St Johns Asylum
Designed by John Hamilton and James Medland in a “Italianate style” as a County Lunatic Asylum this location was opened in 1852. The asylum was built using county rates at a cost of around £30,000. It became Bracebridge Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1898 and Bracebridge Mental Hospital in 1919. It served as an Emergency Hospital during the Second World War and, having been renamed Bracebridge Heath Hospital in 1939, joined the National Health Service in 1948. It went on to become St John's Hospital, Bracebridge Heath in 1961.
The hospital could house 250 patients. The building was expanded in 1889 to house upwards of 680 patients, and by 1902 the site covered 120 acres. By 1926 the site had been further expanded and covered 160 acres. At its height the asylum had 944 beds available for patients, almost four times the original size.
The corridors and most of the cells and day-rooms have a honeycomb vaulted ceiling, and a common belief is that the honeycomb pattern was to reduce noise levels, to stop the cries and screams of inmates travelling down the long corridors. The truth in fact is nothing like this at all, these hospitals were nowhere near as horrific as people imagine. The honeycomb vaulted ceiling was a type of fireproofing incorporated into the building’s construction. This style was commonplace in mid-nineteenth century hospitals
The hospital closed in December 1989 and the site has been sold to a property developer who has built 183 luxury homes and apartments there. The original hospital buildings are classified as Grade II listed buildings.