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Report - Whittingham Asylum - nr Preston - May 2011

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Snake Oil, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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    Whittingham Asylum, whose grounds adjoin the village of Goosnargh, grew to be the largest mental hospital in the country, and pioneered the use of electroencephalograms (EEGs). During its time it had its own church, farms, railway, telephone exchange, post office, reservoirs, gas works, brewery, orchestra, brass band, ballroom and butchers.

    In 1866, the three Lancashire lunatic asylums at Prestwich, Rainhill and Lancaster were deemed to be full. The building of Whittingham Asylum began in 1869, originally to accommodate 1000 patients. It was built from brick made from clay dug on site from a pit which later became a fish pond.

    The hospital officially opened on 1 April 1873. The large site included an Anglican church, a Catholic chapel, a recreation hall (also used as a ballroom) and several farms.

    By 1923, the hospital was known as “Whittingham Mental Hospitalâ€￾. By 1939, the number of patients was 3533, with a staff of 548, making it the largest mental hospital in the country.

    By 1948, it had incorporated Ribchester Hospital, and became known as “Whittingham Hospitalâ€￾.

    The Mental Health Act of 1960 deemed large institutions like Whittingham to be out of favour. Allegations of cruelty to patients led to a public inquiry.

    During the 1970s and 1980s, new drugs and therapies were introduced. Long-stay patients were returned to the community or dispersed to smaller units around Preston. The hospital eventually closed in 1995.

    Thanks to Buddah for the invite.

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