Sunday, September 16, 2018

St Lawrence's Hospital / Caterham Mental Hospital

Not much of the former hospital of St Lawrence's now remains. A plaque has been put up recently by  The Bourne Society on what was the main gate post.
Beyond that is the new housing that replaced the hospital. The road names off St Lawrence Way do apparently remember people associated with the hospital: Deacon, Straw, Danvers, Gwynne, Bunce, Drew, Pye, Marcuse. Joey Deacon was very well known.

Beyond the houses the land dips away to an open area, and a tree covered walk in the valley - Green Lane, and beyond that is Surrey National Golf Club.
Old postcards (like this one) show how the front entrance looked when the building was big enough to house 1500 residents from the Metropolitan area of London, and when it was a large employer of people from Caterham.
What has been kept is the screen of high trees, the fence and gate posts.
The admin block was attractive as shown in this 1923 picture by, I think, G Aschinger.

Beyond that there was the male side and the female side with the utility corridor connecting them, off which came the kitchen, the pharmacy, the laundry, the swimming pool, recreation hall, tailors shop, dentist, and everything needed to keep a hospital community going.

It was a large hospital built to keep the cost per patient down and probably had no great architectural merit. The grounds were extensive. So it was bulldozed rather than converted, when the era of Victorian Mental Hospitals ended in the 1990s. The residents had been rehoused in smaller units by the 1990s Lifecare NHS Trust. Much better for them than living in groups of up to 40.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Loft - 46 Westway, Caterham

In 1982 Noel and Maureen moved to Caterham in Surrey and set up an antique business called the Loft at 46 Westway. (picture slightly distorted as taken from their album).
Noel also used his photographic talents in the business and that became the main money earner. He still has a Instant Passport Pictures sign in the window. He took passport photos of many of the residents of St Lawrences Hospital at the far end of the Westway. The snowy picture by Noel is one of the many on his walls in his shop.
Noel was once an adventurer and rally driver who started life in New South Wales, and spent time in Papua New Guinea, and other antipodean locations until coming to Caterham with Maureen (pictured behind him), and his growing family.

Next week Noel and Maureen close up shop in Caterham after 36 years  to move to somewhere new, and a time to enjoy full retirement.