Report - - Old Manor Hospital, Sailsbury, April 2016 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Old Manor Hospital, Sailsbury, April 2016

A Brief History

Originally starting out as a private institution named Fisherton House Asylum around 1813 this was for some time the largest madhouse in the UK with around 700 beds. When first opened the Asylum took private and pauper patients and was superintended by Mr Charles Finch. By 1837 there were 100 inmates of which 60 were paupers, paid for by local government funds, an increasing number of patients were being sent from criminal courts to be detained in Bethlem Hospital and a few to Fisherton House. In 1848 the proprietors agreed to build special wards to take the less dangerous criminal lunatics that were scattered in asylums around the country. Bethlem hospital would take the more dangerous patients.

The asylum remained in the Corbin family until 1924 when a change in ownership meant its name was changed to Old Manor Hospital and by 1954, it ceased to be privately run and was absorbed into the NHS. It was then administered by the Knowle Hospital Management Committee. It closed in 2003, being partially replaced by Fountain Way - a smaller, modern psych ward on part of the same site

Care and Treatment:

The asylum initially offered little more than basic physical care, security for the individual and a refuge from society. It also afforded some protection to the public from persons whose behaviour may have been dangerous or disconcerting. Physical restraint was a common method of controlling dangerous behaviour, either by; leg manacles, handcuffs or straightjackets. Other treatments later recorded to be in use at Fisherton House in the mid-19th century were cupping, blistering, purging, diuretics, bleeding and multiple experimental drugs.

In 1880 paraldehyde was used for the first time in Fisherton House, the use of this drug continued into the latter half of the 20th century.

In the 1940s electroconvulsive therapy was used for the first time in the hospital, along with the increasingly controversial insulin therapy.

Recently sold, it is soon to become another retirement complex. Visited again last week and work is well underway.

Our Explore:

So, on this warm spring Friday evening we actually had no intention of undertaking a full on explore. We went with the aim of doing a recce after seeing this sight from the road a few weeks previous. We headed down after work to catch the last of the light so we could do the usual scope out of security and possible access points.

This asylum is split into several different buildings and is surrounded by the new hospital buildings on three sides. On the fourth it is overlooked by the county police headquarters. And it is rather exposed. However, access to the site was rather simple. At the time there was no security on site and no CCTV to be concerned about

We came across the first building and had a little hunt about, then discovered an open doorway. This led down into the cellars; pitch black, can't see your hand in front of your face kind of dark. After a few twisting corridors we came across a staircase which led us up into a toilet right in the middle of the building. As we weren't prepared to gain access this easily we had nothing at all with us except Iphones so please excuse the quality of the photos. And naturally the darkness and out unpreparedness meant the photos we managed to get are limited.

The building is huge and after an hour or so exploring we still hadn't covered half of it. But with crumbling floors and no torches we though best to quit while we were ahead.

The second building, a little more modern had even easier access. This building was a little smaller and lighter we had a good nosy around most of it. Neither building in great condition, nothing of real interest left inside but most definitely worth a visit.

We found the tunnels that supposedly lead to the train station, but are also rumoured to run around the entire site as a way to move the female patients about, without them coming into contact with the men. Got down there for a peek but sadly the tunnel has been blocked at either end. . Apparently there used to be a walkway above from the top of one building to the other so that the men could be moved along this, thus the general public never has to see them. Sadly this has long since been pulled down.

In all it was a nice little unexpected explore. Security has now been increased and the perimeter secured. Sad to see this place go.