Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Abandonment Issues: Sidbrook Private Hospital
(Photo found online, courtesy of Cobourg Public Library. Unknown date.)
This Victorian villa was built in 1857 as a two-storey summer house for the Cobourg Railway Director. Modifications were made to the house in 1867, including roof alterations and the addition of the west wing. The third floor was added in 1900, along with the Beau-arts Corinthian portico with balcony and Corinthian porch.
It wasn't until 1952, when the 95 year old building became a private hospital.
50 years later, in 2002, Sidbrook Private Hospital closed its doors.
On this day in 2011, as I approached the 154 year old abandoned heritage site, I had other things on my mind. The tall green fence around Brookside Youth Centre across the street was giving me flashbacks. I was a different person once, I hated myself and hated the world and my actions reflected that. I spent a substantial amount of my teenage years incarcerated in maximum and medium security young offender facilities across Ontario. I did two or three stints in Brookside in the early-mid nineties and it was very much still on my mind as I explored the abandoned villa slash hospital across the road. I peeked out the third floor windows at the green fence, trying to remain hidden from view, but attempting to spot Johnson House. The kid in the cell seemed so distant to the middle-aged man in the abandoned hospital across the street. If I could only talk to him, I used to think. Now I wouldn't say a word, cause I know he eventually finds his way.
I went up the tight servants staircase, then down to the pitch black basement. The woodwork in the foyer and main staircase was absolutely beautiful, and I stood there silently for a minute or two. A dozen or so pigeons, grackles and sparrows were singing upstairs. I ascended the broad staircase and crept down the winding hall towards the bathtub, which sat in the middle of the room at the end of the hall. It was a song of urgency and panic that these birds were singing. Flapping their wings, whizzing by my head and thudding into windows in an attempt at an escape. A break and exit, if you will. I could relate to this trapped feeling, this sense of urgency and panic. A short time later, I freely exited the building of my own will, and left all of that shit behind me.
Exploring this location was a triumphant and rewarding experience, and I'm happy to be able to share it with you.
A health spa was rumoured to be taking over the building, but that never materialized. It is now rumoured that the building may be re-purposed into 6 condos.
*** UPDATE *** October 15, 2013 ***
On September 1st, 2013, well over two years after our first visit, we once again found our way inside. It is truly a shame that this building continues to deteriorate and no signs of progress have emerged as far as saving this beautiful historic structure. The City of Cobourg is continually ordering the property owner to reseal the building and boards now cover many of the windows on all three floors. The decay has only gotten worse within these walls.
With not a lot of light creeping in, we turned the camera on each other and had some fun taking portraits.
Hopefully this building will be saved before it is too late, but that is looking less and less likely as time passes.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES