Home Kent News Inside Rochester’s abandoned hospital that was once the oldest in the UK

Inside Rochester’s abandoned hospital that was once the oldest in the UK

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Original article from Kent Live

New footage and images of the interior of St Bartholomew's Hospital in Rochester have emerged.

The creepy snaps show a glimpse inside the now-demolished building before redevelopment began.

The new footage and photographs, taken in 2020 before work started on redeveloping the hospital, was shared with KentLive by Kim 'KHUrbanX' Hargreaves.

The keen urban explorer runs her own YouTube channel and Facebook page documenting ruined and abandoned buildings across the county.

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A building of huge historical importance, at the time of its closure St Bartholomew's was the oldest operating hospital in the UK – having been open for well over 900 years.

The building as it was when it closed was, of course, not the original structure from 1078 – but it had stood in Rochester in one form or another since the dawn of what would become the modern United Kingdom.

The facade of the building

To put this in context – the hospital had already existed for 137 years when the first ever Parliament of England was formed – the precursor to our modern government.

Having since been gutted for refurbishment, the interior looks a lot less like a former NHS hospital and a little more like something out of a horror film.

Many will know the hospital from their own visits over the years.

The interior had been stripped bare, ready for partial demolition and refurbishment.

One commenter on a post from Kim's social media pointed out that one room looked familiar – and may have been where they were based for their pre-nursing training in the 1980s.

The looming Victorian-era structure is certainly atmospheric, with high ceilings and stark interior calling back to building's 1800s origins.

It's hard to believe that, at the time of filming, the hospital had only been disused for four years.

One Facebook commenter thought this huge open room was once where they trained to be a nurse.

The new development means that many of these rooms will soon be completely refurbished.

And if they're not extensively remodelled it's likely they will be gone completely, as the new flat block is designed to keep the original architectural style in tact.

St Bart's, as it was known to locals, was built with charitable donations in the 19th century, having fallen into disrepair centuries earlier, in spite of continued operation.

It was then brought under NHS control in 1948 under Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

At this time the site provided in-patient rehabilitation wards as well as a variety of specialised clinics.

It was eventually sold for just £2.65 million in 2016 for redevelopment, a fee dwarfed by just how big the building itself is.

Though these flowers placed on an operating table look fresh, Hargreaves confirmed they were plastic imitations.

Going further back in to the past, there is a once long forgotten Chapel at the heart of the original hospital.

This older piece of history was built in 1115 by the Normans.

It changed hands a number of times over the centuries, falling into ruin multiple times.

It was refurbished in 1962, but once again fell back into disrepair.

In more recent years it was gutted and renovated and is now owned by Granite Gym.

With the latest redevelopment of St Bart's ending the hospital's connections to its storied past, these videos and images taken before refurbishment began are a final look at centuries of history.

Kent is an absolutely stunning place to live.

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They capture the sense of the historic unknown that the building came to represent.

No doubt there are many stories lost to time that were held in the walls of this building.

Luckily these survive through digital records like those shot by Kim.

Original Article