Saxondale Hospital

1902 - 1988

With interesting ceremony Lady Belper this afternoon laid the corner stone of the new asylum for Nottinghamshire, which is being erected near Radcliffe under the auspices of the County Council. There was a large attendance, including members of the County Council, a meeting which had been held in the morning.

Although, according to the terms of the contract, something like three years will have to elapse before the asylum now being erected by the Nottinghamshire County Council is ready for occupation, we are able, thanks to the courtesy of the architect (Messrs. E. P. Hooley and J. Sander), to give our readers some idea of what the new building, which is to supersede the old structure on the Carlton Road, will look like when finished.

The foundations have already been put in by Messrs. Fish and Sons, of Nottingham, at a cost of about £8,000, and the superstructure, for which Messrs. Pattinson and Sons of Ruskington, Sleaford, are the contractor's, is now being proceeded with. As our readers are aware, the asylum will be about a mile and a half from the railway station at Radcliffe-on-Trent, being situated between the village and Bingham, at the corner of the Cropwell Road.

The site consists of 130 acres, and was purchased from Lord Manvers in 1897 for £6,880. No less than thirty sites were considered, of which twenty-five were visited by members of the committee and the county surveyor. Eventually this number was reduced to four, these being situated respectably at Newark, Thurgarton, Lowdham, and Radcliffe. The four were submitted to the Lunacy Commissioners, who finally fixed on Radcliffe, and certainly the choice was in every way an excellent one.

The site really consists of a plateau sufficiently extensive to make unnecessary any considerable expenditure and levelling or constructing terraces for the building. A fine view of the surrounding country will be obtainable, and the spot also possesses the very important advantage of being easily accessible to the most thickly populated portion of the county.

Of the 130 acres comprising the site, ten will be occupied by buildings and airing courts, and the rest laid out for kitchen gardens, recreation grounds, and pastureland. The asylum will face due south, the total length of the main block being 800' x 450'. Administrative accommodation will ultimately be provided for 600 patients, in addition to the officials, but at present arrangements are being made to accommodate only 450. In the old asylum on the Carlton Road it may be mentioned, there is provision for 350 inmates. In every respect the new asylum will be thoroughly up-to-date. It is to be constructed in what is known as the "continuous block" system, and the main entrance will be from the Cropwell Road. With the exception of the patients and attendants sleeping rooms the whole of the building consists of one-storey.

The central portion is occupied by the administrative buildings, and includes a recreation hall (87' x 47'), kitchens, stores, and offices. The patient's blocks are situated on the south side, those for the females being to the west, and those for the males to the east. There will be a space between the medical superintendents’ house on the west side and the main buildings, the isolation hospital being placed still further to the west.

In the chapel, which will be in the Early Gothic Style, there will be seating room for 360 persons. It will have the floor of pitch-pine blocks, and the roof will also be of pitch-pine, covered with Staffordshire tiles. The workshops and laundry are at the rear of the female section. Several pairs of cottages will be erected for married attendants, and the existing farm buildings will be eventually converted into a farm colony for working patients. As regards the general appearance of the asylum, it may be said that the main block of buildings will be of a plane description. It will be built of brick, with a slate roof, but the entrance block which comprises a committee room and visiting rooms, medical superintendents room, clerks, porters, and waiting rooms, as well as a library and chaplains room, will, with the chapel and medical superintendents house, be of a more ornamental character. These portions are to be faced with pressed bricks and stone dressings. The interior of the patient's wards will have pitch pine dadoes, with plaster above, while all the sanitary annexes, staircases etc., Will be lined with glazed bricks or tiles. It is almost needless to say that the sanitary arrangements will be carried out on the most modern principles. The buildings are to be blighted by electricity, for which a complete plant will be laid down. The heating is on the Plenum system, which is being carried out by Messrs. Ashwell and Nesbit, of Leicester and London, and the water has been laid on from the Nottingham Corporation mains, a continuous fire main having been laid round the whole of the buildings. A force of water is guarantee sufficient to go over the highest point of the asylum, and special fire hydrants will be provided at numerous points, both externally and internally. Nowhere, perhaps, more than in an asylum are precautions necessary against fire, and that the County Asylum the attendants are trained for Fire Brigade purposes.

Amusements, both for patients and attendants, will be provided on a liberal scale. The recreation hall is fitted with a stage and dressing rooms for dramatic performances, and there is also to be a billiard room for the attendants, bagatelle boards being installed in the patient's wards. The contract for the superstructure amounted to £111,436, the total cost for the asylum being £130,000.

Nottingham Evening News, 25th of July, 1899

"Corner Stone Laid"

Main entrance and headquarters (now a restaurant) to the former Saxondale Hospital. Notice the corner stone on the bottom left hand side of the building

Saxondale Hospital