St Crispin's, Berrywood Asylum. Jan 21

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Stealthstar79

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On a beautiful, crisp, January morning, I took a trip out to St Crispin's. Most of the site is now redeveloped, but still a couple of buildings accessible, and derelict. I was excited to visit, who doesn't love an Asylum explore! After visiting many years ago, was nice to have another chance to visit, before it's completely renovated . The clock tower still looming and looking beautiful!

The History
The Asylum was opened on 30 June 1876 as the pauper lunatic asylum for Northamptonshire with 61 male and 54 female patients. It was located in the parish of Upton and to the west of the larger village of Duston. The Asylum was three miles west of Northampton. Previously pauper lunatics had been taken in by the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, close to Northampton, just off the Billing Road, which had opened in 1838. That asylum was by the late 1860s considered too small to take all the pauper patients as well as the private fee paying patients. The Commissioners in Lunacy were also unhappy that the Asylum was governed by an independent board of directors. In 1870 they had recommended that the county build a separate asylum for pauper patients. In 1878 the General Lunatic Asylum, having become a purely private asylum, changed its name to St. Andrew’s Hospital. It still functions today as the largest and one of the most prestigious independent psychiatric hospitals in the country.

The site for the County Lunatic Asylum at Berrywood was purchased by the county in August 1871. The architect of the Asylum was the County Surveyor of Staffordshire, Robert Griffiths and the contractors were Messrs. Smith Bros. of Northampton. The striking architecture was even used as a location of an episode of Dr Who, staring Tom Baker, in the 1970s. In March 1915 the asylum took in 193 patients from the Birmingham City Asylum at Rubery Hill when that institution was made into a war hospital for wounded soldiers. The War Office soon required more beds so in July 1915 the County Council offered the asylum as an additional war hospital. Patients were dispersed to other asylums in the Midlands and the Duston War Hospital was opened at the end of October. It continued at Berrywood until March 1919, the patients arriving back at the end of November. By 1940 the hospital was able to accommodate 1,066 patients. After the War the asylum became known as the County Mental Hospital. The hospital was nationalized, along with other similar Victorian institutions, following the introduction of the NHS in 1948. It finally closed in 1995
 

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