Stanley Royd Hospital

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Stanley Royd Hospital
Opened 1818
Closed 1996
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Corridor Plan
Architect(s) Watson & Pritchett of York
Location Wakefield
Alternate Names
  • West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum


The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum (later, Stanley Royd Hospital) was sited in Wakefield, on East Moor, and Samuel Tuke gave advice about its workings and plans. It opened on 23 November, 1818. William and Mrs Ellis were the superintendent and matron from 1818 to 1831.It was a large establishment, and was repeatedly expanded. It was under the control of the West Riding Magistrates; and the initial land, buildings, and furniture cost about £100 000. CC Corsellis, MD, was an early resident physician and director and often had under his care about 450 lunatics. Henry Maudsley, born in Settle, in the Yorkshire dales, was briefly the director; he was the most esteemed psychiatrist of the day, and founded the Maudsley Hospital. Slater in 1864 noted its expansion:

“The asylum is situated about a mile north east of the town. Another building was erected in 1849, which far surpasses the old one, both in size and architecture; the whole combined are calculated to give accommodation to upwards of a 1000 patients.”

The hospital had many clinical clerks, clinical assistants, and physicians who attended the sick. By 1 January 1844, there were 433 patients—all paupers. The Stephen Beaumont Museum of Mental Health was in the hospital until it closed in 1995; it was moved to Fieldhead Hospital. It relates the history of the asylum and contains many exhibits. In 1948 a report on Wakefield was made by a medical officer to the new Leeds Regional Hospital Board. It described:

“The old gaol-like buildings at Wakefield are gloomy and depressing and the galleries where many patients aimlessly spend so much of their time are deficient in natural lighting. The accommodation can best be described as austerely pre-Dickensian, falling far short of usually acceptable standards . . .”

A major salmonella outbreak at Stanley Royd Hospital in 1984 led to the deaths of 14 psycho-geriatric patients and the infection of nearly 400 others. The hospital closed in 1996. The asylum had enjoyed highest repute founded on care and its renowned researchers. The most eminent were Sir David Ferrier and Sir James Crichton-Browne.


The following video created by Mark Davis is an interesting look into the Stanley Royd Hospital along with a bit of its history. There are a lot of pictures and films within the video from when the hospital was active.