Fair Mile Hospital

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Fair Mile Hospital
Construction Began 1867
Construction Ended 1870
Opened 1870
Closed 2003
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Corridor Plan
Architect(s) C.H. Howell
Location Moulsford, Berkshire
Alternate Names
  • Moulsford Asylum
  • Fairmile Asylum


In the 1840s Berkshire County Council made an agreement to share Oxfordshire’s asylum, Littlemore, but by 1867 there was no longer enough space. Berkshire formed a union with the boroughs of Reading and Newbury to build their own asylum close to the village of Moulsford. Moulsford Asylum, which later became Fair Mile Hospital, opened in 1870.

In 1948 Fair Mile and Borocourt became part of the NHS. From this time onwards there were dramatic improvements in medical and non-medical treatments for mental illness. The NHS, the welfare state, and the post-war economic boom also meant that standards of living and general health rose, and many more forms of care and assistance were on offer.

Fair Mile began to use the new ‘physical therapies’ such as electro-convulsive therapy, new drug treatments, and trained psychologists, social workers and therapists. Fair Mile, Borocourt, and a number of general hospitals in the area began to offer a more flexible range of options to suit individual needs, such as outpatient clinics and daycare centres, and the distinctions between mental health care and general health care began to be broken down.

The increasing effectiveness and variety of treatment and care available led to the ‘care in the community’ programme, with former residents of mental hospitals and institutions being moved to smaller homes. In 1993 Borocourt closed, with Fair Mile following in 2003. Patient care is now provided at the newly built Prospect Park Hospital in Reading. [1]