Winterton Hospital, Sedgefield


Hospital Name: Winterton Hospital
Previous Names: County of Durham Asylum, Sedgefield Asylum, Sedgefield Mental Hospital
Location: Old Durham Road, Sedgefield, County Durham
Principal Architects: John Howison, Surveyor to the County of Durham
William Crozier Jr., Surveyor to the County of Durham
Layout: Corridor plan with Pavilion plan annexe
Status: Demolished
Opened:?13th April 1858
Closed: 1st April 1998


A site for the Durham county asylum was purchased in 1855 at Far Winterton to the north of Sedgefield which had been occupied by Well Garth Farm and Winterton Mill. Designed by John Howison, a 300 bed, 3 storey corridor plan asylum, facing south was erected comprising of central administrative block, chapel and superintendent’s quarters surmounted by a clock tower, with male wards to the west, females to the east and services behind. A stewards residence, gas works and a terrace of six cottages for married attendants were located in the grounds with the main entrance gates and lodge erected to the north east. The style used was Elizabethan, built in red brick with white brick dressings and embellished with a distinctive ventilation tower at the end of each wing.

Between 1875-80 a major extension programme with William Crozier Jr. as architect took place, based around a pavilion-plan chronic asylum annexe in Italianate style, to the south west of the grounds, creating space for a further 400 patients and including a centrally sited medical officer’s block and recreation hall. Lodges were placed to the east and west of the drive serving the annexe (known as the Winterton block), with another constructed to serve the original service drive to the north east of the site. A water tower and stables were added to the north of the main asylum with a further six cottages for attendants on Salters Lane. A replacement chapel (dedicated to St. Luke) for 700 inmates was located on the new drive linking the main and chronic asylums was completed for use in 1884.

Additional two storey wings to male and female sides of the main building to increase it’s capacity were followed by a new superintendent’s residence (The Gables) to free up space in the administration block and a cemetery and mortuary chapel on the opposite side of Salters Lane in 1891-3. The removal of Sunderland County Borough patients to their own asylum at Ryhope also freed further space. A new main stores and pair of villas were constructed in 1901, with a further pair following in 1904, with an isolation hospital. A nurse’s residence was built in 1906 on land to the north-east of the female side. of the main asylum. Gateshead patients were removed to new premises in 1914 on the opening of that borough’s asylum at Stannington.

A second major plan of expansion occurred between 1932-4, providing an admission hospital and separate administration block, located in the north west of the site. Lodges to the north-west, west, south west, and south east being rebuilt and officers residences constructed opposite the entrance to the Winterton block. A villa for male patients working on the farm was situated across the fields to the north of the main entrance.

South Shields and West Hartlepool County Boroughs relocated their respective patients to the expanded Gateshead premises at Stannington in 1939. World War II saw the construction of a hutted emergency medical services hospital between the farm villa and main building, which would later develop into Sedgefield General hospital. Both this and the mental hospital were incorporated into the National Health Service on its inception in 1948. At the peak of inpatient numbers in 1954, approximately 2000 patients occupied the hospital.

Under the NHS the main and Winterton blocks were modified and a day/treatment unit, nurse training school, and patients social centre incorporating a library and shop were built within the grounds between 1964 and 1972. The superintendent’s residence was converted to a staff social club. With resettlement taking place the chapel closed and the hospital gradually retracted from the south west with services concentrated in the original building and admission hospital.

Following closure of long stay facilities, the majority of buildings were demolished with the main building and its outbuildings being replaced by new business premises. The Winterton block, gardens department and much of the surrounding grounds have been replaced by modern housing. The lodges, now privately occupied survive to the west, south-west and south-east, as do the two blocks of attendants cottages on Salter’s Lane. The hospital cemetery also remains although the mortuary chapel has been removed. St. Luke’s Chapel is listed Grade II and has been converted to a new usage. Mental health services continued to occupy the admission hospital for some years, but have now been replaced and the buildings cleared. The adjacent Sedgefield general hospital has been demolished leaving two staff residences and the farm villa currently derelict.

External Photos

Internal Photos



31 responses to “Winterton”

  1. i william din ning at winterton worked 1959 trained got rmn 1963 moved as staff nurse at shelton ending up until retirement in cheshire . winterton was place of many happy thoughts and experieces think of lots of the staff and residents until this very daybest wishes too all

    • I’m just trying to find out if s yone knew my sister marion summerson who was a mental nurse in the 50’s and 60’s at the hospital

  2. Searching for information or photos of Eliza Suggett nee Greener who was an inmate from around 1910 to her death in 1949 very little information out there.She was my Grandma.

  3. I was in this place and given electric treatment i am now told this was illegal at the young age of 15 16 years old sufferd ever since told its too late now to claim anything for this as im sure i did not need such drastic treatment think of that place and what happend to me every day of my life now haunts my life

  4. The casebook on Irene Crabtree ‘s file,should be sent to me f.o.c. She was a nurse on the front line helping +seeing to put soldiers,who were fighting in the war!!!to protect us as she was protecting them!!!that is how she ended up in winterdon,Deerfield i am requesting her file,no claims or anything like that!!!so of the ga!only she had had always been,FOR QUEEN+COUNTRY,and always will be,if necessary i will go fown that route

    • We are just a historical reference site, all done in our own free time, we do not have access to any records and thus can only point you in the direction of where they are held.

  5. Has anyone seen a gravestone,in graveyard,bearing the name Irene Crabtree in the winterton graveyard many thanks her grandson joe?

  6. If a patient died there in 1860 would they be buried in the cemetery beside the chapel? I am looking for Mary Dixon she was admitted in May 1859 and dies there in 1860. Strange to think I was a student there and didn’t know a relative had been admitted as a pauper.

    • Quite possibly at that age, it maybe documents a the local archives – if you click on the further info tab you’ll find a link which details where they are.

  7. Letter dated 1.12.1945 from my father to mother. He was Royal Artillery officer invalided at Winterton. He had leg injuries but also an infectious disease and was being rehabilitated. Wondering if Winterton was used as an infectious diseases hospital or for injured officers. Would be grateful for any info.

    • Yes parts of it were repurposed for the war – World War II saw the construction of a hutted emergency medical services hospital between the farm villa and main building, which would later develop into Sedgefield General hospital

    • Hello Gillian
      My great uncle was in the world war 1and he came back with problems from been gassed and he was in and out of Winteron till he died in 1962

  8. My mam was in sedgefield hospital in 1971 she gave birth to twin boys sadly both born sleeping. She didnt get to see them they were both took straight from her.she asked what would happen to them and they said they would be burried in the hospital mam wanted to find them befor she died but she never would i go on at trying to find them please any info id be very greatfull thankyou

    • Hi I was born there with my twin brother in 1966 my mam was Eileen hennessey and my dad Frank Hennessey we lived at Quarrington Hill next to the butchers shop front St in a flat

  9. My mother had a lost a lot of blood after having a very early C section in 1939. Following the loss of one twin she was sent to Winterton Hospital with what these day we would call Post Natal Depression (PND). After a year or more she was sent home and after a further 2 years she woke up at my grandparents home in the afternoon following a nap and a thunderstorm and asked where she has been.
    She went on to have 2 more children of which I am the youngest.

    • I am searching for two people one I know was in Winteron his name was Joseph Kasher Ward 1888-1962 and as far as I know he died in there.
      The second person is Frances Elizabeth Armstrong(nee Edgar) I think she was in there in 1911 she died in 1918 at Sedgfield I was wondering how I would find out more information about them

  10. Looking for information on my great grandmother Mary Ann Parkin was admitted in 1862 till she passed away in 1870 in there
    Kind regards Paula

  11. I’m trying to research an Aunt who was a resident of Winterton Hospital although I’m unsure as to the dates… She was Edith Nicholson nee Egglestone and lived at Bearpark in the 30s and 40s …I’m having problems wading through the national archives; as i’m resident in Australia..thanks George

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