cane hill | walking the perimeter

The heart of Cane Hill, the chapel, looms above the buildings around it. You can just see the stained glass windows behind the bush in the center of the picture.

I've been in the chapel and it's still in excellent condition.

Behind the chapel, which you can't see in this picture, is the Main Hall, an even bigger building, which, sadly, has been totally destroyed.

Architecturally, Cane Hill is very different to Netherene, the other asylum built five miles down the road. Netherene was more spread out with separate water town and chapel. And as the site is redeveloped, these buildings can be converted for new uses.

Alas, for Cane Hill is very compact by comparison, and everything is forced together in one uniform lump. Great for urban exploration, but for re-use, or conversion, then itís a difficult proposition.

Giving names to faces, from left to right, we have the Admin offices and the Patients Library. Then there's the gap, by the chapel, where patients were admitted (they didn't go in through the front door). After the gap, we have the Social Workers' hang-out and then Olave/Queens starts.

2009: Netherne was built as a replacement for Cane Hill after the later was transferred to the control of the newly formed London County Council in 1888. After some juggling and swapping of various asylums to make up for the shortfall, Surrey was still found lacking in capacity, and a new asylum was built five miles down the road to make up the shortfall. Netherne was built almost twenty years after Cane Hill to the dominant echelon plan by G. T. Hine.

The fates of both buildings were very different. Netherne was purchased by a private developer who converted many of the former hospital buildings to homes. Cane Hill was transferred to the governmentís generation quango (then English Partnerships) who demolished as much of the site as they could.

View west towards the Chapel with the western end of the Administration Block on the left and the end of Olave/Queens on right. © Simon Cornwell 2002