Building record MYO4242 - Bootham Park Hospital: Two long corridors, recreation hall, bowling alley and pauper wards
|Grid reference||Centred SE 6006 5283 (61m by 67m)|
|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 a refractory ward built in 1828 for fourteen violent or troublesome patients to the north-west of the site.
The first edition 1:1056 Ordnance Survey map published in 1852 provides the earliest known surviving ground plan of the asylum. In addition to the main asylum building and the 1817 female range to the north-east, it shows two further blocks had been added to the north-west. One was a service block containing a wash house, bakery, brewery and stores. The other was an extension or a rebuilding of the earlier refractory ward to provide wards for male and female patients. The 1845 Lunatics Act had made the provision of accommodation for pauper patients compulsory and this building was presumably for pauper patients. The two wards were linked to the main buildings by two long corridors.
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, a Medical Superintendent’s house in 1862-63 on the south-east side of the 1817 range, and a separate chapel in 1865 designed by Rawlins Gould. In 1871-72 the pre-1852 service block was either demolished or extensively rebuilt to provide a grand recreation and dining hall spanning the area between the two long corridors, and new kitchen, larder, laundry, wash house and drying room, and boiler house. Gas cookers were installed to make domestic life easier, baths were replaced with enamel baths, the hot water supply was improved and stone flags were replaced by boards in some areas.
In 1884 Dr Hitchcock became Medical Superintendent. He was notable for his medical innovations, reducing the use of sedatives as treatment, and was pioneering in his therapy of acute mania cases. This was cemented in 1909 when two American doctors commented that the hospital '‘was the most progressive institution they had visited in Europe'’.
In 1886 the link block between the main building and late-C18 building to the rear was entirely rebuilt as a two-storey building to designs by York architects Fisher and Hepper. Fisher and Hepper’s design built in a French chateau style was more decorative than the earlier buildings. The detailing, particularly that of the windows, suggests that Fisher and Hepper may have been the architects of other parts of the complex built at a similar time. These include a single-storey American bowling alley built before 1892 along the outer side of the southern long corridor (later used as a dining room). At this time the interior of the main buildings in the asylum were also extensively refurbished including Minton tile corridor floors, fireplaces, fine doorcases and doors. This refurbishment also encompassed the two long corridors.
In 1948 Bootham Park Hospital was included in the newly created National Health Service (NHS). In 1953 the verandas of the pauper wards were replaced by single-storey extensions to provide additional beds and in the 1960s a single-storey, flat-roofed ward was built between the two pauper wards to create a quadrangle with a central yard. The 1871-2 kitchen adjacent to the recreation room was converted into the Needham Treatment Suite and a small, single-storey annexe built on its south-east side to provide a sluice room/store/WC. In 2015 the hospital was closed after shortcomings were identified in its use as a mental healthcare facility and it then partially re-opened while discussion as to its future use for this function is on-going.
https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1434284 April 2016
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