Graylingwell Mental Asylum in Chichester, West Sussex

Graylingwell Mental Asylum in Chichester, West Sussex

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Graylingwell Hospital  was a psychiatric hospital in Chichester, West Sussex.

Construction of the asylum began in 1894 and was completed in 1897. The asylum was built of soft red brick with reconstituted stonework ornamentation roofed with slate in a classical Queen Anne style. Lodges and other outbuildings differed in their use of rendered upper storeys and the chapel was built in local flint and reconstituted stone with a red clay tiled roof.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the asylum was requisitioned to serve as a Military Hospital and the inmates were relocated to other asylums in the area. Casualties began arriving on 24 March 1915 directly from the Western Front, via train from Dover. The hospital was returned to civilian use in 1919 following a solemn ceremony during which the last patients left to the sound of the Last Post.

Following the return to civilian use in 1919, the asylum became known as Graylingwell Mental Hospital, the term ‘asylum’ having fallen out of general use by the 1920s (the term was later legally abolished by the Mental Treatment Act, 1930).

Graylingwell Hospital celebrated its centenary in 1997 with the publication of various books and pamphlets and an exhibition in the Chichester District Museum featuring original plans and drawings. By this time, patient numbers had declined significantly, with the emphasis having moved away from long stays in psychiatric wards to community-based care.

The last psychiatric patients left in May 2001, although the outpatient clinics and Summersdale unit remained open. The remaining valuable contents of the hospital were sold at auction on 7 June 2001. Some of the empty buildings were put to use as administrative offices of the Weald and Downs NHS Trust but others were left unoccupied and allowed to become derelict. In 2009 the last NHS services moved out of the buildings leaving them empty.

Following the vacation of the hospital buildings, the site was sold to developer Linden Homes and following planning consultation, demolition and conversion work began in 2010 to turn the site into a carbon-neutral community called Graylingwell Park. As of December 2012 the central block (with the exception of the administration block and water tower) had been demolished and the ward blocks were being readied for conversion to apartments. The chapel had been repurposed by a religious group while the isolation hospital, Graylingwell Farmhouse and Richmond Villa remained derelict.

As you can see there is not much left of this once amazing hospital.

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