Building record MYO4241 - Bootham Park Hosptial: Medical Superintendent's House
|Grid reference||Centred SE 6016 5280 (21m by 26m)|
|Civil Parish||York, City of York, North Yorkshire|
Type and Period (1)
York Lunatic Asylum was only the fifth public mental health hospital founded in England. In 1773 John Carr was appointed as the architect. He designed an asylum to house 54 patients in the manner of a large Palladian house. Building work began in 1774, but construction was slow due to money shortages and the building was not completed until 1777 when the first patients were admitted under the care of Dr A Hunter.
Although the asylum had been established with good intentions, and its rules of management had attempted to safeguard against abuses, by the last decade of the C18 conditions were appalling and management corrupt. The death of Hannah Mills, a Quaker, in 1790 led directly to the Quakers founding The Retreat in York in 1796, which championed more humane treatment methods. The long north-east range was built for female patients in 1817 to designs by the York-based architects Charles Watson and James Pigott Pritchett. The original front building was then used only for male patients. Subsequently further buildings were added as the asylum expanded. These included provision of accommodation for paupers after the 1845 Lunatics Act made such provision compulsory. In 1858 Dr Frederick Needham was appointed Medical Superintendent and remained until 1874. He had progressive ideas and championed the perception of the asylum as a curative hospital rather than a prison, which led to physical changes on the site. Heavy window and fire guards were removed, high walls round airing courts replaced with low walls and hidden moats, new furniture was installed, curtains hung, cages of birds, hanging flower baskets and pictures added to create a ‘civilised’ environment. Needham also oversaw the construction of two new pauper wards replacing the earlier refractory/pauper wards to the north-west side of the site in 1861-62, and the Medical Superintendent’s house in 1862-63 on the south-east side of the 1817 range.
In the early C20 the asylum began to move towards a wealthier class of patient and in 1904 it changed its name from York Lunatic Asylum to the more respectable Bootham Park Hospital. In 1908 an extension for affluent female patients was built to designs by York architect and City Surveyor, Alfred Creer, which linked the 1817 range and the Medical Superintendent’s house.
In 1948 Bootham Park Hospital was included in the newly created National Health Service (NHS). In 2015 the hospital was closed after shortcomings were identified in its use as a mental healthcare facility and its future use for this function is presently under considerattion. The Medical Superintendent's house does remain in use in a mental health capacity.
2015, Bootham Park Hospital Heritage Appraisal (Unpublished document). SYO1751.
- --- SYO1751 Unpublished document: 2015. Bootham Park Hospital Heritage Appraisal.
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Record last edited
Sep 28 2020 12:01PM