Cherry Knowle Hospital

Located in Ryhope, Durham England EN

  • Also Known As:Sunderland Borough Asylum, Sunderland Lunatic Asylum
  • Location Genre:Psychiatric Hospital
  • Built:1893
  • Opened:1895
  • Age:121 years
  • Closed:1998
  • Demo / Renovated:2011
  • Decaying for:13 years
  • Last Known Status:Being demolished or renovated

In 1891, the Borough of Sunderland decided to construct a psychiatric facility in Ryhope due to good rail service and a scenic view of the North Sea, and from 1893 to 1895 the Sunderland Borough Asylum was constructed (also known as Sunderland Lunatic Asylum). Designed by noted asylum architect G.T. Hine, the old asylum is a prime example of the compact arrow echelon plan where wards were stepped out from the central services, similar to a Kirkbride plan (USA). There are six wards on either side of a combined chapel and recreation hall amongst the usual services, and an isolation hospital and infirmary block were added in 1902.

In the 1930s an admissions hospital and wartime Emergency Medical Service Huts were constructed nearby, which became the Ryhope General Hospital, and still operates to this day. The rest of the site became known as Cherry Knowle Hospital when it was acquired by the National Health Service in 1948.

As community care replaced the long term stay facilities, the original asylum at Cherry Knowle (then known as the Laurels block) eventually closed in 1998, while other satellite buildings were retained for use by mental health organizations. Plans are to demolish the Laurels block and build a new facility - demolition has started in 2011.