THE doors have finally closed on High Royds hospital shutting away 115 years of history.

The grand asylum was officially closed on Tuesday as the last five wards of patients were moved out.

The staff and patients have now been transferred to The Mount Hospital, Clarendon Road, in Leeds.

High Royds has been sold to developers The Raven Group for £26million, who intend to build more than 500 homes on the site and develop the sports facilities for the local community.

Aireborough MP Paul Truswell said: "The closure of High Royds represents the end of an era of both good and bad memories.

"I have had an active interest in mental health services for over 25 years, because I realised that people with mental health problems, and their carers, had a poor deal especially with the resources made available to provide care.

"I first visited High Royds in the late 1970s. I was struck by its enormity, the dedication of staff and many members of the local community, and the appaling conditions into which some of the wards had fallen.

"Providing individual care on such a massive scale was always difficult, though it did have the obvious advantage of providing sanctuary in a beautiful setting.

"Many people are grateful for the care they or loved ones received at High Royds. The movement of residents from High Royds has rightly been delayed until quality alternatives - and the extra funding needed - were in place."

Staff and residents will be given a last chance to look at the site in its present state by Sir Jimmy Savile on Sunday.

The veteran DJ will be raising money for charity Polio Plus when he starts a 1.5 kilometre sponsored walk at 11am.

High Royds will now reopen for two days only on Wednesday, March 19, and Thursday, March 20, as the hospital's furnishings are auctioned off.

The plans for the future of High Royds are expected to be submitted to Leeds City Council in March and the housing development will take five years to complete.

Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust has held a series of celebrations to mark the closure of the Menston institute.

Tours of the grounds were given and a service of thanksgiving was also held in the hospital's chapel to commemorate the closure.

The historic hospital opened in 1888 as West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum and was the third establishment of its kind to open in the former West Riding of Yorkshire.

The self-sufficient site included a library, surgery, dispensary, ballroom, butchers, dairies, bakers and its own railway.

By the 1930s a sweet shop, cobbler, upholsterer and a tailor were also added.

As part of the closure many of the original pieces of furniture will go under the hammer on March 20 at auction.

Anybody interested in attending the auction or requiring a promotion catalogue should contact Hilditch Auctioneers on 01666 822577.

The closure of High Royds was a result of Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust's £47million reprovision process, which has seen it move out of old fashioned and outdated facilities into state-of-the-art units.

The process has taken three years to complete.

High Royds has been designated for closure for the past 20 years under plans to modernise mental health services in Leeds and was initially set to close in 1997.