Hellingly Hospital through the years
Hellingly Hospital. The East Sussex Asylum that opened in 1902 and closed its doors to patients in 1994. It sat nestled in the East Sussex countryside, over looking the downs in a state of utter ruin and close to falling down. When the NHS finally moved out they performed a stellar task of clearing our and scrubbing the hospital of anything that revealed its past. Only a few people we know can remember it being anything but a ruin; and that is only because they were local to the buildings and can remember it closing.
So imagine our elation when someone we know got in contact and said they had a huge wealth of Hellingly plans and photographs that they would like us to see? It was a little unexpected to be honest as historical information was a little scarce on the old buildings. This was a number of years ago now and we had totally forgot about them. That was until we were rummaging through our hard drive looking for something completely unrelated and stumbled into their folder.
If you search around the internet looking for historical information and imagery relating to the Victorian Asylums, little is to be found beyond a few specialist websites that are slowly ceasing to exist. There are a number of books that have been published, but for every 100 pages of in-depth information, you get a single image. This is something we are hoping to that County Asylums will change and our aim is to provide up to date historical information on the Victorian County Asylums system and provide as many photographs as possible. A picture says a thousand words and are invaluable. Imagine our surprise wen handed a CD with over 300 historical photographs of the Hellingly Hospital, ranging from circa 1910 until the hospital had closed. We thought it would be interesting to match some of the photos we have taken in 2008/2009, with some of the old photos we were given to try and illustrate how the hospital used to be. We have tried to match the images as closely as possible; in some instances the ward may not be the exact same ward, but it should provide a picture of what it was like.