|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
A brief history of healthcare provision in London
FARMING IN MENTAL HOSPITALS
Most asylums for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped had farms. Farming was considered a healthy occupation for patients. It also helped to provide fresh produce for the institution and even provide a small income.
At the onset of WW2 in 1939 the LCC possessed 2789 acres of farmland, 1041 of which were arable and 1748 grassland. (In England and Wales 190 hospitals farmed 40,000 acres of land).
Dairy cows provided milk, butter and cheese, and poultry provided eggs and meat. Pigs and sheep were bred for meat. Crops were also grown and market gardens and orchards provided vegetables and fruit. Surplus stock was sold locally.
By the mid 20th century farming as a whole was losing money, and there was a tendency to buy more land to make the farms more viable. By the 1950s the Ministry of Health decreed that farming in mental hospitals should cease. The farmland was sold for housing development.
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(Author unstated) 1949 The LCC Hospitals. A Retrospect. London, LCC.
Rivett G 1998 From Cradle to Grave. Fifty Years of the NHS. London, King's Fund.
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