Abandoned Manchester: Exploring Barnes Hospital

Barnes Hospital in Cheadle, Manchester, was closed and Grade II listed in 1999 during healthcare cutbacks. The imposing 1870s brick-built structure has changed hands several times and appears to be for sale again. Can a developer save it from falling in to ruin?

Manchester Royal Infirmary chose to build the original Barnes Convalescent Home away from the then industrial and polluted city. The hospital was named after Robert Barnes, who donated £26,000 in 1869 to finance the construction of the Gothic building.

The huge structure was built between 1871 and 1875. During construction work, parts of crosses dating from the Anglo-Saxon period (450 – 1066 AD) and 1200 AD were found on the site – suggesting that it was once an important religious location.

The closure of Barnes Hospital coincided with the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, which ensured refugee provision was dispersed more evenly across the UK. The former hospital appears to have housed many refugees from Kosovo as part of this process.

As well as stroke victims and elderly patients, the now abandoned hospital once played a part in the recuperation of wounded World War Two soldiers. On screen, it featured in a 1974 horror film called The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and in Most Haunted Live (2005).

In 2001, Realty Estates bought Barnes Hospital. It was then purchased by Irish property developers Benmore who in turn sold it on. The 15 acre estate is now for sale once more with planning permission to convert the main building into 63 or 78 residential apartments, as well as creating 59 or 100 further apartments on the estate.

Source: Urban Ghosts Media