St. Andrews Hospital

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St. Andrews Hospital
Opened 1814
Closed 1998
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Corridor Plan
Architect(s) Francis Stone & John Brown
Location Norwich, Norfolk
Alternate Names
  • Norfolk County Lunatic Asylum
  • Norfolk County Asylum
  • Norfolk Mental Hospital


The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum was situated in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew near Norwich. The architects were Francis Stone and John Brown (Norfolk County Surveyors) and Robinson Cornish and Gaymer of North Walsham. The County Asylum was intended specifically for pauper lunatics and was only the second institution of its kind when completed in early 1814. The buildings were originally designed for the reception of 40 male patients in April 1814, followed by female patients in June of the same year. Roughly 70 patients were present on average in the early years. Extensions in 1831 and 1840 allowed this number to double and more substantial additions in the late 1850s as well as the construction of an auxiliary asylum, which was completed in 1881, some 700 inpatients could be accommodated. The auxiliary asylum or annexe is situated to the north of the main buildings, on the other side of Yarmouth Road, connected by a lane that was carried over the main road by a bridge. In April 1889 the institution was re-titled the Norfolk County Asylum, and after its modernization into 'a hospital for mental disorders' (with reorganization into distinct male and female asylums) there was room for more than 1,000 patients.

Patient care was disrupted by the outbreak of WWI, with most of the patients being evacuated to other institutions across eastern England. In 1915 the Norfolk County Asylum became the Norfolk War Hospital for military casualties and when the asylum was re-converted in 1920 it was named Norfolk Mental Hospital although the local use of the alternative, St Andrew's Hospital, was officially recognized from January 1924 onwards. In the period between the two wars the hospital housed more than 1,100 patients. During WWII the hospital was used as a multi-purpose hospital, providing the additional functions of an Emergency Section hospital such as receiving refugees, evacuees and civilian casualties in cleared wards whilst maintaining its complement of mental patients.

From the 1950s onwards - with improved therapies and new medications, the changing perceptions of patients' rights, and increasingly critical assessment of the psychiatric hospital as as an appropriate setting - St Andrew's spent most of its years as an NHS hospital under threat of closure, a long drawn-out process that was ultimately resolved with the securing in 1994 of a separate NHS Trust for mental health care services in Norfolk. The hospital was eventually closed in April 1998. The original grade II listed hospital buildings from 1814, situated to the south of Yarmouth Road, have since been converted into private housing. The complex incorporates a church (in Francis Stone Court), also converted for domestic use. There is no trace of the nearby cemetery which was presumably built over when the hospital became disused (it is still marked on OS maps).

In January 2011 the auxiliary asylum - St Andrew’s House and its 13-acre site - situated north of Yarmouth Road, on the edge of St Andrew’s Business Park that has sprung up around it, has been put on the market by NHS Norfolk, touted as a prime site for development. It was most recently used as offices by the Norfolk Primary Care Trust, now NHS Norfolk, which left in 2007 for more modern premises.