Brookwood Hospital, Woking, History


Brookwood Asylum, Surrey History Centre collections

Brookwood Hospital was opened on 17 June 1867 under the title Brookwood Asylum. It was sited on 150 acres of land which lay between the Basingstoke canal and the village of Knaphill, four miles west of Woking. It was the county’s second County Asylum to complement the county’s first asylum, Springfield in Tooting, which had reached capacity.

Brookwood could hold 650 pauper lunatics, whose maintenance was mostly paid by poor law unions, and patients were received from across the county. The hospital was governed by a succession of different authorities. Initially annual and quarterly reports were presented to Surrey Quarter Sessions by a visiting committee that was directly responsible for the running of the hospital. In 1889 authority passed from Surrey Quarter Sessions to the new Surrey County Council.

In 1948 the Brookwood Hospital Management Committee was formed, which reported to the new South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. The hospital was referred to as Brookwood Asylum or Surrey County Lunatic Asylum interchangeably until 1919, when it was officially renamed Brookwood Hospital.

During the 127 years of its operation, the hospital developed considerably in fabric and infrastructure. Major openings included that of Florence House in 1875, a new chapel seating 800 in 1903, a reception hospital in 1930 and a library and conference centre in 1967. Following opening of the sick hospital in 1938, patient capacity peaked at 1,753.

The hospital closed in 1994.

Click here to find out more about the large collection of records from Brookwood Hospital held at Surrey History Centre.

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