St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, History

Main entrance, St Ebba's Hospital, Epsom, c1907. SHC ref: 6303/1/109

Main entrance, St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, c1907.
SHC ref: 6303/1/109

The Ewell Epileptic Colony, later known as St Ebba’s Hospital, was opened on 1 July 1903 by the London County Council. It consisted of nine villas and originally accommodated 326 patients. In 1909 two more villas were built and the number of patients was increased to 429. From 1918 to January 1927 the institution served as a war hospital and treatment centre for neurasthenic ex-servicemen and was administered by the Ministry of Pensions. In February 1927 it returned to the LCC as a mental hospital and was enlarged by a further two villas and additional outbuildings.

In 1930 the Mental Treatment Act permitted for the first time the reception of voluntary patients in public mental hospitals. St Ebba’s was readily suited to this purpose and plans for the enlargement of the hospital were prepared. The extensions were completed in two stages, the first in 1936 and the second in November 1938. Many of the voluntary patients at St Ebba’s were admitted after attendance at out-patient clinics at various teaching hospitals. Students from these hospitals attended St Ebba’s to see cases and receive instruction on them and staff from St Ebba’s held out-patient clinics in London.

In 1948 the Hospital became part of the National Health Service and was governed by St Ebba’s and Belmont Hospital Management Committee. A special unit for the treatment of adolescents was established at St Ebba’s in 1949. In 1962 the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board changed the use of St Ebba’s Hospital from a psychiatric hospital to a hospital for mentally subnormal patients. The change came into effect on 27 February 1962 and psychiatric patients ceased to be admitted on 17 March.

On 1 April 1982 Merton and Sutton Health Authority was formed from the former Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority and St Ebba’s was included within the new administrative area to serve Merton and Sutton, Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton and Wandsworth Health Authorities. In April 1990 responsibility for St Ebba’s was transferred to Mid Surrey Health Authority. In 1991 Mid-Surrey Health Authority’s Mental Handicap Services Unit applied to become an NHS Trust and this was granted in April 1995 with the creation of Surrey Heartlands NHS Trust. It is now part of Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

Find out about the records from St Ebba’s held at Surrey History Centre.

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