Institutions: Mental Hospital Records

Scale drawing of elevations and section of proposed extension to female block and Brookwood Asylum (25 May 1899-12 Jun 1899) SHC Ref 3043 PLAN 19

Scale drawing of elevations and section of proposed extension to female block and Brookwood Asylum
(25 May 1899-12 Jun 1899) SHC Ref 3043 PLAN 19

Surrey is very fortunate in the survival rate of records of the county’s mental institutions. These records can be used for a variety of purposes, such as the development of modern psychiatric medicine or the training of nursing personnel, as well as other less expected subjects such as building architecture and office procedures. However, the records are proving to be an indispensable source for family historians. They can inform the nature of a patient’s illness and how that illness was treated, they can confirm important genealogical information such as family relationships and dates of birth, admission and discharge or death, and, perhaps most importantly of all, provide some historical background into an ancestor’s life and the circumstances surrounding their illness.

Brookwood Asylum Female Ward (SHC Ref 3043 BOX4 20 p45)Brookwood Asylum Male Ward (SHC Ref 3043 BOX4 20 p46)

1881 photographs of the female (left) and male (right) wards at Brookwood Asylum. From an album belonging to Mrs. H. Brushfield, wife of the first medical superintendent. These photographs from the early years of Brookwood, some annotated with names. also show the original hospital chapel, superintendents house, chaplains house, stewards house, ward interiors, and general views.

Further images from the archive at Surrey History Centre.

Brookwood Asylum (SHC ref 3043 BOX4 File14 2)Attendants 3 Counties (SHC Ref 3043 BOX44 15)

The National Archives Hospital Records Database provides information on the existence and location of the records of UK hospitals. There are currently over 2,800 entries, which have been compiled by the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. These can be found by searching the database (click here to visit the site).

Click here to read a pdf (PDF.gif) copy of Julian Pooley’s article: Private Minds, Public Histories: Discovering Archives of Mental Illness and Learning Disability at Surrey History Centre.

21 thoughts on “Institutions: Mental Hospital Records”

  1. karl coffey says:

    hi like many irish who came to england in the 80s, i am proud to say that i did my nurse training in longrove hospital, i have such good memories of my time there. the hospital and surrounding hospitals were amazing buildings, everything was laid on in long grove, one did not need to go into epsom, i have great memories of the grand hall in longrove, it was huge, patients used to put on plays there, sad it burned down, i got my graduation there. such wonderful memories, epsom has a special place in my heart. i have old photos of the hospital,if interested i lived in burford house.great website
    karl coffey
    mayo mental health services

    1. Anastasia Hancock says:

      Hi Karl,
      I’m doing some research into Long Grove and would love to hear about your time there when you were training. Would it be possible to contact you directly?
      All the best,

  2. Gian Hailey says:


    My name is Gian Hailey. I am searching for records of my great grandfather Mr Godfrey John Hailey (born 1835, died March 1871) for my family tree. I am hoping you still have records there pertaining to him. If possible it would be greatly appreciated if you could email me copies.

    Many thanks in advance. Gian Hailey

  3. Ruth Rolle says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am trying to find out why the farm at Warlingham Park Mental Hospital was closed in 1964.
    This research is on behalf of a former patient, who is now 73; she has fond memories of the farm.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Your sincerely,

    Ruth Rolle

  4. Meaghan says:

    Good evening —
    I have come into possession of a key that was used at Nethrene Hospital. I would like to learn more about the building, and especially the room that it opened (the key is marked with 23B).
    As I am in the US, anything that can be accessed online would be most helpful. Thank you.

  5. andy says:

    Hi there,
    There is a longrove reunion on the 27th September 2014,
    email me for more details or log onto the longrove facebook page


    1. Louise Phillips says:

      Hi Andy
      Could you kindly let me know th details of the long grove reunion on 27th September.
      Thank you.

  6. frank says:

    Before being transferred to Stone Assylum, Bucks, my grandfather was in a Ministry of Pensions hospital in Epsom in 1924. Can anyone help me to locate his records? His name was Reginald George Thorpe from Steeple Claydon, Bucks.

  7. andy says:

    Hi louise,
    That was a quick response lol
    Are you on facebook if so we have a longrove hospital page,
    its at Epsom common club,
    epsom, Starts at 7 till late
    £10 a ticket Buffet, Disco,
    Thanks for the interset

  8. Barry Ponsford says:


    I’m researching my family and was wondering if you let me copies (emailed) or how to get copies of the record for Clara Maria Pickersgill. I know she entered Brookwood Hospital, Woking on 10 May 1902 and died in 1904 at the same institutions.
    I would be grateful if you could please forward anything you might have as I seem to have come to a dead end.


    Barry Ponsford

  9. Anji morris says:

    hi I’m doing my family tree an julia ellis died west park 3/5/1945 if you have any records of her could you advise me how I can obtain copies thankyou

  10. Gen Connatty says:

    Hello. I knew an elderly lady called Ada Carter when I was growing up. Her and her husband les worked at Brookwood. I remember her telling me about a patient also called Ada who was buried alive in the blitz on London for 3 days. At Brookwood she was kept in a padded cell.

  11. Janet braunstein says:

    Was there a nursing school at Banstead Hospital?

    1. Snowy says:

      If wasn’t at Banstead it could have been at Belmont just across from Sutton Hospital.

  12. Ed Spooner says:

    I am researching my great grandfather and believe that his second wife, Sophia Spooner, may have been a patient at Brookwood Hospital in 1896 and again in 1922. She died in 1922 and may have died in the Hospital. Does anyone know anything about her?



  13. Pam Steele says:

    I am trying to find out about my great grandmother who spent several months in I think Wallingham mental hospital, we would like to know more of the history of why she was there?
    Thanks Pam

  14. Graham Jones says:

    Hi, my father Joseph Jones was a patient at netherne hospital during the 60s, the 70s and died in the early 80s, I am looking for any photos of him or friends or relatives IV found a brother and his family which I never new existed I’m looking on my grandmothers side I know he had a sister and nephew living in the Sutton and caulsdon area. I would be grateful for any information big or small. Thanks again.

  15. Patrick Lee says:

    Hi my mum Edith Lee, worked I believe as a volunteer unloading trains in Caterham Valley during WW2 she had told us that she had strong helpers from St Lawrence s Asylum Caterham on the Hill. Anybody heard of this ? There is a lot of information out there, but oh so many roads to go down before you can find anything, if nothing else it keeps the Gray matter working . Cheers from Australia Patrick

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