‘In contrast to my beautiful house it is hell and I don’t know how to bear it.’

Miss O. was another long-term patient. She had already had several attacks when she came to the Sanatorium in 1901 at the age of 30. On admission she was described by the doctor as restless, erratic, impulsive and suffering from delusions and hallucinations. She was considered a suicide risk and was put under special watch. This photograph in the case book shows her almost two years later.

Patients were allowed to have visitors and to write to their friends. But their letters were seen by the doctor and, if thought to be inappropriate, they were not sent. This is what happened to Miss O.’s letter to Edith, in which she criticises the food and the behaviour of other patients and complains that the tablecloths weren’t as nice as those at home. She longs to be taken away. But sadly she was never considered well enough to leave and remained at the Sanatorium for 46 years, until her death.

A dining hall at the Sanatorium. Some Views of Holloway Sanatorium, St Anne’s Heath, Virginia Water, Surrey, about 1905. Surrey History Centre,
Ref 725.5 S1x.

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Extract from a letter written by a patient in 1902 to a friend or family member but held back by the Sanatorium authorities.
Holloway Sanatorium female case book
1901-1902, case number 2424,
Surrey History Centre, 3473/3/6.

Photograph of Miss O. in the Sanatorium’s case book, in 1903, almost two years after her admission.
Holloway Sanatorium female case book 1901-1902, case number 2424.
Surrey History Centre, 3473/3/6.


A letter to Edith from Miss O., dated July 1902, about a year after her admission. This letter was held back by the doctors and inserted in the case notes. Holloway Sanatorium female case book 1901-1902, case number 2424. Surrey History Centre, 3473/3/6.


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