A hospital was already in the process of being built in Denbigh, Wales. In October 1842, a group of important Welsh people got together and decided that a mental hospital for people who spoke Welsh was needed right away.
Before the Lunacy Act of 1845, there wasn’t much control over how people with mental health problems were treated, and they were often kept in terrible conditions. But after the government put in place rules and regulations, new and better psychiatric hospitals were built.
Because of this, Joseph Ablett of Llanbedr Hall gave 20 acres of land in Denbigh. The asylum was built in 1844, based on a plan made by an architect named Thomas Fulljames.
The building was finished in 1848, and it cost about £27,000 all together. It was built in the Jacobean style with limestone from the area. The hospital had rooms for patients, as well as a chapel and a wing for nurses.
At first, the hospital could hold up to 200 patients. People were supposed to be taken in, treated, and then sent back into society. But that didn’t happen, and over time, the number of patients who came in grew faster than the number who left or died.
People argued over and over again about whether the hospital was too full and if another hospital should be built. In the end, they just decided to make Denbigh asylum bigger. As a result, many changes were made between 1862 and 1865.
Not only was a new wing opened so that 150 more patients could live there, but more land was also bought to make living conditions better. This included the farms next door as well as Glanywern Hall, which was to be used as extra housing.
After that, there were several more additions, such as a house for the Medical Superintendent, more rooms for staff, a dining room, an isolation hospital, and new laundry and kitchen facilities. By the middle of the 1950s, the institution could house 1,500 people and had 1,000 people working there to care for them.
With help from the Steward and the Clerk, the medical superintendent was in charge of running the hospital on a day-to-day basis. Dr. Frank
A group called the Committee of Visitors was in charge of running the hospital. This group included representatives from the five subscribing counties and other interested parties. The Committee worked until 1948, when the National Health Service was made.
At the time the hospital opened, only about 20 people worked there. Because there weren’t enough staff to properly watch over the patients, they were often left alone overnight. After people complained, in 1860, one staff member was put in charge of each hospital wing from 10 pm to 6 am.
Jones was the medical superintendent from 1913 to 1940. He was known for being tolerant of people with mental illness.
Dr. Jones thought that sports, work, and physical activity were the best ways to help his patients. At the hospital, there were parties with dancing, concerts, picnics, and plays. Tennis and football were among the sports.
Men in the hospital worked in gardens and on farms. They also made shoes and learned how to put things together. Laundry was being done, and clothes were being sewn. When a patient tried to get away, the staff made them pump water so they could keep an eye on them.
Aside from physical work, chloral hydrate was mostly used to put the patients to sleep. In 1871, patients were told to take regular baths because it was thought that body odor was a sign of mental illness.
In 1987, plans were made to close Denbigh Hospital because of the Care in the Community program. Even though the main unit shut down in 1995, it took from 1991 to 2002 for each section to be closed.
In 1999, the land was sold for £155,000. It has been owned by several different people since then. There were many ideas for what to do with this land, but plans to turn it into a hotel or a college didn’t go anywhere. In the 2000s, a plan to build 280 homes fell through because of the recession.
The hospital has been broken into, robbed, and set on fire more than once since it closed. Some of the buildings that burned down in November 2008 and April 2018 could not be fixed. In 2017, there were two fires that destroyed so many buildings that they had to be torn down.
But some of the property damage was caused by a drill that the North Wales Police and the military did together. Some of the doors were blown off as part of this exercise.
The hospital’s medical records were moved to the city archive in 2017. The Wellcome Foundation gave £130,000 to help organize records about patients and staff, annual reports, minutes from committee meetings, and other financial papers.
Denbighshire Council was forced to buy the old hospital in September 2018 after years of fighting with the previous owner, Freemont. A few months later, it was said that the buildings would be fixed up and turned into homes.
In December of that year, the public learned about a plan to build 300 homes, a hotel, a restaurant, and shops. Half of the buildings on the site would have to come down before this project could be finished.
Rebuilding the main building, which is a Class II building, could cost about £33 million. The central part will be turned into apartments, shops, a restaurant, and a gym, according to the plans.
It should take about ten years to finish the whole project. It is hoped that it will boost the economy by £75 million and create 1,200 jobs. Most people in the area are happy about the project, but some are worried about more traffic.
Olivia Shepherd is not a professional photographer yet, but she wants to be. The pictures of Denbigh Asylum were taken by her. Olivia lives in the British counties of Shropshire and Gloucester.
She has a website where she posts pictures of mostly landscapes and things. She also has an Instagram page where she posts pictures of special times.