Powick Hospital was a mental institution which was closed in 1989. The institution was known as Worcester City and County Pauper Lunatic Asylum when first built in 1852 and after the Second World War changed to Powick Mental Hospital. It was built as a response to the Lunatic Asylums Act of 1845 to house patients from Worcestershire with mental illness. Corridors were designed to be 12 feet wide and some were 686 feet long so patients could exercise in them. There was an asylum chapel for Anglican services to be held, (the only time patients were in mixed-sex groups).
Architects planned to accommodate 200 patients and by the time it was closed they had treated over 25,000 people from the Worcestershire area. Patients were diagnosed with dementia, idiocy, mania, melancholia or a combination of these with general awareness of mental health issues being at the early stages of knowledge.
More recent memories of working there can be found on the George Marshall Medical Museum's videos.
Dr Frank Crompton has published two books on the topic of Powick Hospital, copies can be purchased from the medical museums:
Lunatics: the Mad Poor of Worcestershire in the Long Nineteenth Century: Writing History from Below of Patients in a Pauper Lunatic Asylum, 2013
Doctor Sherlock's Casebook: Patients Admitted to the Worcester City and County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Powick - August 1854 to March 1881, 2016
Dr Crompton has also transcribed over 9000 patient case notes and has made these available for researchers, you can search by name, date and diagnosis for records from 1852-1916.
Please note the database's search facility is undergoing some technical issues.
Please do try to search the database, but if images do not appear, please contact us to be sent the images. In addition, Dr. Crompton is very happy to receive requests for information about patients and life in the asylum, and we are happy to forward those requests to him.