Previous Names: Second Surrey County Asylum
Location: Knaphill, Brookwood, Surrey
Principal Architect: Charles Henry Howell
Opened: 17th June 1867
In 1893 Howell retired from his position as County Surveyor and Consultant to the Lunacy Commissioners, GT Hine took over his role with the Commissioners and Frank G Howell succeeded his position with the county. This saw the site be extended again in 1903, within this extension saw the annexe be extended further and the smaller chapel being demolished to make was for a much larger chapel next to the mortuary. A fire tower (more commonly known as a water tower) being built on the previous site of the chapel. This chapel is very similar to the one found at Cane Hill. By this time the patient population had risen to nearly 1300.
In 1919, the Asylum changed its name to Brookwood Mental Hospital, along with many other Asylums throughout the country. During this time, and up until its closure, the hospital continued to expand and develop. By the end of the 1930’s, the nurses accommodation were built to the north and many recreation, therapy and general buildings were also built around the site. During World War Two, along with Hospitals such as Horton and Park Prewett, Brookwood was commandeered as an emergency war hospital. Annually, the hospital held sports days and fairs within the grounds which became very popular events with the local people. Since the Asylum opened, plays were held within the buildings that were also open to the public. When the care in the community act came into power in the mid 1980’s, there were plans to close as early 1986. However, this did not happen and the Hospital eventually closed in 1994.
Since then the site has been extensively developed, the area surrounding the gas works has been redeveloped into a super market, Florence House and its attached acute ward have been converted to luxury apartments. Sadly the original hospital building was demolished, and the locally listed Water Tower was also taken down. The chapel has been converted into a Buddhists Monks Temple, with the mortuary being converted to the Monks residence; whilst the recreation hall is currently being used as a crèche. The records available for the hospital are very extensive and can be viewed at the Surrey History Centre.