As a lad I was treated at Batley Hospital.

I distinctly remember splitting my eyelid at Batley Scouts while playing British Bulldogs and being taken to the hospital on Carlinghow Hill to have it stitched. I won’t be so presumptious as to say “Ah the good old days”, but when I look at the state of the building today, then it does make me sad.

At least, this magnificant Victorian building is being saved, even though it might not look like it at the moment. As is known about town, it has been bought by a Muslim Education Trust, who apparently want to turn it into a girls school.

During my visit to my home town in August 2015, I decided to pay the old hospital a visit and take a few pics while I was there.

There I almost immediately discovered that the Victorian architecture is endangered, or so it seems. Parking the car down the side of the hospital on Transvaal terrace, I saw that a lot of modernisation has taken place here and a lot of the original architecture has gone (pic.)

From Transvaal terrace I walked down the side of the hospital down the path towards the face of it on Carlinghow Hill, and was almost immediately stopped by one of the neighbours to the Hospital, telling me that it was private property, and he asked me politely, but firmly, to leave the premises. So all pics on this page were taken from the causeway on Carlinghow Hill, apart from the one above showing the side of the building.

To be fair to him however, he was quite apologetic about it, and we did have a good long chat afterwards when I came back for the car.

Apparently a lot of vandalism has taken place since the modernisation started. He told of people coming with ladders and breaking into the building, and now they had managed to get things quietened down, they obviously want to keep things that way. Which is understandable, of course.

A few treasures have also been uncovered it seems during building work. I was told, for instance, that when the plaster was taken off the wall they discovered an original plaque with the names of all the sponsors of the hospital when it was built. Apparently the local mill owners payed a lot of money back in the day to get the hospital built and opened. This plaque is to be restored, I was told, and will hopefully be available to the people of the town in some form.

To round up this post, I would like to comment upon a remark made by a chap working in the garden with the man that threw me off the premises, and a remark I have heard a lot before and after. After the usual question, where did I come from, upon which I answered Batley of course, although I hadn’t been here for a while, I received the comment “You haven’t missed much”. But he is wrong you know. Although the heart has been ripped out of the town centre after the re-building of Commercial Street and the ultimate expansion of Tescos, the town still has a lot to offer, at least as far as architecture and history is concerned, and still has a lot of character.

We mourn the loss of such buildings as the Coop, but we tend to romanticise. I grew up in Batley and remember how filthy the town used to be. A lot of the old buildings have since been sand blasted or tidied up, but back on the day they were black and very unattractive. We shouldn’t forget that.

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