Stone House

Stone House Hospital, Dartford


Hospital Name: Stone House Hospital
Previous Names: City of London Asylum, City of London Mental Hospital
Location: Cotton Lane, Dartford, Kent
Principal Architect: James Bunstone Bunning, Surveyor to the City of London with additions by Andrew Murray
Layout: Linear corridor plan
Status: Closed, awaiting rdevelopemnt
Opened: 16th April 1866
Closed: 2005


The City of London Asylum? was constructed following the Commissioners of Lunacy?s insistence that the city of London provided its own asylum for pauper lunatics, who had previously been sent to Bethlem Asylum in Lambeth. The Commissioners discouraged the use of voluntary asylums for pauper patients and despite the comparatively low number of such patients in the City area, a site at Stone, near Dartford was purchased and the building erected for 220 patients.

The original asylum building comprised of the administration building to the north, with workshops, boiler house and main stores to the west, and laundry and sewing room to the east to the east. The south front was occupied by the recreation hall combined with chapel above, flanked by male and female ward blocks. Between the administration block and hall stood the prominent tower concealing?the boiler house chimney. The hospital cemetery was located on the north side of Bow Arrow Lane. Later additions included an isolation hospital (known as the cottage hospital) at the corner of Cotton and Bow Arrow Lanes, followed by a a new detached chapel opposite the admin block consecrated in may 1901. Further additions consisted of enlarged laundry and workshop developments combined with a laundry workers block all on the west side of the main complex. Two single storey sick and infirm wards were also built at either end of the South frontage. A nurses accommodation block was added during 1909-10.

Declining numbers of pauper admissions led to excess space being used to take out of area cases and later private, fee paying patients (from 1892). The remunerative nature of this work allowed further additions around the turn of the century. From 1924 the asylum was renamed the City of London Mental Hospital, then later became Stone House hospital on transferal to the National Health Service in 1948. Prior to transfer to NHS over half of the population of nearly 600, were private patients. Only 50 patients were actually from the City of London, with the remainder coming from other authorities.

The hospital catchment area later took in local patients, from Dartford and Gravesend districts. In the late 1980?s, an area of open land to the north east of the site, alongside Bow Arrow Lane was developed as Learning disabilities villas to accelerate the closure of the nearby Darenth Park Hospital.?The Archery House unit was developed on land to the north, this provided some accommodation for Darenth Park relocated patients. The main hospital, staff residences and chapel survived largely unaltered but run down after closure but have since been sympathetically converted to housing.

External Photos

Internal Photos

Photos courtesy of Adam?Pearson



3 responses to “Stone House”

  1. Very interesting, although I was born in Dartford, I never knew the hospital grounds were so large.

    From a young age, I accompanied my Mum visiting my brother there. Over the years , he attended the day centres, and on several occasions had to be an inpatient at the hospital.

    As a child visiting the hospital it was scary, as the patients didn’t look right. My Mum took me to visit my brother in order to cheer him up.

    As we get older and there’s less stigma regarding mental health, I now realise that many of the patients would have been heavily medicated, and were very ill.

    I remember in later years, probably the 70s , my brother telling us that he’d had the Electric Shock Treatment, and this was carried out in the tower of the hospital.

    These hospitals came a long way from the original asylums, and would have been involved in some ground breaking and essential studies of mental health, which has been much needed.

    I enjoyed the information and the photos, the architecture was unique and quite pretty in many aspects, but unfortunately as its use as a mental hospital, the architecture was overshadowed.

  2. My mum had several stays at Stone House and was given electric shock treatment .I remember walking down Invicta Road from the 96 bus stop then along that long corridor ( it felt cold and oppressive) , not knowing what mood mum would be in when we got to her ward .Unhappy memories.

  3. I have just found out I had an aunt that was there in I think 1920s she died at 33. I would love to find any paper work on her. I already have her death certificate. But it was in Watford. Did this home have a place in Watford.
    Sorry so many questions to ask and unsure who I can ask. Thank you

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