Cassel Hospital

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Cassel Hospital
West London Mental Health NHS Trust
Cassel Hospital, Ham Common.jpg
Location Ham, London, England, GB
Coordinates 51°25′58″N 0°18′28″W / 51.4328°N 0.3078°W / 51.4328; -0.3078Coordinates: 51°25′58″N 0°18′28″W / 51.4328°N 0.3078°W / 51.4328; -0.3078
Care system NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Emergency department No
Helipad No
Speciality Psychiatry
Founded 1919

The Cassel Hospital was founded and endowed by Ernest Cassel in England in 1919. It was initially for the treatment of "shell shock" victims. Originally in Penshurst, Kent, it moved to Stoke-on-Trent during World War II. In 1948 it relocated to its present site at No. 1 Ham Common, Ham.[1]


Doorway to the Cassel Hospital, Ham Common

The present hospital was originally a late 18th century house known as Morgan House after its owner, philanthropist and writer, John Minter Morgan.[2] Morgan died in 1854 and is buried in nearby St Andrew's Church, Ham. In 1863 it became home to the newly married Duc de Chartres. In 1879 it became West Heath school for young ladies. The school moved to its present site in Sevenoaks, Kent in the 1930s, and the building became the Lawrence Hall Hotel until its purchase by the Cassel Foundation in 1947.[3][4] The building was Grade II listed in 1950.[5]


The hospital developed behavioural rather than medicinal techniques of group and individual psychotherapy. It was here that Tom Main along with Doreen Wedell pioneered the concept of a therapeutic community in the 1940s. Together they pioneered & developed the concept of Psychosocial Nursing. By promoting & being proud of the role of the nurse - rather than try to imitate therapists; working alongside the patient in everyday activities, Weddell & Main developed a whole new way of working that reduced dependence upon services and fostered patient's working collaboratively together. Nurses were supported and taught to understand their reparative need, to challenge their sense of omnipotence and to rely on the patient group as the most useful resource.[6] In 1948 Eileen Skellern came for their training and joined the staff in 1949.[7]

The hospital formally established a research department in 1995 and has collaborative relationships with University College London, Imperial College and the Centre for the Economics of Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, London.[8] It is now a psychotherapeutic community which provides day, residential and outreach services for young people and adults.[9] It is run by the West London Mental Health NHS Trust.


  1. ^ "Lost Hospitals of London". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Latham, Jackie E. M. (2012). "The Fame and Notoriety of Alcott House" (PDF). Ham & Petersham. Arcadian Times (Summer): 6. 
  3. ^ Green, James; Greenwood, Silvia (1980). Ham and Petersham as it was. Nelson: Hendon Publishing. ISBN 0-86067-057-0. 
  4. ^ Fison, Vanessa (2009). The Matchless Vale: the story of Ham and Petersham and their people. Richmond: Ham and Petersham Association. ISBN 978-0-9563244-0-5. 
  5. ^ "The Cassel Hospital". English Heritage. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Cassel Hospital". Association for Psychodynamic Practice and Counselling in Organisational Settings. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ David H. Russell, ‘Skellern, (Flora) Eileen (1923–1980)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  8. ^ "Research at The Cassel". West London Mental Health NHS Trust. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Model of Care". West London Mental Health NHS Trust. Retrieved 17 January 2013.