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.

1 comment:

Graham said...

I grew up in Caterham and well remember St Lawrence's Hospital and indeed know Westway just round the corner. Down the road were the Caterham Barracks so although I didn't appreciate it at the time there was a lot going on round there. I was living there at the time of the Caterham Arms pub bombing too and had the misfortune to hear the explosion. I still go back regularly and was there just a few days ago. Like most places it is changed a fair amount.