Murray House

Murray Road, Ottershaw, Surrey KT16 0HW

Medical dates:

Medical character:

1930 - 1984

Mental handicap

The Local Government Act, 1929, dismantled the Boards of Guardians, transferring Poor Law functions to the County Councils.  In this way, the Chertsey workhouse, built in 1836, was appropriated by the Surrey County Council, who renamed it Murray House on 10th October 1930.

On 16th June 1932 the premises were handed over to the Council's Mental Hospitals Committee, and it became the Murray House Certified Institution for Mental Defectives, an annexe of the newly established Botley's Park Hospital.

The main building of the former workhouse and its infirmary were 2 storeys high.  The site also contained a bungalow for 30 adult patients, a Home for 38 children, a Home for 11 older boys and a Refractory Boy's Home, as well as a Nurses' Home and a staff cottage, a garage, garden store and a mortuary.

In the mid 1930s huts were erected to accommodate a further 44 patients.

By 1939 the Institution contained 208 female patients aged over 35 years, and 2 children.  At the outbreak of war some 36 adult females and 99 children were transferred from Botleys Park Hospital.

In 1948 the Institution joined the NHS along with its parent Hospital, under the control of the Botleys Park Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Health Authority.  By this time some 79 of its nominal 300 beds were non-existent and only 221 patients could be accommodated without serious overcrowding.  A further 91 beds needed repair.

Patients were occupied with rug-making, book-binding and painting.  Gardening was also encouraged.

By 1950 the annexe had 300 beds and, by 1955, 255 beds, when the weekly cost  of an in-patient was £4 13s 0d (£4.65).  Two separate units - Summerfields and Grays House - had been built in the grounds to accommodate 24 high-grade patients employed outside daily by local industrial firms.

In 1957 the cost of an in-patient had risen to £5 12s 0d (£5.60) and, in 1961, to £7 3s 0d (£7.15).  The premises had undergone considerable improvements and the patients were employed making chain-link fencing, cardboard assemblies, packing polythene bags and sheets, and making waxed paper bags.  The chronic shortage of staff had been resolved by 33 new nurses and carers being hired from Spain.

With the new policy of encouraging mentally handicapped patients to live more independently in smaller units or in their own homes, the annexe gradually was vacated.

Murray House closed in 1984.

Present status (May 2011)

Most of the former workhouse and hospital buildings have been demolished, but the entrance block to Murray House is Grade II listed.  It and the chapel survive, both having been converted to residential use by Bellway Homes.

Murray House

The front elevation of Murray House, built in 1836.

Murray House

 The centre and end pavilions have a stuccoed ground floor (above and below).

Murray House


Murray House

 The surviving chapel (above and below).

Murray House Murray House







Return to alphabetical list
Return to home page