Long Grove Hospital

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Long Grove Hospital, formerly Long Grove Asylum was a mental hospital, part of the Epsom Cluster of hospitals in Epsom, Surrey in the United Kingdom.

Construction[edit]

The hospital was built for the London County Council and opened in 1906. It was the third to follow architect George Thomas Hine's (Bexley) plan for accommodation for 2,000 patients. The re-use of an existing plan allowed the LCC to pass the plans through the development stage and approval by the Commissioners in Lunacy faster than a new plan.[1]

At the peak of construction activity on the Long Grove site in 1905 about 1,100 men were employed, around 900 of them recruited from the London unemployed and brought down from Waterloo daily in special trains, half their 4 shilling (20 pence) return fare being paid by building contractor Forster & Dicksee.[2]

The Horton Light Railway was constructed to transport building materials to the site and was later used to transport hospital supplies to Long Grove and the other hospitals on the estate.[2]

Buildings[edit]

The central axis of service buildings included the administration block, recreation hall with flanking male and female staff blocks, kitchens and main store. As usual for the time, gender-specific workplaces such as the laundry, workshops and boiler house were located on the side corresponding to their respective workforces. A large arc of corridor linked all wards, with radiating corridors making the entire main complex easily accessible. Parole and infirmary blocks were situated within the grounds, as was a detached chapel, senior staff and official's housing and an isolation hospital.[1]

Typhoid Unit[edit]

Between c.1944 and 1992 at least 43 female typhoid carriers were held at Long Grove in a secure isolation unit without parole. All of the women came from the London area and despite having recovered from the disease were deemed a public health risk as they still hosted and excreted the bacteria.

Hospital staff were made to undergo decontamination on entering and leaving the ward and wore masks and surgical gowns at all times. All toilets in the unit were flushed using boiling water to minimise the risk of infection. It is believed that the women were detained even after the advent of antibiotic treatments in the 1950s, due to the state of their mental health, which may have deteriorated partly as a result of their incarceration.

The unit was the subject of a BBC investigation in 2008 which alleged that carriers were kept unnecessarily in "prison-like conditions"[3]

Notable Patients[edit]

Former patients of the hospital include Josef Hassid (a Polish violin prodigy), Ronnie Kray (one of the Kray twins) and George Pelham (a man who survived the sinking of two ships, including the RMS Titanic).[4]

Closure and Redevelopment[edit]

The hospital closed in 1992 and most of the buildings were subsequently demolished. Those which were retained were converted into apartments and incorporated into Clarendon Park, a new development of houses and flats.[1] Parts of the surrounding landscaped grounds have been preserved and now form part of Horton Country Park.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "London County Asylum: Long Grove". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  2. ^ a b "Epsom's Hospitals Cluster". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  3. ^ "BBC News: Typhoid women were kept in asylum". 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  4. ^ "Lost Hospitals of London: Long Grove". Retrieved 2012-01-21. 
  5. ^ "Horton Country Park Map & Tour". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 

Coordinates: 51°20′58″N 0°17′24″W / 51.3494°N 0.2901°W / 51.3494; -0.2901