18 May 2019

18th May 1814 - Norfolk County Asylum opened

On 18th May 1814 the Norfolk County Asylum opened near Norwich. It was the third oldest county asylum after Nottinghamshire and Bedfordshire. But Norwich had a hundred year history of asylum provision at the charitable asylum at Bethel, and so the new county asylum was additional.

From 1808 counties were encouraged to build county asylums after the '1808 Act for the better Care and Maintenance of Lunatics, being Paupers or Criminals in England' . In 1845 County Asylum building became compulsory.

The building of the Norfolk County Asylum in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew in 1814 allowed room for around 140 patients.  It had an administration block at the centre and accommodation flanking it on either side. For males on one side there were: single and double cells, day-rooms and airing courts for convalescents, lunatics, and incurables. There was a similar arrangement for females on the other side of the admin block.This allowed for the segregation of the sexes and communication within the Asylum.

A nearby site, connected by a bridge, was added in 1881 allowing first 700 and then 1000 patients.

More details are available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/The-Norfolk-Lunatic-Asylum---St-Andrews-Hospital. Thankyou to British Newspaper Archive for the date. Reading the Norfolk Chronicle on 7th May 1814 ...

THE Committee of Visiting Justices for managing the NORFOLK LUNATIC ASYLUM, lately erected at Thorpe, intend Meeting Saturday, the 14th day May next precisely, at twelve o'clock, at the Shirehouse, to receive proposals for serving the Asylum from the 18th day of May next, to Midsummer following, with BEEF and MUTTON. FLOUR and BREAD. BEER. GROCERY. More details was given of these provisions. Although grocery is left to the grocer as it says GROCERY. - Good Norfolk or Gloster Cheese, Candle, Soap, and all other articles of Grocery necessary for the supply of the House. 

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