Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Shelton), Shrewsbury


Hospital Name: Royal Shewsbury Hospital (Shelton)
Previous Names: Shrewsbury Hospital (Shelton), Shelton Hospital, Copthorne and Shelton Emergency Hospital, Salop Mental Hospital, Shropshire and Borough of Wenlock Lunatic Asylum, Lunatic Asylum for the Counties of Salop and Montgomery, Shropshire and Montgomeryshire and Wenlock Borough, Shrewsbury and Oswestry Lunatic Asylum, Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Counties and Wenlock Borough Lunatic Asylum, Shropshire and Wenlock Borough Lunatic Asylum
Location: Bicton Heath, Shewsbury
Principal Architect: GG Scott and WB Moffatt
Layout: Corridor
Status: Closed/Derelict
Opened: 1845
Closed: 2012


Before Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Shelton) was constructed, the local Lunatic population were sent to the Kingsland Workhouse. In 1841, a committee was formed to look at the provision of an Asylum for the county. The finding of this study was that Shropshire and the Welsh county of Montgomery should share an institution to help ease the financial burden, which was first was refused. Only to be finally agreed upon in 1846.

In 1843 construction began on a 15 acre plot of land in the parish of St Julian, and would take two years to build. The building was design by George Gilbert Scott (the great grandfather of the architect who design Battersea Power Station and the Red Phone Boxes, Giles Gilbert Scott) and William B Moffat. The Asylum was designed in the Corridor Layout that was prolific at the time, being symmetrical so that males and females could easily be segregated. The total cost of the original building came to ?17,000. The hospital opened on the 18th of March, 1845, with a capacity of 60 patients. But by the opening, the patients requiring treatment had increased to 104. At its peak in 1947, the hospital had 1027 patients. Compared to today, there is less than 200 patients.

Like many of the earlier hospitals, during the first 50 years of its lifetime, the buildings underwent extensive expansion and upgrade. In summary, they are

1848 ? a new male ward was constructed behind the main entrance.

1855/6 ? a further two female and male ward blocks were constructed and opened. 15 acres of farm land and buildings were purchased, making Shelton the second cheapest hospital to operate.

1858 ? A chapel was built behind the main building, an ale house was also added.

1869 ? A steam laundry and adjacent ward were built on the female side of the hospital..

1884 ? The largest of the extension occurred. 5 wards, a superintendents house, extension of the admin offices and the main hall were constructed throughout the site. The laundry and kitchen were extension. A cricket ground was also added to the Asylum land.

1927 ? Villa purchased for the housing of 40 working patients

In 1911 the agreement between Montgomery and Shropshire was dissolved, meaning 150 patients were transferred out of the hospital. The hospital functioned throughout the 20th century, reaching its peak population just after WWII. In 1968, a fire ripped through a female ward, killing 21 patients. With the changing of the Mental Health Acts and treatments, the hospital slowly moved from a long stay hospital, to a more outpatient and care in the community based facility. In 1997 a brand new admission unit was built on the site. There is also a plan to build a new facilty to the north of the site within the next decade, this will allow the trust to move out of their 150 year home and into a modern facilty.

External Photos

Following images taken April 2005:

Internal Photos



3 responses to “Shelton”

  1. Please could you let me know if it is possible to find out if a person was a patient at this hospital? I am searching for information about my father’s half brother. Nothing is known about him but family folk lore says he was “put into an institution”. His name was Walter James Huxley, born in 1908 in Whitchurch, with the family in the 1911 census but not later censuses.
    Thank you.
    Pauline Hadaway

    • Hello Pauline,

      You can try contacting Shropshire Archives via their website ( Please be aware that an ‘institution’ in common terms could also include a public assistance institution/poor law workhouse or a mental deficiency colony amongst others.

  2. Hey thans for the site. My great great grandfather worked as an attendant at Shelton Asylum and most of his ten surviving children went on to be nurses at some time of their lives. They worked at Shelton, Stone, Springfield, Napsbury and Hanwell as well as in Australia and it is so difficult to find out information, so having your site with photos and information so easily available is great. hame so many of these fantastic buildings are being allowed to get run down!

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