Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Springfield University Hospital (Surrey County Pauper Lunatic Asylum), London


The hospital opened as the Surrey County Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1840. The original building was a grand symmetrical red brick Tudor-style composition enclosing a large courtyard, built to the designs of Edward Lapidge, the county surveyor. A purpose-built chapel was added in 1881. It came under the management of Middlesex County Council in 1888 and was renamed the Wandsworth Asylum.

During the First World War it became the Springfield War Hospital and, after the war, it became the Springfield Mental Hospital. A new infirmary block to treat mentally ill patients who were also physically ill opened in July 1932. During the Second World War a serious bout of dysentery broke out at the hospital. It joined the National Health Service in 1948.

It was one of the hospitals investigated in 1967 as a result of the publication of Barbara Robb's book Sans Everything. The committee found that at least two of the charge nurses showed themselves prone to outbursts of ill-temper which expressed itself in violence.

In 2004 John Barrett, a paranoid schizophrenic, walked out of the hospital and stabbed Dennis Finnegan, a cyclist, to death.

In its heyday the hospital had 2,000 patients but it is now reduced to under 300 inpatients. Much of the original hospital building is now disused, and there are plans to convert this to a residential development, "Springfield Village". Proceeds are being used to create new state-of-the- art mental health centres at Springfield and at Tolworth Hospital in Surbiton.

In January 2020 £150 million of funding was approved to create eight new inpatient wards at the hospital. In February 2020 the hospital was featured in the BBC documentary "On the Psych Ward".


One from January 2020, recently released for public consumption.

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