Thorpe St Andrews hospital..Norwich March 2021

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Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2013
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One positive about the lockdown is that I can concentrate on local history, and go more in depth. So a little wander around the former Thorpe St Andrews hospital today. Not a lot remains now and the south side has been converted lovingly into housing.


This is the original county asylum that was built in 1814 and was the second of its sort in the country. It was widely expanded over the next fifty years including a chapel that was built. When the hospital closed in 1998 the south side was soon converted into housing. During the renovation period a barrel-vaulted theatre was found and full morgue, this included a white glazed porcelain slab. The fixings and slab was said to exist from the building of the mortuary in 1857. This mortuary is not to be confused with the building on the north side which is widely thought to be a mortuary. It's a sports pavilion to back on to the cricket field.


Far away from the northern auxiliary buildings lays this tree lined area. This was the graveyard for the asylum. It's believed to have 1400 hundred bodies buried here. Buried in twos they would have a metal burial disc. In the sixties the trust for some strange reason decided to sell them all for scrap metal, this did not go down to well and rightly so.


This is a memorial erected in 1985 to honour the residents who lost there lives. One is honoured to the original graveyard on the south side. The second plaque for the newer ground when the north side annex was built. And a plaque to the polish that came here during the Second World War. The hospital was used as a Great War Hospital during the First World War.


This is all that remains of the old north auxiliary site. The auxiliary site was completed in 1881 and allowed for greater amount of patients at the hospital. The building had a curved corridor which was rare to see. Some parts of this site was still in use till 2007. It was sold in 2011 and in 2013 it was all demolished except this and the sports pavilion. The site is now for used for industrial use.



Here we see the old step coming down from the building into the lower parts of the grounds. The grounds would be lovingly landscaped and well maintained. The nice landscaping would keep an air of calm amongst the patients. The exterior walls were low. You may find this strange, but during the Victorian times the patients would be out in the grounds and the rich could come and see the patients. It was almost like a cruel freak show.


Standard amongst the asylums would be these pavilions. Dotted about the patients could sit in them. This is the only surviving one on this side, and as it faces on to the cricket field it was prob used to watch the sports away from the rain or hot sun. On the south side there remains several pavilions and they have been restored.
Despite the reputation of the old Victorian asylums, not all was bad. A lot of good ideas in treatments come out. They were a far cry from the work houses what more or less resembled a prison. They had clean bright rooms, there was facilities to use. A sense of community developed, which was good as many spent a whole life time here.

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