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Report - Whittingham Hospital May 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Ferox, May 29, 2014.

  1. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
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    Visited last weekend with Urblex, nice to meet you mate, hopefully the start of more to come. Got in real early which worked out well as we had a good few hours wandering about what is left then out before it started getting busy. Nice relaxed mooch this one in good company, thanks bud.:thumb

    In 1866, the three Lancashire lunatic asylums at Prestwich, Rainhill and Lancaster were deemed to be full. Extra accommodation was urgently needed and to this end the building of Whittingham Asylum began in 1869. The hospital was designed by Henry Littler of Manchester, Architect to the Lancashire Asylums Board and built of red brick made from clay dug on site. The buildings followed a plan of multiple quadrangles with inter-connecting corridors radiating from a long axial corridor section.
    The hospital officially opened on 1 April 1873. The large complex (later known as St. Luke's Division) had an initial capacity of 1000 inmates and included an Anglican church, a Catholic chapel, a recreation hall and a large farm estate.
    In 1878 a new annexe (later known as St. John's Division) was built on 68 acres of land to the north of the site. The annexe was completed in 1880 and accommodated 115 patients and, by the special agreement of the Postmaster General, the hospital's own dedicated Post Office. In 1884, a sanatorium was established in the grounds for patients with infectious diseases.
    Around this time an annexe called Cameron House was opened to the northwest of the main building, joined in 1912 by a third annexe, later to become known as St Margaret's division. By 1915 the number of inmates was recorded as 2,820 - more than double the asylum's original capacity.

    In 1918 the New West Annexe (St Margaret's) was commandeered for the treatment of war casualties: patients who died during treatment were buried in the institution's private cemetery at the northern edge of the site. The hospital was returned to civilian use the following year following the cessation of hostilities.
    In 1923, the name 'Whittingham Asylum' was dropped in favour of "Whittingham Mental Hospital" a change later reinforced in law by the Mental Treatment Act 1930.
    In 1929, the Hospital Commissioners noted that an "open door" principle was practised on a number of wards, and the 1930 Act later resulted in the admission of the first voluntary patients. By 1939, the number of patients was 3533, with a staff of 548, making it the largest mental hospital in Great Britain.
    At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Wards 31 to 36 in the West Annexe were again commandeered by the military and mental patients were relocated to other hospitals in the area. The commandeered wards were renamed the Whittingham Emergency Hospital and treated casualties of war, both military and civilian, the first being evacuees from Dunkirk. Following the end of the conflict the wards were returned to civilian use in 1946.

    On 18 July 1967, the Student Nurses' Association held a meeting with the senior nursing tutor, submitting serious complaints of cruelty, ill-treatment and fraud in the hospital. The Head Male Nurse then called a meeting of all students in which the students were threatened with actions for libel and slander. Several further complaints were suppressed until the following year when the Hospital Management Committee finally intervened and announced an inquiry into allegations of corruption and abuse. The inquiry divided the allegations into three specific headings: Care of Patients, Organisation of Services, and Financial Control. The enquiry heard (among others) the following complaints:
    •That patients had been left untreated
    •That some patients had been given only bread and jam to eat or had been given food mixed up and served as "slops"
    •That some patients had been locked outside, regardless of weather conditions, or in washrooms and cupboards.
    •That in one ward, students had witnessed patients being dragged about by their hair.
    •That on ward 3, a male ward, patients were given "wet towel treatment", which involved twisting a cold, wet towel or bed sheet round a patient's neck until the patient lost consciousness. Patients were also seen to have been punched and locked in a storeroom.
    •On ward S2, another male ward, it was alleged that two male nurses had poured methylated spirits into the slippers of one patient and into the dressing gown pocket of another and set them alight.
    It was also reported that some wards were infested with vermin and others were too cold, too hot or too damp. In addition, it was found that there was a culture of petty theft on the wards and of serious fraud and embezzlement in some administrative offices.
    In 1968–69, £91,000 was issued from sources for the use of patients, yet only £42,000 was recorded as having been spent in the hospital shop, supposedly leaving the remaining £49,000 unaccounted for.
    As a result of the investigation, both the Head Male Nurse and the Matron took early retirement. Two male nurses were convicted of theft and in a separate incident another nurse was jailed for manslaughter after an elderly patient he had assaulted later died.

    During the 1970s and 1980s, new drugs and therapies were introduced to treat people suffering from mental illnesses. Long-stay patients were returned to the community or dispersed to smaller units around Preston. The hospital closed in 1995 and the site subsequently became known as "Guild Park". In 1999, Guild Lodge was opened on the edge of Guild Park, providing secure mental healthcare services to a small number of patients, followed the next year by purpose-built rehabilitation cottages close by.

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    Thanks For Looking
     

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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nice ones :thumb

    Thought that corridor had long gone ........might have done by now lol

    Nice to see & who went with urblex, he"s a good lad.......and happier when he"s got a soft toy in his hands...... (sorry mate :)

    Can"t believe the difference in the view out of that window now :(
     
  3. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks man, appreciated.:thumb Yeah nice lad Urblex, distinct lack of soft toys at Whittingham mate, pretty much bricks and rubble now.
     
  4. urblex

    urblex 28DL Maverick
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    No soft toys :( but did manage to get a souvenir without breaking any rules (i think), taking my shoes off when i got home & there was a nail stuck in one of them :)
     
  5. urblex

    urblex 28DL Maverick
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    sorry mate meant to say nice pics as well btw! :thumb
     
  6. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    Good luck to you, it's pretty far gone and not the most crisp of photos but you've seen one of the last big asylums! Nice work!
     
  7. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate:)
     
  8. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
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    Thank You Dweeb, appreciated:thumb Know what you mean about the photos, hand held at the minute. Was cool to get to mooch in an asylum, even thought it was only a fragment of the old girl. Like Urblex says, you still got a feel of the size of the site. Should be having a go at Severalls next.
     
  9. Ferox

    Ferox 28DL Regular User
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    A massive thanks for sorting this, most appreciated:)
     
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