cane hill | walking the perimeter

The windows are barred. This was the maximum-security ward.

A seasoned explorer of Cane Hill adds:

"Some windows are barred, and if you look carefully, there are also some very very small windows, which would have been cells. We went in a few on the first ward block off a large room. The doors were heavy wood and had sliding hatches in them, prison stylee. We never found padded cells though, but they do exist.".

Welcome to the Browning/Blake wards (the first name mentioned is the upstairs ward). Apart from the bars, the plans show the usual ward configuration: large day room (the bay windows as shown), kitchen, baths, clinic, offices and individual rooms.

See also: December 2002.

2009: The superstition of barred windows and padded cells finally emerges in the narrative. I can forgive my fanciful imagination as I was still ignorant about the function of the buildings, and the changes in care which took place in the asylums: there were no dungeons and no heavily barred windows at Cane Hill.

There were padded cells but most were removed in the 1960s when drug treatments replaced the need to quickly move a fitting patient into an enclosed padded space. If padded cells did remain, then Wards B (Epileptic) and Wards D (Acute) would’ve been the best place to look. But no-one ever discovered any.

Detail of the day room windows of Browning/Blake. © Simon Cornwell 2002