here - http://www.paranormalunited.co.uk/royal-liverpool-seamans-orphanage-newsham-park-hospital-haunted/

Beware Patients Crossing

Liverpool Arts Festival poster at the entrance

Main corridor

Main dining room used as a gallery

Windows and curtains

Inner courtyard

Old dirty ward door

Kitchen stain

Old kitchen units

You also might be interested in photographs of another empty building - the old postal sorting office Copperas Hill

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Author: David J Colbran
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