The History of St. Andrews Asylum (Norfolk Lunatic Asylum Annexe) (UK)

posted in Care Institutions

The History of St. Andrews Asylum (Norfolk Lunatic Asylum Annexe) (UK)

The History of St. Andrews Asylum

St. Andrews Asylum is also known as the Norfolk Lunatic Asylum Annexe. Its a vast complex arrangement of traditional H shaped buildings all linked with a straight trunk corridor. Its rumoured that St. Andrews is only one of two original asylums that has a curved corridor. The main Norfolk County Asylum has been refurbished into luxury housing.

St. Andrews Asylum - Curved corridor

Background

Since the move of the Norfolk Primary Care Trust, St. Andrews has been for sale for either conversion into offices or flats. The length of time that St. Andrews has been left shows. Inside, there is moderate damage to roofing and flooring, its looks to be a direct result from copper/metal thefts. This building has had approximately half refurbishment in the last twenty years, the other half is representative of the more original decoration, mainly due to asbestos risks in a significant proportion of build.

In April, 2012 the building and land has been acquired for conversion into offices and asbestos removal has started in preparation for further work.

St. Andrews Asylum - Corridor

Background

Plans for St. Andrews annexe, a separate auxiliary asylum several hundred yards to the north of the main buildings on the site of cricket field, were announced in 1876. The buildings were to be of ‘somewhat plain, simple and comparatively cheap construction’, later described as ‘a sort of go-between the Asylum and the Workhouse’.

Designed by the architects Cornish and Gaymer, they were modelled on Metropolitan Asylums Board institutions at Leavesden and Caterham. They comprised a two-storey ‘H’ shape with large and rather barn-like male and female wards linked, or rather separated, by an administrative cross-section, behind which lay a single storey complex of kitchens and staff rooms.

St. Andrews Asylum - Women's ward

Costing £33,920, they accommodated 250 patients, two and a half times the original capacity. ‘Chronic lunatics, imbeciles and idiots’ were placed under the care of Hills’ assistant, who became resident medical officer, a head female attendant and a relatively modest staff of attendants and nurses.

St. Andrews has gone under several names outlined below:

  • Norfolk County Asylum (1814 – 1915)
  • Norfolk War Hospital (1915 – 1919)
  • Norfolk Mental Hospital (1919 – 1923)
  • St Andrew‘s Hospital (1923 – 1998)

St. Andrews was closed in 1998

History

1714

Problems created by the ‘furiously and dangerously mad’ were recognised by the ‘Vagrancy Acts’ of 1714 and 1744, which allowed justices of the peace to order their detention. 18th-century law held such persons responsible for any criminal acts, and prisons or bridewells (houses of correction) were the main destinations for their secure accommodation.

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Jarrolds Series original photos

Philanthropic efforts had already produced some care homes but the 1808 ‘Act for the better Care and Maintenance of Lunatics, being Paupers or Criminals in England‘ resulted in the construction of a number of large asylums ranging in capacity from 40 to 3,500 inmates.

St. Andrews Asylum - Patient cell doors

County Asylums were placed throughout the Country, usually (but not always) within the County they served and sites deemed suitable would commonly be large isolated tracts of land, often served by minor roads and branch railways, the qualities of such sites providing the ideal curative sources for good light, fresh clean air and a nice views across farmland and woodland.

Locally they provided a sustainable source of employment for generations and developed their own communities to serve them. Further afield they were often viewed with suspicion or fear – a distant place where disturbed local people or relatives would be ‘removed’ to, and often surrounded with much folklore.

1808

On 11th October 1808 it was resolved by the Norfolk Quarter Sessions that the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace “take into consideration the expediency and propriety of providing a [County] Lunatic Asylum…” following provisions contained in An Act for the Better Care and Maintenance of Lunatics being Paupers or Criminals in England, 48 Geo. III c.96 (1808).

Magistrates were requested to obtain and transmit to the Clerk of the Peace a list of all the lunatics and other insane persons in the county and in July 1809 a committee was appointed “for the purpose of making inquiry into the number of idiots and lunatic paupers…”.

The committee reported that there were 153 lunatics in the county and it was resolved to defer the consideration of “the expediency and propriety of providing a lunatic asylum”.

In October 1810 consideration for the provision of an asylum was resumed and a committee of nine was appointed “to make enquiry and to consider the best means for building, erecting and managing” such an asylum. The committee reported that the asylum “should be erected as near the City of Norwich as can be so as to be within the County…” and that the County Surveyor had prepared a plan for an asylum capable of receiving 180 lunatics which could be enlarged to hold 300.

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Jarrolds Series original photos

The estimated cost of the institution was £20,000. In April 1811 the Visiting Justices (as the Committee had been renamed) were able to report the purchase of five acres of freehold land at Thorpe at a cost of £600 and in October of that year they had taken possession of the site and that they were “exerting themselves to keep down the expense of the building by open contract for every branch of the work and by avoiding every species of ornament…”.

St. Andrews Asylum - Annexe

The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum was situated on Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew near Norwich. The architects were Francis Stone and John Brown (Norfolk County Surveyors) and Robinson Cornish and Gaymer of North Walsham. The County Asylum was intended specifically for pauper lunatics and was only the second institution of its kind when completed in early 1814.

The buildings were originally designed for the reception of 40 male patients in April 1814, followed by female patients in June of the same year. Roughly 70 patients were present on average in the early years. Extensions in 1831 and 1840 allowed this number to double and more substantial additions in the late 1850s as well as the construction of an auxiliary asylum, which was completed in 1881, some 700 inpatients could be accommodated.

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Jarrolds Series original photos

The auxiliary asylum or annexe is situated to the north of the main buildings, on the other side of Yarmouth Road, connected by a lane that was carried over the main road by a bridge. In April 1889 the institution was re-titled the Norfolk County Asylum, and after its modernisation into ‘a hospital for mental disorders’ (with reorganisation into distinct male and female asylums) there was room for more than 1,000 patients.

St. Andrews Asylum - Toilet and basin

Patient care was disrupted by the outbreak of WWI, with most of the patients being evacuated to other institutions across eastern England. The subsequent development of the County Asylum to the beginning of the present century is given briefly in Thomson, D. G. The Norfolk County Asylum, 1814-1903, 1903 (SAH 323).

During World War 1 the hospital was used by the military authorities as a War Hospital. Details of this period in the hospital’s history are to be found in the Annual Reports, 1915-1920. The Asylum became known as the Norfolk Mental Hospital in 1920 and the name was again changed to its present title, St. Andrew’s Hospital, in 1923. In the period between the two wars the hospital housed more than 1,100 patients.

During WWII the hospital was used as a multi-purpose hospital, providing the additional functions of an Emergency Section hospital such as receiving refugees, evacuees and civilian casualties in cleared wards whilst maintaining its complement of mental patients.

Building work commenced early in 1812 and in October 1813 the Visiting Justices were able to report that the asylum would be ready for the reception of patients at Christmas, however it was not until April 1814 that the asylum was ready to receive 40 male patients.

By July the asylum was ready for female patients and in October rules and orders for the regulation and good government of the asylum were prepared. In 1815 the Visiting Justices declared the final cost of constructing the asylum to be £35,221. 2s. 7d.

1946

Following the National Health Service Act of 1946 the hospital passed from the county to central government control and became administered by the East Anglian Region, Group 7 Hospital Management Committee.

From the 1950s onwards – with improved therapies and new medications, the changing perceptions of patients’ rights, and increasingly critical assessment of the psychiatric hospital as as an appropriate setting.

St. Andrews Asylum - Medication room

Control passed to the Norfolk Area Health Authority in 1974 following the National Health Service Re-organisation Act of 1973. St Andrew‘s spent most of its years as an NHS hospital under threat of closure, a long drawn-out process that was ultimately resolved with the securing in 1994 of a separate NHS Trust for mental health care services in Norfolk.

The hospital was eventually closed in April 1998. The original grade II listed hospital buildings from 1814, situated to the south of Yarmouth Road, have since been converted into private housing. The complex incorporates a church (in Francis Stone Court), also converted for domestic use. There is no trace of the nearby cemetery which was presumably built over when the hospital became disused (it is still marked on OS maps).

In January 2011 the auxiliary asylum – St Andrew’s House and its 13-acre site – situated north of Yarmouth Road, on the edge of St Andrew’s Business Park that has sprung up around it, has been put on the market by NHS Norfolk, touted as a prime site for development. It was most recently used as offices by the Norfolk Primary Care Trust, now NHS Norfolk, which left in 2007 for more modern premises.

St. Andrews Asylum - Trunk hallway boardroom sign

Following long talks, in Q1 2012, the site is rumoured to have been purchased by Norfolk’s Graham Dacre and in March 2012, asbestos removal teams have started to remove/check for contamination.

Summary & Current Situation

Whilst cheap construction, St. Andrews Asylum is a dominating and large complex situated in a beautiful location. Its a shame to see its deterioration over the last 5 years, theft and vandalism has been significant despite security and police intervention. In 2011, a security guard acted to stop a fire deliberately started in an act of vandalism.

St. Andrews Asylum - Escape door

Whilst talking to a previous employee, there are features to this building that are not in current plans such as the link tunnel that runs under Northside road connecting the annexe to the former Norfolk County Asylum, this is not documented and has not been found.

St. Andrews is now being demolished (Feb 2013) – the rich history will be left only in on line articles and memories from those who may have worked there. If you were a former employee then please get in touch, I would love to hear more about this location to update this article

Image Gallery

Available Here

February 2013 Demolition Pictures

Reception and Admin

2009

St. Andrews Asylum - Admin and water tower

2013
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Reception - Norwich

Trunk Corridor and Women’s Ward

2009

St. Andrews Asylum - Exterior view 2009

2013
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Front - Norwich

Staff Quarters and Eating Hall

2009
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Exterior view 2009

2013
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Rear - Norwich

Trunk Corridor and Living Area

2009
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Exterior view 2009

2013
St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Rear - Norwich

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Front - Norwich

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Front - Norwich

St. <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Andrews Asylum</strong> - Demolition February 2013 - Rear - Norwich

69 comments

  1. Dave – I wonder whether you might give a talk on this ‘Lunatic Asylum’ to the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group in our Winter Programme 2013-14. I find your article most interesting and I’m sure it would be of interest to our members. Might you link it to the several other mental hospitals which surround Norwich?
    I’ve been away from Norwich for a couple of months and am very sad to see that St Andrew’s is now being demolished.
    If you’re not in the business of giving talks, I quite understand, but maybe you could suggest someone who might give us a lecture instead.
    Sincerely
    Mary Ash
    Winter Programme
    NHBG

  2. Dear Dave
    I wonder whether you’ve tried contacting my email address – I haven’t heard from you yet. I see Dr Steve Cherry of UEA lectures on St Andrew’s, but I think his interest is more in social history, and I was hoping you might tell us something of the architectural history as well!
    Let me know . . .
    Best
    Mary

  3. We have some wonderful Infrared photographs of this building and would love to have performed a Paranormal Investigation there, but never gained permission. In one photograph we believe we may have captured an apparition.

    • Hi John lewin, myself and our team would love to do a paranormal investigation to at St Andrews and wondered if you had any luck investigating there . I’ve taken some pics of the outside of the building and believe I have captured an apparition. I see you may have captured some to.
      Regards Kayleigh

  4. ….. and the bad news is that they intend to convert the historic cricket pitch, until 1987 home to one of the oldest teams in Norfolk, into a giant car park. Sir Arthur Conyan Doyle played there many times. The pitch and the pavilion could have been saved but the NHS did not want to spend the money and the developers want a car park. I have objected, I hope others will too!

  5. A very interesting and informative history – thank you. You will be interested to know that the cemetery is still there, on Memorial Way in the adjacent Broadland Business Park, set incongruously among warehouses. The original graves were unmarked. Later, many Polish servicemen were buried there, their graves marked by iron crosses. In 1968, the Hospital Board decided to sell the iron crosses for scrap. An amazing decision! The cemetery was later rededicated in (I think) 1987, and a memorial stone and the outlined shapes of the graves are all that remains. It is a haunting spot, and well worth a visit.

    I doubt the existence of a tunnel, as a bridge over the busy Yarmouth Rd links the north and south sides of the old asylum. Moreover, the distance between the buildings is not less than 500 yards, and probably more – a tunnel would need to be very deep, as the North Side is at the top of a fairly steep gradient.

    Lastly, the Health Authority which used to occupy the North Side used to field a cricket team, for which I played on several occasions, right up until 2000, after which neglect of the outfield rendered it unsuitable for cricket. I never knew that the cricket ground had such significant history..

    • Thanks for the contribution on the history. I was unaware of the cemetery and will certainly find it and get some photos. I think the actions taken in history provide some interesting learning.

      I have never found any evidence of the tunnel either, even talking to the demolition teams, they have not found it. Probably a myth created on the night shift 🙂

      Thanks again,

      Dave

  6. I was very interested to read about the history of the cricket pitch, as I worked as a Groundsman
    here back in the late 70’s. So sad to think of it becoming a car park! I also remember the little graveyard up on Green Lane, I am glad it is still there, though hidden and un-loved. Even then there were no headstones, just stone markers for some of the burials. I remember a couple of Polish residents even then, who still spoke only Polish.
    So sad to see this old building flattened.

  7. Very interesting to look through the pictures and read of the latest developments. All quite sad. St Andrews CC (formerly St Andrews Hospital CC) who played on the cricket pitch from 1887 to 1987 would be pleased to hear from anyone with memories or records (eg fixture lists) of hospital cricket

  8. I worked at St Andrews as a porter from 1980 to 1988 loved the job & the place so full of history
    although I found the south side more interesting & historical, the boardroom still had ledgers showing how much coal was used & straw for flooring, all about the farm & what went into the butchers shop which was still used for processing meet up to when I left , when we closed the stores, we found leather neck braces, old whistles all sorts of things, I also wonder when they converted it to housing who moved into the morgue that was under the church , the church was a beautiful building I hope they kept what they could, staff were wonderful & dedicated, about the tunnel it was widely known but never found, but there is or was an air raid shelter under the grass roundabout south side

  9. My parents have considerable knowledge of the hospital having worked there from 1950 to 1998.

    For example the low wall around A Court on the North Side goes deep into the ground – the inner side was 12 feet high with a gap (moat) from the wall of 6-8 feet so patients could not escape. This wall used to enclose the whole of the North Side buildings but excluded the mortuary which is the single story building closest to the Secure Unit that has not been touched by the demolition works. I can remember the piggeries, orchards and other farm buildings. Dad says these housed the stables for the horses, their tumbles and swill carts; sheep were brought into graze the root crops on the fields if all where not used in the kitchens. There were green houses for tomatoes and cucumbers and other salad stuff. The cattle sheds on Yarmouth Road near the railway bridge for the livestock. All this made the hospital self sufficient.

    I would be grateful if you could let me know where I can purchase copies of the old photos you have inserted above, especially the aerial photo of a large area of the North Side?

    Regards
    Helen

    • I currently work for the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and used to work at Meadowlands, the current name for the converted nurses home that used to stand in the grounds of St Andrews Hospital (South Side).
      I have been contacted by a member of the public concerning an address she has discovered on the death certificate of a relative of hers, which I suspect may have been the old St Andrews Hospital. I said I would try and find out some information for her and wonder if you or your parent might be able to help. The significant date is 1985 and I am trying to check the actual postal address for the hospital. Any help you can give would be most welcome and maybe I can put everyone in touch with each other directly, although I must admit I am now curious myself.
      I hope you can help.

    • Helen
      My great uncle was a patient there until he died in 1965. Its a long shot I know but is there any chance they might remember him. I will give his name once I make contact. Thanks

    • Hi Helen
      My grandmother was patient there until she died in 1985 is there any chance they would now her. I will give her name on contact. Hope someone can help.
      Carol

    • Hi Helen, my parents and myself all worked at the hospital, my mum and a ward sister were the last 2 people to walk out of the hospital on the day it officially closed. I have many happy memories of working here. Maybe mum and I know your parents, sadly my dad passed away in 1997. Kind regards Mel

    • Hi Helen, My grandmother was a patient in St. Andrews for many years through the forties and died there in 1955. Her name was Olive Mary Wright. Her maiden name was Pyle. Her nickname was “Biddie”. I was able to visit the graveyard this year on Memorial Way. Does any one remember her. Thankyou Valerie

  10. I came to England at the end of November 1957/58, ( I cannot remember exactly which year) to work as an assistant nurse from Spain. I wanted to learn English and as I could not afford to pay for my studies, this job allowed me to earn some money and to learn English.
    I had many happy days there. The patients helped me with my home-work. i.e. the days of the week, the time. and much vocabulary. At first it consisted of bed-pan, blanket, counterpane, pillow, pillow case, etc.
    In Christmas we had a show. I danced Spanish dance with my castañetas for them .
    I will always be grateful and remember those old days .
    María J. Fernandez

  11. My great grandfather Charles Waterson worked at the Norfolk County Asylum in the 1890s and 1900s as a musician/attendant – he played clarinet in the asylum band. I’d love to hear from anyone who has any information/pictures etc relating to the band.

    All best,

    Nick Miller.

  12. Hi I used to work on both the North and South sites of SAH. I have been under the front hall of the South Site ( now the posh new houses) to where the entrance is to the tunnel. This was used as a record store and bricked up, so you couldnt actually get into the tunnel. I know from the works staff that it contained pipework etc. Apparently it was used to escort patients down from the North site to the Church on the South, although this may be a myth! The front hall of the South site was part of the original asylum. On the wall under there was evidence of shackles on the walls. I know this to be true. The hospital had lots of original features and I had a great interest in the history

  13. My dad worked here when they were offices and said the old place was full of history and strange happenings… Such a shame that it’s had it’s heart ripped out as have many buildings in Norwich…. It would of made a lovely building to show history from these dates it was alive… And shown how people with mental
    Disorder lived
    were not leaving any history in this city. It’s all knock it down and rebuild which is a shame

  14. Hi
    I worked as a male nurse for 30 years at this hospital and can confirm there was a large tunnel running under the driveway containing pipes and cables.
    Regards Ray Wright

    • hello there,
      this may sound a bit wierd but i am doing a art based project for college which is my final project and a large asspect of what im doing is based around a asylum and i was wondering weather i could speak with you to get your experiences of what it was like to work in a place of this i hope that you can help me out and it would be a great deal of help
      from becky

  15. I worked as a male nurse for 30 years at this hospital and can confirm there was a large tunnel running under the driveway containing pipes and cables.

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  17. My husband worked at St Andrews in the early 60’s . We lived in a staff house provided by the hospital and our address was 1 Green Lane. There was a row of these houses. There were also more staff houses on the main Yarmouth road just around the corner from where Green Lane joined it in those days.
    Along the side of our house was a lane leading down to the hospital. On the other side of the lane ,across from our house was the graveyard which has been mentioned. It was a quiet overgrown spot with oak trees growing along the side .
    Mention has been made of the livestock kept at the hospital. I remember one day the pigs escaped and came into our garden.
    It was a lovely place to live and I was sad to leave and even sadder now when I realise it has all been swept away.

    • My grandfather was head male nurse for over 30yrs and they lived in the tied cottage in Yarmouth road next to the chapel. My mum also use to play in the grounds Of the hospital. and did meet some of the patients. Sadly there where one or to that had been institionalised and had come over from the plums ted hospital. One particular person my grandad fought in court to get him released. Thorpe parish council has a newspaper cutting of the staff and other various info on Thorpe St. Andrews hospital ,which was donated by a local lady.

  18. My grandad was deputy male nurse at St Andrews. My dad worked there for 30 years ending up as the recreation and entertainments officer.(Trevor Pull) Both my sister and i became mental health nurses and also worked there. My auntie and uncle lived up green lane and we used to play around the hospital as children. I remember the old graveyard and the piggeries.

  19. I worked for the Health Authority during the 1990s and much of the hospital was converted to useable space – offices, meeting rooms. Mine was in the chaplin’s office in the small group of rooms that made up the mortuary. It was said the mortuary was placed on the part of the building that got least sun and can qualify that sun was short, the windows above head height and probably therefore the coldest part of the building. one door led to an understairs cupboard with stairs leading off the main corridor forming its ceiling. It smelt of formaldehyde and many spoke of eerie feelings and shadows moving when the building was quiet/or when they worked late. One trainee doctor who had cause to help me get something from this our store, lept back saying that he couldn’t enter the room becuase of the smell and was filled with horror at what may have taken place years ago in that room. One door led to a brick descenting staircase down to a type of cellar where it was said had been restraints on the walls. many doors led to such places beneath the building. i’d like to think they were for stores of coal, straw etc rather than people. The building had long corridors, many back stairs, lots of small rooms, high ceilings, victorian alcoves, original hand build cupboards and extra-wide victoria doors to rooms. The main corridor had low alcoves that had been plasted over – remnants of where coal fires were lit to warm the building’s core. In parts that were not converted down small corridors or offshoots could be found communal patient bathrooms which were cold and forebidding places. The building was tardis like in that through a door would be a corridor with another door that led to another corridor and yet more doors. everything connected to everything else but it was a wonderful example of architecture. In the main reception shortly before NHS Norfolk vacated hung a picture of the front of the building that had hung in the main corridor for years. wonder where that went to. For me, happy memories of lovely people from NHS Norfolk, good times working in the NHS, many fun social events including the cricket team, football team, even an eclipse where most of the building staff stood in awe on the cricket pitch. Wherever you went in the building though its history prevailed and even though it was painted and carpeted in a modern way you were never far from a relic of its history – the architecture, a door leading to an un-modernised part, the very long central corridor that ran the length of the building, original door handles, sash windows, and in unused parts the smell of urine and incarceration never left. A wonderful building and as many have said, holds great memories of a lovely place.

  20. I almost started a nusing course at st andrews. I did not realise until now that it was in the same year that it closed. It was interesting seeing the old place, and fascinating reading people’s personal accounts. From an earlier study at ROundway hospital in wiltshire i discovered similarly what a community surrounded such places, and both positive and negative experiences, and very much of its time. Thanks for sharing this piece of norfolk history

  21. Dear David, I have a large collection of plans for building that were on a rubbish tip. About 20 sheets in all. If you give me an address I can send too you. These should be kept for posterity I believe. I worked there as a nurse and later at st niche in Yarmouth til that was sold off for rich people’s housing . Bob Buttifant

  22. I worked at the hospital when it was no longer a hospital but being used by the PCT. It must have been around 1999. I remember the PCT had refurbished bits of it to make it feel like an office, with green carpet and the walls painted magnolia (I seem to remember the Chief Exec had his or her office right near the main entrance in the nicest part of the building!) I remember that other parts of the building were left untouched with long empty corridors and flaking paint. I remember the curved corridor in your photo. This building made quite an impression on me and I later went on to work for a mental health charity for 8 years. I am glad you have taken the photos, it is important public record. Would you mind if I showed them to a group of midwives in a presentation I am doing on the evolution of mental health policy?

  23. I have enjoyed reading people’s memory’s of the hospital . I lived at 1 Norfolk cottages , Yarmouth road . I lived there from 1936 till 1954. My parents lived there till 1964. The cottages where for the staff of St. Andrews. I can remember the battle day family who lived next door. My first school was the village school at post wick which is now a house. I later went to Thorpe school . Going back to the hospital ,I can remeber the fate’s and sports days the had on the cricket field . There was a fitness instructor who had a very interesting past,( of which he had a book published )called I killed to live. . He was a local man from rack health. He was captured by the Germans in the Channel Islands and later ended up in the hands of the Russians. I got a copy from Amazon .

    • oh wow.just read this.I too lived at 1 norfolk cottages from 1963 to 1968 with my aunt Who was a ward sister at the hospital,gwendoline Pugh and my grandmother.I too went to thorpe st.andrews school up pound lane.I lived next to the chappel and can remember people attending services there.we had a male patient who did a bit of gardening for 2shillings “baccy” money.I was told to stay indoors whilst he was working..

  24. Hi there, a question if I may. In the course of some family history research I have encountered correspondence from the 1930’s written from an address simply shown as Colville house, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich. Its been suggested to me that the author might have been an inmate of the hospital – could this correspondence address suggest this? Any help gratefully appreciated. David

  25. hi i done some training at sah as a pupil nurse we used to wear these shocking pink dresses it was a lovely place to work and we were in the 70s able to live in the hospital to i worked at sah for about two years then went on to do other jobs but seeing old photographs brought back good memories there was a public house near the hospital which was frequented by patients and staff think its name was the griffin

  26. I worked as a registrar psychiatrist at st andrews from 1969 to 1972.and then i moed to New castle ,I lived at 9 green lane thorpe good memories there were pheasants in the back garden and farmers used to shhot pigeons.I was very interested to learn about the history of st andrews. thanks.

  27. Certain wards were haunted, ward 11, I think was one of the notorious wards, my Mum and her friends worked nights there from the 70’s through the 80’s, They used to tell us all sorts of stories!!!! A shadowy woman had been seen on many occasions, walking the corridors, chandelier moving, noises and doors creaking. We as kids in the 70’s/80’s used to play in the surrounding area! Cricket grounds, and behind the hospital,(the lane that lead to the boat yard) we got freaked out on a few occasions! It was a spooky place, I remember a few harmless residents that were aloud to wander freely! Big John was my most memorable he was huge, and pleasant to speak to, but about 7’4″ and hands like shovels. There were some very ill people in there, and my mum always told us about the residents they lost during the night, sometimes it sounded like a release, and how they went peacefully or not. I suppose we had a certain respect for the hospital and the life’s and deaths the walls had seen. But the spooky stories I will never forget, I am 45 now and I it’s sad to hear it’s been demolished, I hope the houses/flats that stand in the place of ward 11 are peaceful! I certainly would not have gone into the wards on my own then or now, if it was still standing.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences. The multiple times we were shooting this location we had some interesting experiences however once the demolition started, the entire building felt different. I personally do not believe in hauntings/ghosts etc however even I have to admit, the experiences we had in here are unexplained and we have some amazing stories.

  28. This is so cool! My 3rd great grandfathers, father in law was a patient at the ‘lunatic asylum’ in 1941. Would be great if i could access his records.
    Thanks
    Emma

  29. Hello there

    Did you ever receive the plans for the buildings?

    I *know* Norwich records office would love to take scans of them for future generations. (and would let you retain the originals if you wished)

    Indeed I am in the process of recreating the building in 3d ( Free as part of the Change Minds project) from some watercolour plans from around 1820, scans of the proper plans would be terrific. The drawings im working from are not ideal and alot of guesswork will be involved.

    Regardless, do you have any more images available here or elsewhere as for reference work they are invaluable.

    Whatever the case, great site and great images.

    Rgds

    Frank

  30. I can confirm there was a service tunnel that connected the two buildings that ran from the front entrance and across Thorpe road and up the hill. this contained heating pipes and cables.
    I did some insulation work there in the early 1970s. part of the tunnel was flooded at its lowest part below Thorpe road i expect it’s still there .

  31. I wonder if someone could guide me into finding out about my Grand Father who more or less spent his life as an inmate here .
    He was surrounded in mystery and things that didn’t add up .I met him on one occasion in the 50s when he was allowed out for a wedding .He also died there and was buried in the grounds in what I was told was a paupers grave .
    I would dearly love to know the reasons why he lived his life here .

  32. This is all fascinating. My grandfather both worked there for 30 years as a male nurse, leaving in about 1950 I think. He has left us cartoons which he drew of the many cricket matches which took place on the cricket field, I think it was staff and in mates who took part. They played many other institutions around Norfolk. There are many named characters , dates and fixture details as part of the cartoons. They are funny charactures of people all based around the cricket games. (Some football ones also). Some cartoons are a little more to do with what the treatment was, so are perhaps not such fun, but nevertheless are drawn with a comedic approach. My sister and I would love the cartoons to be used or archived or seen by ancestors of staff or inmates. There was a magazine produced 1915 or so giving updates and articles on life and times in the hospital. Some cartoons are featured in there. Please can someone get in touch so we can move forward with this idea and share this memorabilia.

  33. XXI Century…
    .How nice to come back to Memory Lane. The Beauty of the Norfolk Country Side!
    Today, 20th June 2017. I still remembering how I fell in love with England… The Green of England. The fog and the snow and then Spring arrived with wild flowers, longer days…
    Coming on duty (as an Assistant Nurse).
    My name was then María Jesús Fernández. But soon the English called me Maria! I did not mind… it was easier for them.
    I thank God for HIS generosity bringing me to this beautiful country. England from Spain.
    Spain is my mother and I will always love her… England my BEST Friend with which I love
    and it is now the most important part of my life!

  34. I have been working on the site of the current secure unit today, and decided to look up information about the old hospital on line. It was really interesting reading and nice to have small insights into the past from comments made at the end. A colleague that I was working with today confirmed that the tunnel is under the roadway and that he had walked through it whilst working at the hospital before it closed. The pipework referred to by others were heating pipes. Apparently the heating was done on the lower site and piped up to the upper site (called district heating). Tragic to see the state of what remains of what was started 200 years ago.

    • Hi Rhoda,

      They are all at the Norfolk Record Office. Some of them may have been duplicated of which they would be available from the Norfolk Heritage Centre at The Forum, Norwich.

      Hope that helps

      Dave

  35. I was a student nurse in the 90’s and did placements in the day hospital and ward 3, which was extremely spooky , especially at nights, also the secure unit at the Norvic clinic.
    The history which surrounds St Andrews is important and shouldn’t be forgotten, somewhere in amongst my training notes I’ve old books ( hand written ) about the history which I was given during my placement there.
    No way would I live on the new development,

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for the comment. If you ever find the books, would it be possible to photocopy or send some images of the hand written history? Would be a great addition to the history.

      Thanks,

      Dave

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