Then & Now

West Riding Paper Lunatic Asylum. 1895 - 2016. The hospital was designed on the broad arrow plan by architect J. Vickers Edwards. The 300 acre estate on which the asylum was built was purchased by the West Riding Justices for £18,000 in 1885 and the large gothic complex of stone buildings was formally opened on 8 October 1888. Now surrounded by an extensive housing development, the asylum was infamous for many unsavoury reasons over the years. The last of which was the case of Jimmy Saville during a series of visits in 1988, the accounts of which have only now been fully realised. In its final years of operation, High Royds had become outdated and unsuited to modern psychiatric practice. This was acknowledged by the chief executive of Leeds Mental Health in 1999 after complaints from consultants about violence and cramped conditions on the wards. The hospital closed for good in 2003.