Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.28: Oxley Mansions

Oxley Mansions (located on Southcote Lane and not far from Burn Hill) was purchased by high-end property developers a few years back, and subsequently transformed from what was once a dilapidated wreck into luxury flats. A listed building (for reasons that no one can quite understand), the exterior still retains something of its prior grim demeanour - the architectural hangover from a time when the building went by another name: Oxley Secure Psychiatric Unit.

In the post-war period, it was becoming apparent (at least to those administering the provision of the National Health Service in the borough) that Horsingdon evidenced an extremely high instance of severe mental health issues amongst its population. In comparison to other local councils in the Greater London area, levels of violent crime in which the disordered mental state of the perpetrators was determined as a principal factor, were also noticeably higher. To address this issue, a number of psychiatric units were created throughout the borough. Oxley Secure Psychiatric Unit was established in a building that had belonged to the Boreham family, but had lain empty since James Boreham's death. The building was eventually acquired by Horsingdon Council by way of a compulsory purchase order.

Given Boreham's usavoury reputation for involvement in various forms of diabolism and witchcraft, it is perhaps unsurprising that Oxley Secure Psychiatric Unit had a troubled - and indeed troubling - history. With close links to Northwich Park Polytechnic's Department of Psychology - and in particular with the department's controversial Anomalistic Psychology Research Centre - it hasn't taken conspiracy theorists long to connect rumours regarding clandestine government-sponsored projects within the old Radiophonics department to other, wilder speculations: namely those concerning secret experiments of a highly bizarre nature, supposedly conducted upon the unwilling inmates of Oxley Secure Psychiatric Unit.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, many residence of the area would claim that the psychic residue of so many violently-disturbed minds have left their mark on Oxley Mansions, such that none of the locals would consider living in the place (even were they able to afford to do so). There are those who keep alive the tradition of the Black Bowers who also give credence to tales of secret government experiments, hinting at their own participation in projects involving unsettled minds who had been touched by - and who as a consequence had become conduits to - Those Who Wait.

There are times when I find myself half-believing such tales, for there is something about the region that seems to call to the Outside.

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