Inside The Abandoned Barrow Gurney Hospital


Inside the derelict Barrow Gurney Psychiatric Hospital, just outside of Bristol in Somerset

The hospital was first built between 1934-1937 with the first patients being admitted in 1938 along with being commandeered by the Royal Navy during the outbreak of World War 2 as a Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital.

barrow gurney hospital

It was used then to treat seamen injured during conflicts or who were suffering from psychological distress and onwards in time until it closed in 2006 to treat mental health disorders, and had been referred to for sometime as being a very haunted colony of buildings.

clown painting on barrow gurney hospital

It indeed had an incredibly eerie feeling to it, as the wind chased up behind you in decayed, creaky corridors, howling around broken doors.

when i was a kid a pinhead looked like this grafitti

You would turn a corner to find disturbing artworks and graffiti, the old surgery room and chair, old belongings and bedding of former patients scattered across rotting warped floors.

barrow gurney hospital grafitti

A couple of times we weren’t sure if we wanted to go in any further, but we did…

barrow gurney hallway

We explored much of the old hospital, a beautiful building surrounded by woodland and wild flowers, so sad how it had been left in such a state. But the further we wondered into the buildings, the creepy atmosphere made us realise why it was left like this.

barrow gurney window

After reading up on what happened here it sounds like they didn’t have the resources to keep the place clean and safe.

glove on stairs

By the 1960s, reports suggest that standards in the hospital had declined, with patients complaining of boredom, grim surroundings, urine-stained chairs and a distinct lack of comfort.

broken stairs barrow gurney hospital

In 2005 national survey of hospital cleanliness named Barrow as the dirtiest in hospital in Britain after inspectors found cigarette burns on floors, graffiti on walls, urine stains around a toilet and stains from bodily fluids on the bottom of a hoist chair.

barrow gurney sillouete
Is that a face in the window?

Not long after that part of a ceiling collapsed on a patients head and in 2006 the grounds were deserted.

barrow gurney hospital ceiling

With the buildings left to decay, it created a playground for re-claimers, vandalism, graffiti artists and urban explorers.

barrow gurney hospital bedroom

Now the site is now completely demolished and plans are in place for a development of luxury housing and a retirement homes.

Artwork By JPS

Words and photos by Hannahbella @hannahbellaaaa

10 Top Street Artists to Catch At Upfest 2016 


Upfest 2016

Billed as Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival, Upfest is a celebration of Bristol’s diverse and eclectic urban art scene. It takes place in and around Bedminster over three days from this Saturday 23rd July, with some of the finest and most talented artists from Bristol, the UK and further afield in attendance.

The festival has grown year on year from its inception eight years ago. 500 visitors came to see 50 skilled street artists at work at the first outing in 2008. By 2015, those figures had swollen to 30,000 visitors and 300 artists — turning our city into one enormous canvas of colour. Even today, almost a year later, you can still see artworks from previous years’ festivals on the walls of Bristol.

Upfest 2016 is just around the corner and the stage is set for a fresh new paint-job, so here’s a little insight into a few of the artists to look out for. You’ll find big names from Bristol alongside others you may not have heard of. Look out for these guys and gals at work on their walls, or simply stroll among the various venues and soak up the festival atmosphere. Cheers then!

Gemma Compton 

gemma compton ufest

A Bristol-based artist and fashion designer, Gemma works with a broad range of materials from cloth to concrete. With a love of nature, a fondness for the countryside and a keen eye for detail, she’s one to watch out for. If you’d like a taster of her work in advance of the festival, check out the Upfest flyer or visit the shop on North St — she decorated both.

Daniel Doebner

daniel doebner upfest

Daniel is a German-born artist from Aachen, who began his artistic career as an illustrator before falling for the thrill of the spray-can. He’s presented his work in exhibitions and projects across Europe, published books and started a career as a digital visualizer in the Netherlands. Daniel is a bold experimenter who has worked on surfaces of all kinds, but for him, Upfest represents a return to his roots.  


sepre upfest

Sepr has painted and exhibited across the globe, from the U.S. and Mexico all the way to Australia. A member of the KTF & ASK crews, Sepr is a Bristol painter known for his character-based art and unique style.


goin upfest

GOIN is a French artist associated with the Abode of Chaos, a contemporary art museum and ‘replica war zone’ nestled in an otherwise peaceful village outside Lyon. With advanced stencil skills and an anarchic outlook, GOIN is a talented artist who paints to get you thinking.

Daniela Reed 

daniela reed upfest

Daniela employs spray paint, acrylic, pen and ink to create striking images around diverse themes including politics and feminism. Inspired by the street art she sees around her right here in Bristol, Daniela depicts the human body in all its power and fragility.


atm upfest

With diverse bird and animal life in sharp decline, ATM is a street artist on a mission. He paints images of species whose numbers are falling fastest, highlighting their plight and reminding us all of their natural beauty. The goal is to encourage people to help protect birds and other wildlife from further decline.


cheo upfest

Cheo is a Brizzle lad, and one of the city’s best-known artists-in-residence. His colourful palette and comic-book approach mark him out as an artist of distinction, and his work is among Bristol’s most recognisable and enjoyable. He’s painted everything from refuse skips to skateboards, with his trade-mark bumble bee never far behind.

Cheo collaborated with Upfest this year to mark the Mr Men Little Miss’ 45th anniversary celebrations. He created Mr Graff — the newest and coolest of all the Mr Men characters — who you’ll spot in his signature red cap on the streets of Bedminster soon!

Cosmo Sarson

cosmo upfest

Cosmo Sarson is the man behind Bristol’s own ‘Breakdancing Jesus’ — a talented and experienced artist with a strong portfolio of eye-catching work. He last painted at Upfest in 2011 and created the world’s first ‘interactive mural’ for the Olympic Arts Trail in 2012.


zina upfest

Zina is a freelance artist and illustrator, born in Norway and based in London. With varied themes including mythology, ancient history and the mystic world to fuel her lively imagination, Zina draws on diverse ethnic cultures in her work.


zase upfestBorn in Trencin, Slovakia, Zase has been part of his local art and graffiti scene since the mid-nineties. In a place where the street art scene was low-key and lacking, Zase felt inspired to push himself and develop his skills. Now a well-established artist in his own right, Zase travels the world collaborating with diverse talents in a broad range of formats.

NACOA + Upfest

Aside from showcasing amazing street art, Upfest has a second key aim; to shine a light on the important work of NACOA — the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Obviously a worthy cause, and one many people perhaps feel doesn’t get the attention it should.

The festival brings together a whole host of talented Djs and bands, beatboxers, dancers, and workshops where budding artists of all ages can learn new skills. You’ll find affordable artwork for sale, and plenty to eat and drink as you explore the bars, galleries and walls of Bedminster.

Roll on Saturday… Enjoy!

Like this? Check out more of cjcallaghan’s thoughts on Bristol’s beautiful street art.

You can give Chris a follow on Twitter here.

Produced with help from @Upfest.

Further reading;

An in-depth look at the artists attending this year’s Upfest.

A full map of the festival site.

Details on NACOA — the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. and

10 Awesome Pieces of Street Art by Bristol Artist Angus


Born and bred in south Bristol, Angus has always been based within a two mile radius of  Totterdown.

His artwork is scattered across the city and the UK and has a very distinctive style.

He loves the City so much he has never left.

I love Bristol. There’s always something to do or see. It’s diverse and constantly evolving. It really is the place to be. It has something for everybody, no matter what their background is.

1.  Good Game.        

good game street art
My piece in the ‘Ivory Towers’ gallery, to help raise awareness for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation .

On Bristol and art

Growing up in Bristol, I think I subconsciously took it (street art) in. I mean, it’s everywhere! Then I asked myself, why aren’t you already doing this?

I only really started 12-16 months back. Friends were telling me to do something, and helped set up a Facebook page for my work and off I went! I don’t really take many pictures of my work. I do it for the people of Bristol. Brightening their day or trying to make them laugh or think.

I do often get tagged in other people’s pics. I keep the stencils as a photo album / memory scrapbook sort of thing. I am constantly thinking about what to do next. Scribbling down ideas and looking out for more locations. I think it was in Brick lane, in London, I realised I was doing something people liked, when I turned around towards the end of doing a piece, as it was getting dark (which one?) because I could hear lots of camera clicking going on, and realised there were 30 people taking photo’s of my work! I was blown away.

2. The Peace Enforcer

peace enforcer
My reaction to the decision made by the House of Commons on the 3rd of December. Bombing for peace.

 How would you describe your style?

The majority of my work is stencil work. I started out with a pencil, some card and acrylic paint. And now pencils, card, Posca pens, spray-paints, tape (always have tape!) and a cutting mat.

Yeah, I’d say my work is cartoon based. Not necessarily done deliberately. I wanted to do something for children and adults. Playful, colourful cartoon images for children, with a controversial text beside. For example, the Aladdin piece, I overheard a child asking their parent, “Why is he wearing a life jacket mummy?”

I like to shock people a little. Play around with taboo subjects. Be a little offensive, but not too offensive. Show them what is really happening in the world, but making it a little bit more palatable by using a cartoon characters. If I make one person smile, then I am happy. You are never going to win everyone over.

3. A whole new world

aladin bomb jacket

Tell us about your influences?

Growing up in Bristol was a big influence. Street art is everywhere. I think we all subconsciously soak it in, whatever our view of it is. I grew up loving pop art. Andy Warhol always caught my eye, I’m a fan of bright colours. I respect fine art, but pop art spoke to me. I found it easier to comprehend.

4. You Silly Sodsilly sod

My real inspiration was UpFest 2013. I was going into town to meet some friends and I took a wrong turn and ended up on Nelson Street surrounded by a sea of people, smiles and painters. Art works going up left, right and centre. I instantly wanted to be a part of it.

I met an artist called Bill who asked if I wanted to hang out and paint. He encouraged me to pick up a can and have a go. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I stayed for the rest of the afternoon. We’re still friends now. I don’t think I would have started it it wasn’t for him getting me to try it. He taught me to say yes more, to try things out and to join the Secret Society of Super Villain Artists, a group of over 5000 artists, who are all about art and who do not condone vandalism.

5. Vandalism or Art?

vandalism or art

big influence would definitely be Inkie, another Bristol bred street artist (he did the piece on the side of the Thekla). He was an artist I knew of in 2013 and had seen his work around Bristol for years. I have massive respect for him, he does everything freehand, which blows me away!

6. Cliche Soup

cliche soup

7. Robophobic 

bender art
A piece for the night The Artist Awakens at The Underdog Gallery.

8. Divine Intervention 

devine intervention

9. No Thrills

tesco value spray paint

10. Where is the Love. Collaboration with Diff 

where is the love

It’s really a hobby. I get commissioned to do pieces for people and places. I always get a massive rush doing it, even with permission! I think progression in street art is endless. You can see that down at Deans Lane, it’s a great practice ground for all types of street artists. The paint there must be inches thick (laughs) with many stories to tell.

What about my future? I want to do more cartoons, covering more taboo subjects, going for bigger sizes and spaces. One of the most exciting things about what I do, is not knowing what happens next. I’m excited to find out. I would like to think I have made some sort of impact in the Bristol scene. Hopefully good.

That was 10 awesome pieces of street art by Angus, what a nice, talented chap. If you would like to see more of his work you can find him on his Facebook page or on Instagram.

If you’d like your work to be featured on the Best of Bristol just send us an email to