Brookwood Hospital at Woking in Surrey, was established in 1867 by Surrey Quarter Sessions as the second County Asylum, the first being Springfield Asylum in Tooting. A third asylum followed in 1882 at Cane Hill in Coulsdon in the eastern part of the county.
Designed by architect Charles Henry Howell, the principal asylum architect in England and architect to the Lunacy Commissioners and Surrey County Surveyor from 1860–1893, the 'Brookwood Asylum', as it was originally known, was renamed 'Brookwood Hospital' in 1919.
From its opening on 17 June 1867 until its closure in 1994, Brookwood Hospital was the leading mental hospital for the western half of Surrey, occupying a large site at Knaphill, near Brookwood. The hospital had a dairy farm, a cobbler's workshop, a large ballroom, and had its own fire brigade, gasworks and sewage farm. It employed the services of many local businesses.
During World War II the Hospital served as an emergency war hospital.
It was occupied by staff protesting about staff shortages in 1982. Only 420 were in post out of an establishment of 805.
Since its closure in 1994 the land has been sold off for development for housing, and the Hospital's annexe block, which is listed, has been converted into luxury apartments. Several of the new residential roads were named after the old hospital wards. The hospital's chapel is now a Buddhist temple and the former mortuary now provides living accommodation for the temple's monks. A large two-storey building that was originally the hospital's social club has been converted and registered as a children’s day care centre and nursery.
Brookwood Hospital Archive
In 2002 a grant from the Wellcome Trust's Research Resources in Medical History grant scheme allowed a comprehensive catalogue of the historic archive of Brookwood Hospital to be made. This catalogue has made the archive available to researchers as a source for medical, social and local historians.
The preserved archive is very extensive and provides a detailed overview of the day-to-day running of Brookwood Hospital and of the medical care provided to its patients throughout its history. The records also show how the hospital operated as a self-contained community, employing patients with skills in cooking, cleaning and gardening, providing training workshops, a 12-acre (49,000 m2) farm which provided food for both the Hospital and for sale, and details of the entertainment provided for the residents.