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High Royds Hospital, Menston, Ilkley, Yorkshire: a corridor. Pencil drawing by Paul Digby, 2003-2004.

  • Digby, Paul.
03/04 [March 2004]
  • Pictures
  • Online

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Credit: High Royds Hospital, Menston, Ilkley, Yorkshire: a corridor. Pencil drawing by Paul Digby, 2003-2004.Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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About this work


High Royds was a Victorian lunatic asylum, subsequently a psychiatric hospital, built in 1888. Previous names include West Riding Mental Hospital (by 1929-1948), Menston Mental Hospital (1949-1951), and Menston Hospital (1952-1963). It closed in February-March 2003.

"Just before the final closure of High Royds Hospital, before the contractors moved in to convert the place into private housing, there was a week of events ensuring that the end of over 100 years of hospital care on this site did not go unmarked. Events included guided tours of the hospital, an artist working on the walls of the old library and an art therapy workshop was offered to patients on one of the remaining wards ... The tour passed through the old library where the artist Paul Digby was making a wall drawing for the occasion. The drawing was of rooms inside the hospital that he remembered. He had invited people to talk to him about what he was doing and paper was provided for people to write thoughts about the closure. Comments were mixed; some expressed sadness at the passing of such an established institution. Other remarks included 'I'm glad it's going', 'I was frightened when I was a patient here'. The passing of High Royds Hospital as one of the last large institutions to close down does indeed mark part of something important. These buildings witnessed and accommodated huge changes in social and economic conditions and in treatment and attitudes in mental health: a hundred years of history of ordinary men and women in Yorkshire"--Weston, op. cit.


03/04 [March 2004]

Physical description

1 drawing : pencil ; sheet 120 x 150 cm



High Royds Hospital corridor. Paul Digby 03/04

References note

Sally Weston, 'High Royds Hospital--end of an era', website of Including us: celebrating mental health in Leeds (accessed 14 December 2004)
Simon Wessely, 'Art amid the Bedlam', Lancet, vol. 388, 15 October 2016, pp. 1872-1873 ("Now when we think of asylums, it is hard not to recall their dominant visual image: the corridor. Friern Barnet, once Colney Hatch Asylum and now converted into luxury flats, possessed the longest corridor in Europe. Paul Digby is one of many contemporary artists who have responded to the asylum. A corridor (2003–04) depicts High Royds Hospital, and captures the disillusion that replaced the initial optimism.")


Wellcome Library no. 643245i

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Copyright Paul Digby 2004. The copyright holder has granted a licence to the Wellcome Trust to reproduce the work and to authorise its reproduction


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