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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 96571

Map Reference SJ06NE

Grid Reference SJ0509665097

Unitary (Local) Authority Denbighshire

Old County Denbighshire

Community Denbigh

Type of Site HOSPITAL


Period Post Medieval

Site Description The North Wales Counties Lunatic Asylum is the most important purpose-built mental hospital in the principality and ranks as one of the most sophisticated and pioneering of the early Victorian asylums in Britain. Plans for the asylum were first discussed in 1842, three years before the Lunacy Act of 1845 made the provision of such buildings mandatory at county level. In March 1843 the Committee for Management instructed Thomas Fulljames (of Fulljames and Waller, architects of Gloucester) to produce plans for an asylum for 200 patients. The building was constructed between 1846 and 1848 at a final cost of £63,906 15s 4 and a-half pence (£63,906.77p); the contractor is recorded as a Mr Hawke. The thirteen acre plot of land was given by Joseph Ablet Esq and the money raised by public subscription. It was stressed on opening in December 1848, that the asylum was intended 'not only for the reception of the pauper lunatics of the counties in union, but also for the admission of a limited number of patients of the middle and upper ranks of society'.
The building was skillfully designed in accomplished Tudorbethan style, as a U-shaped complex with male and female patients strictly segregated. It is built from limestone ashlar with bathstone dressings and slate roofsand has 2-stage grouped chimneys, some with octagonal stacks. The setting included a formal approach avenue with screen walls and gates, and 'pleasure grounds and gardens, tastefully laid out and highly cultivated.' In addition a series of 'airing courts' were constructed, in the form of walled garden enclosures where the patients were required to take regular exercise. The hospital was extended by Lloyd Williams and Underwood, architects of Denbigh, in 1867. The extensions effectively closed the open rear of the primary U-planned quadrangular section and also provided two twin-bayed 'villa' wards to the sides. Much of this work was demolished or incorporated into new ranges in a vast phase of building works carried out between 1903 and 1908.

It is listed Grade II* for its special importance as an exceptionally fine and pioneering example of early Victorian asylum architecture, recognised as the best example of its kind in Wales.

Source:- Cadw listed buildings, NJR 22/12/2008

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