St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, Archives

The Ewell Epileptic Colony, later known as St Ebba’s Hospital, was opened on 1 July 1903 by the London County Council. It is now part of Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

Read more about the history of St Ebba’s Hospital.

Important: please note that any patient records less than 100 years old and staff records less than 75 years old are likely to have access restrictions. Individual records are not available to view through this website. For details on viewing records please see the Access To Mental Hospital Records page.

The main accession numbers to find records for St Ebba’s Hospital at Surrey History Centre are 6292, 6380, 63907329 and 7856 (click on the individual links to see the archive records).

The principal series of records held at Surrey History Centre relating to individual patients are as follows, although there are gaps in some series.

Alphabetical Registers, 1903-c.1957

These provide details of the date of admission, reference number, patient’s name, the union to which they were chargeable (until 1929), whether they were removed from the asylum or died there and the date of removal or death.

Admission Registers, 1914-1949, 1991-1994

These are particularly useful for service personnel during the Great War and Aliens during the years 1927-1938.

Medical Registers, 1903-1948

Details include date of admission, civil register number, date of discharge, transfer or death, patient’s name and whether private or pauper, marital status, occupation, age on admission, type of attacks, duration of attacks, aetiological factors, bodily state on admission, form of mental disorder and observations.

Civil Registers, 1914-1953

These were compiled in accordance with Rule 4 of the Rules of the Commissioners in Lunacy dated 31 Oct 1906 which required the Clerk of every asylum to make an entry in a Civil Register of Patients immediately upon the reception of a person as a lunatic. Details include the date of any previous admission, general reference number, admission date, date of reception order, date of continuation of the reception order, whether the patient was directly admitted to the asylum or transferred, patient’s name, private or pauper status, address, previous institution, sex, marital status, religion, county or borough to which chargeable, date of discharge, transfer or death and name of institution they may have been transferred to.

Case Books and Files, 1903-1960

The case books include a statement of the name, age, sex and previous occupation of the patient, their marital status; an accurate description of the external appearance of the patient upon admission, habit of body and temperament, appearance of the eyes, facial expression, any peculiarity of shape of head, state of the pulse, tongue, skin and the presence of any bruises or injuries; a description of type of mental disorder, the manner and period of attack, an account of the symptoms, changes produced in the patient’s manner, whether the patient suffered from delusions, irrational conduct or morbid or dangerous habits, whether the memory had failed, the presence of epilepsy or of ordinary or general paralysis and historical information, the supposed causes of the attack, previous habits, whether active or sedentary, temperate or otherwise, whether there had been previous attacks, whether any relatives had suffered in a similar way, whether the patient had undergone any previous treatment or had been subject to any restraint. Subsequent entries describe the course and progress of the case and recording the medical and other treatment with the results. In addition, all special circumstances affecting the patient, including seclusion and mechanical restraint, had to be recorded. In addition to these particulars, the case books usually record the case number of the patient and include photographs taken of the patient’s front and side views.

Medical Treatment Registers, 1903-1960

These include register of leucotomy operations, electroencephalograph reports, register of mechanical restraint, 1903-1956 and disease registers, 1904-1957.

Medical Journals, 1906-1918

These are daily summaries of the number of patients in the hospital.  They list those in seclusion, describing the period of and reason for the treatment.  They also list those undergoing medical treatment and describe the nature of their bodily disorder.  Deaths, injuries and violence among the patients are also recorded.

Discharge and Transfer Registers, 1903-1994

The details included in each register comprise the date of discharge or transfer, date of last admission and the name of patient, stating whether private or pauper.  If the patient was discharged the new address was given.  If the patient was transferred to another asylum the name of that institution was noted.  Medical details were only provided of those patients who were discharged ‘recovered’.

Registers of Deaths, 1907-1994

These provide details of the date of death, the date of last admission, the number of the patient in the civil register, the name of the patient and whether they were private or pauper, their sex, age, the duration of their last attack of mental illness, the forms of their disorder on admission and at death, the principal and contributory causes of death and whether these were confirmed by a post-mortem.  For registers of the Horton Cemetery that served all of the Epsom Cluster hospitals between c.1902 and 1955, see 6376.  An index to these registers has been prepared by our volunteers, Mike and Gill Couper.

Post Mortem Registers, 1904-1953

Registers of Enquiries About Patients, c.1904-1956

These are particularly useful for tracing the home address of patients and the names of their family and other visitors.

Psychiatric Social Worker’s Case Files, 1935-c.1962

These typescript reports provide much important information about the psychological and family background of particular patients.  Details include name, home address, ward name, reason for admission, name of informant, details of previous mental illness and nature of present condition, family history of mental illness in either parents or siblings, home conditions, father’s occupation and financial means.  Personal details relating to the patient in particular include type of birth, whether breastfed, course of development, early behaviour, later behaviour, schooling and qualifications, employment, interest in sex, health, habits and personality.  Many of the reports also include much personal information on other members of the patient’s family, together with correspondence with the patient and the family.

Ward Report Books, 1952-1983

These comprise daily reports relating to patients and events in a ward.  The forms record the ward temperature, visits by officers, and the number of adults or children in the ward, on leave, at Osborne House in Hastings or in the clinical area.  The names of all staff on duty throughout the day are recorded and details are given of patients having special treatment.  Admissions, discharges, transfers, accidents, seizures, suicide attempts, seclusions and deaths are also recorded.

Staff records, 1893-1989

5 thoughts on “St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, Archives”

  1. stella dunegan says:

    were did all the patients go when st ebbas closed its door??

    1. Paul Jenkins says:

      There are still 40 beds at St Ebbas, the remainder were cared for as part of the Care in the Community.

      1. Anne Larsen says:

        There shouldn’t be anyone still living on the St Ebba’s campus site. . The Government said people with severe autism and severe learning disability should not be cared for away from the wider community on NHS Hospital Trusts Campus sites. There is one house there with a cage around the garden. It hasn’t changed culture since it opened in 1999. People should be living in the wider community in a care home.

  2. Liza Smith says:

    I work at a centre that’s based at St Ebbas, but is now owned by Surrey and Borders. We have homes onsite which house young adults with various disabilities, and mental health issues. They also have an activity centre on site which is used both by people from site accommodation and people from outside the service. It’s all very person centred.

  3. ( Dr ) Maurice Brook says:

    My 68 year old son, mental age about three years, leads a happy and fulfilled life within his capacity at St. Ebba’s. He is part of a community with more social contact than is often the case when placed in a small house outside. The site provides day services, hydro and physio therapy good recreational opportunities, including a wild garden and an all weather playing area. Those living outside in the wider community can come in daily to benefit from the on site provision. Those living on site go outside frequently. The 11 acres of St. Ebba’s provides one of the choices approved by the government in its white paper valuing people.That this type of care is a choice of some thoughtful families can be confirmed by the National Charity RESCARE -The Society for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities and their Families. St. Ebba’s has the potential for further development and could be a model for others, eg., it’s Assessment and Treatment unit especially. Staff quality, training,, supervision and skilled management are essential components of success.

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