A brief history of healthcare provision in London


The LCC inherited all existing asylums from the County of Middlesex - Hanwell, Colney Hatch and Banstead, as well as plans for the yet unbuilt Claybury Asylum - and the recently built Cane Hill Asylum from the County of Surrey.  These four asylums were already overcrowded and contained 10,000 inmates, with another 5,000 accommodated in other local authorities' institutions.

In 1893 the LCC built Claybury Asylum, which was considered a great advance in design with a higher standard in fitments, but its huge cost caused a regression of building standards for its second asylum, Bexley Asylum, which opened in 1898.

Despite these new asylums, the need for beds for mental patients from the County of London was desperate and temporary accommodation was built at Hanwell, Colney Hatch and Banstead.

The asylums were mainly self-sufficient, with patients working on the farms, growing produce and caring for livestock, in workshops making goods, in the kitchens, laundry and wards.

Four smaller institutions, such as Leytonstone House, had been acquired and adapted to house mentally handicapped patients (the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, had given recognition for the first time to the need of such patients).  By establishing special colonies for these patients, bed space was freed up in the mental hospitals.

In 1896 the LCC purchased the large Horton Manor estate near Epsom from Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton at the cost of £35,900.  The estate included five farms - Home Farm, New Farm, Horton Farm, Greenman Farm and West Farm.

Next subsection:  The 'Epsom cluster'

Next section:  Reorganisation of local government and the end of MAB

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(Author unstated) 1949 The LCC Hospitals.  A Retrospect.  London, LCC.

Jones K 1993  Asylums and After: A Revised History of the Mental Health Services: From the Early 19th Century to the 1990s.  London, Athlone Press.

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