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Thread: Hellingly Hospital – Hellingly, Sussex – Oct 2015

  1. #1
    Join Date
    August 2014

    Default Hellingly Hospital – Hellingly, Sussex – Oct 2015

    The History

    Hellingly Hospital, formerly the East Sussex County Asylum was a large psychiatric hospital close to the village of Hellingly, east of Hailsham, in the English county of East Sussex.
    The County Authority of East Sussex decided to build a new lunatic asylum at the turn of the twentieth century after problems of overcrowding at the Haywards Heath Asylum, formerly the Sussex County Asylum.[1] To this end the County Council purchased the 400-acre (160 ha) Park Farm estate, a short distance from Hellingly village and railway station, from the earl of Chichester for £16,000.

    Construction began in 1898 and the new asylum was built to a compact arrow plan by George Thomas Hine, consultant architect to the Commissioners in Lunacy. The hospital opened on July 20th, 1903 at a total cost of £353,400.

    The main complex comprised an administrative block, central stores, kitchens, a recreation hall and the assistant medical officer's residence. Like most large institutions of this age and type the sexes were separated into separate accommodation and work areas. To the west of the central block stood the male wards, workshops, boiler house, water tower and maintenance department. The female wards were located on the east side of the hospital along with the laundry, sewing room and nurses' home. All of the buildings in the main complex were linked by an extensive network of corridors.

    To the north of the main buildings were a chapel and four further villas including one for male working patients, two for female working patients and another for mentally defective children. Park House, a hospital annexe for acute cases was located to the southwest of the main asylum and a small isolation hospital for infectious diseases was placed in the woods to the far north-west of the grounds to reduce the risk of infection. The estate plan incorporated two driveways: one from the south-west lined with medical officers' residences and the acute hospital and another second from the south routed via the farm, male farm-workers' villa and married attendants' cottages.

    Post-war developments included the conversion of the Superintendent's residence to a nurse's home, the closure of the hospital farm, the construction of Tennyson house and the staff social club. During the mid-1980s, Hellingly was chosen as one of five mental hospital sites in the south east of England to accommodate a medium secure unit, known as Ashen Hill and located to the east of the main buildings and villas. Despite these developments, patient numbers were already declining and the entire main building was vacated and closed in 1994.

    After closure, most of the buildings fell into rapid decline, suffering from arson, vandalism and theft. In mid-2010, work began to clear the site for new housing. Only a few of the original buildings now remain, although the Ashen Hill secure unit continued to operate on site until early 2012.

    The Explore

    I was visiting a friend in nearby Hawyards Heath and she mentioned Hellingly, so after a quick google and a search on here I headed off in that direction not expecting to find anything.

    What I did find was a lovely church, slightly vandalised but very secure, I managed a few snaps of the inside through a broken window but that was it.

    Next up I found some kind of administration building, boarded up at the front but with easy access around the back. This was nice inside with typical asylum staircases, kinda reminding me of the ones in severalls

    Lastly was Bowhill, this was a set of service offices and surprisingly still full off stuff, ranging from computers through to patient records, a lot of these belonging to patients born in the early 1900’s. It was sad to see that the windows had been smashed to put up the “security” screens

  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, Chopper, clairea, flyboys90, gingrove, krela, Mearing, Rubex, smiler, thorfrun, tumble112
  4. #2
    Join Date
    November 2013
    West Sussex


    I thought they'd redeveloped or demolished all of this, might have to go for a wander!
    "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man"
    Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #3
    Join Date
    September 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper View Post
    I thought they'd redeveloped or demolished all of this, might have to go for a wander!
    This is all that remains sadly, plus one other old building from the 1994 closure. The Bowhill building was used up until 2010 as administration/training offices. The entire rest of the asylum has been flattened

    Seeing these few buildings back in the summer was one of the highlights of my year, it brought back so many memories of my visits to Hellingly in 2009.
    My Flickr


  6. #4
    Join Date
    October 2010
    Lost in Cornwall


    I had a quick nose around here about ten years ago while staying with friends in Burgess Hill, me mate wasn't the slightest bit interested in looking but was worried about missing our tee off time so seeing your pics was really good, Thanks

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DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
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