St Ebba's Hospital
Located in Epsom, Surrey England
Photo © 2006 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
St Ebba's Hospital History
St. Ebba's Hospital was the third hospital constructed in the Epsom Cluster, a massive cluster of large psychiatric hospitals west of Epsom. Built at a cost of £98,000, the hospital opened in 1904 as the Ewell Epileptic Colony, and specifically catered to people with these seizures. Eight villas surrounded a central block containing a recreation hall, administration building, and an admission ward for female patients. In 1918 hospital was briefly re-named the Ewell War Hospital when it catered to WWI soldiers with shell shock. Psychiatric services returned in 1927 and the hospital was named the Ewell Mental Hospital; in 1930 it was the first voluntary admission public mental hospital.
Expansions during 1935-1938 increased the capacity to 933 beds, and in 1948 the hospital was re-named once again to St. Ebba's Hospital. By the end of the 1940s, almost 95% of the residents were voluntarily admitted, and able-bodied patients worked in the laundry and workshops, while the less ambulatory fashioned hand-made crafts. The hospital also had its own newsletter, called Trees.
The facility changed the type of care provided one last time in 1962, where psychiatric patients were transferred to other hospitals, and the 470 beds were used to care for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The workshops continued with a new Industrial Training Unit in 1969 and a cement products factory in 1971 where pavers were made. The population of St. Ebbas swelled during this time, reaching 629 residents in 1979.
By 1987, the population had begun to dwindle, leaving behind empty buildings, but some were renovated to continue caring for residents during 2008. As of 2011, most of the buildings have been redeveloped into flats.