Runwell Mental Hospital (1930s)


Runwell hospital has treated mentally ill patients in in Essex for over 73 years and like all former mental asylums, the doors of this building are now shut forever. The hospital is particularly known for the study and surgery on the human brain. The hospital was fully closed on April 23rd 2010 with fences being placed on access roads soon after. The site had been earmarked for a new 1,500-inmate male prison but the plan was formally withdrawn following a Ministry of Justice spending review in December 2010. In February of 2012, plans were announced to construct around 600 new homes on the site. Demolition started in July 2012 and the only buildings to remain will be: the administration building (front part with clock tower), the water tower, and the Grade 2 Listed Chapel of Saint Luke. Photos and report from early 2013.

As asylums were divided depending on the sex and what type of illness a patient had, wards and different hospital areas were given different names. As shown below, the Sandringham/Windsor ward was the name given to the Male Long Stay.


Male Long Stay



Water towers are very common at asylums and can even be a landmark for the town that they’re in. Most of them are listed due to their vivid design, and this one is no exception.


The water tower

Inside the water tower/boiler house


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