Exploring the Abandoned London Psychiatric Hospital
Since 1870 this property has served as the London Psychiatric Hospital with London Health Sciences, from as far back to the days when alcohol was used to sedate patients, restraints were common and a lack of sensitivity to the mentally ill was captured by the name “Insane Asylum”. Over the years, health care would progress and the province would take over mental health care, moving away from the asylum for more of a clinical and hospital like setting.
The area within the province of Ontario and the London Psychiatric Hospital is in close relation to a number of others that have also been closed down, vacated and abandoned as the province builds larger hospitals with more specialized care and treatment.
In 1963, demolition began on the Ontario Hospital London, formerly the London Asylum for the Insane, and soon after construction began on a new mental health facility – the London Psychiatric Hospital (LPH). During the 1960s to late 1990s the hospital was still a regional resource and people came from all over Southwestern Ontario to receive care. It was also during this time that many changes to mental health care were developed, including new therapies, programs and advancement
As St. Joseph’s Health Care London began their governance of the psychiatric hospital in 2001, the name of the facility changed from the London Psychiatric Hospital to the Regional Mental Health Care London (RMHCL). This era was especially tied to change as mental health transformation began to take shape, including plans to build a new facility. The region also saw a shift in location of care. Individuals no longer came from across the region to one facility. Instead patients were cared for in newly established or expanded programs in their home communities, and a stronger emphasis was seen on community programs and support.
I have had the opportunity to explore this abandoned Psychiatric Hospital several times over the years and have come to be very familiar with its long dark tunnel system that connects all of the wings.