Inside Britain’s haunted asylum

Peeling wallpaper, empty beds and an abandoned swimming pool – inside the derelict lunatic asylum dubbed the most haunted hospital in Britain.


Cherry Knowles Hospital, formerly known as the Sunderland Lunatic Asylum, closed in 1998.

It became a magnet for ghost hunters who were drawn to tales of forgotten furniture moving by itself and voices echoing through the eerie labyrinthine corridors.

Photographers David Morley, 20, and Steve Vernon, 36, explored the crumbling building.

Mr Morley said: “It was a spooky experience, walking around the place at night.

“We were quite frightened. It was dark and damp. There were even trees growing through into parts of the building.

IMG_1604“The wind whistled through the cracks in the walls and the ceilings were saggy and unstable.

“I don’t think I would ever want to go back there again.”

Mr Morley and Mr Vernon, of Doncaster, who visited the site in 2009, discovered a broken typewriter, a swimming pool filled with cold, stagnant water and an blackboard still displaying the lunch menu from July 1993.

Chillingly, in the darkness they found lengths of wool and chord trailed from room to room.

Mr Morley said: “We only realised what the chords were for as we left the asylum – it was so ghosthunters could find their way back out again in IMG_1585the dark. It was a maze in there.”

Online ghost hunting forums describe Cherry Knowles, which had a history of violent incidents occurring within its walls while it functioned as an asylum, as the most haunted hospital in the UK.

The asylum was built in 1895 and was designed by renowned British asylum architect George Thomas Hine.

Cherry Knowles was demolished in 2011 to make way for 770 new homes.

Urban explorers David Morley and Steve Vernon have featured in a couple of my urban exploration stories.

The Daily Mail: Where military vehicles go to die… Inside the abandoned RAF station where trucks and boats from D-Day to the Cold War have been left to rot

The Daily Mail: Who would live in a gothic manor like this? Mysterious abandoned ‘doctor’s house’ has five vintage cars in the garage, yellowing copies of Which Car magazine littering the halls and swimming pool covered with moss

If you have your own set of unique urban exploration pictures, and would like to see them published. Email me at I would love to hear from you.

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