Report - - Graylingwell Asylum/Hospital, Chichester, West Sussex, January 2011 A Bit Wide | Diehardlove | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Graylingwell Asylum/Hospital, Chichester, West Sussex, January 2011 A Bit Wide


1 of them cnuts off 28dsl
28DL Full Member
Went here recently with God and Lost explorer was a fun day with loads of comedy moments with security.

A bit of history

The site area is approximately 15.6 ha (38.5 acres) and contains a complex array of buildings. This includes the late 19th and 20th century former hospital buildings and chapel, a listed 18th century farmhouse, a well of medieval if not earlier usage, and a scheduled pre-Roman earthwork, all set within an area of registered historic parkland

The hospital was built between 1894 and 1901 as a lunatic asylum for the pauper agricultural population of rural West Sussex. Since then it has been a prominent part of Chichester’s rural (and later suburban) landscape, particularly its tall brick keep-like water tower.

The choice of the Graylingwell site for the 1890s hospital has had a marked and major impact on the evolution of the area during the 20th century. It has served to attract much larger buildings of the present NHS hospital to the south. The choice of location to some extent reflected a pre-existing peri-urban character of the area, as the choice of location for the Napoleonic barracks to the west makes clear. Much older functional zonings had placed institutions such as a medieval priory and leper hospital (hence ‘Spitalfield Lane’) beyond the medieval town walls in this area. Therefore the hospital’s location is part of a longer historic trajectory that has deeply imprinted this part of the city.

The overwhelming external character of the hospital is late Victorian. A major part of this character derives from its relationship to the landscaped grounds, which were laid out in 1897-99 as part of an original design by a noted authority on institutional landscaping R Lloyd, the Head Gardener at Brookwood Asylum.

The grounds provided a balance of practical, recreational and therapeutic functions
(e.g. food-growing areas, laundry spaces and secure open air exercise areas for patients). The choice of site for the hospital and the overall layout of both buildings and landscape follows the recommendations promoted in the Victorian period by the Commissioners in Lunacy on the care and treatment of mental illness – an elevated site for ‘the air’ and views into the surrounding landscape from the principal day rooms combined with a sense of privacy and enclosure, reinforced by the restriction of access routes into the north of the site.
The choice of style for the buildings was primarily a matter for the tastes of the founding committee. The hospital was designed by the architect Arthur Blomfield, who declined to emphasise the administrative centre as the most prominent focus of the plan, instead grouping it with the water tower and a detached chapel on the north side of the site.
From the southern or western perspectives, i.e. viewed from the town, the architectural aspect that most dominates the landscape is the southward arc of the intermittent but closely spaced facades of the radially aligned wards. These, exemplify the 'Queen Anne’ style that was well established by the 1890s for domestic and institutional buildings. The additional wards at the North East and North West corners of the hospital were built in 1900-01 and are marked by minor differences in the execution of the general design. Planning should recognise the important role of at least the more formally designed facades.