severalls, warley | comparisons

5. Chapels

Religion was a major way of life for the Victorians, and hospital and asylum design reflected their beliefs with large, purpose built Chapels a compulsory part of the complex.

Their placement was always a contentious subject; some architects elected to put them in the grounds, whilst others put them in the main complex.

Designed to hold half the asylumís patients at one time, the flint chapel of this corridor asylum was firmly placed right in the centre of the complex. With its stonework and additional carvings and embellishments, it was a unique space within the buildings. However, when the hospital expanded, it became redundant, replaced with a larger self contained building. At later points in the hospitalís lifetime, additional chapels were built for different faiths, but none matched the opulence of this original Victorian designs.

At Severalls, the situation was reversed, with the main Chapel built in the grounds (complete with stained glass windows including a doctor, nurse and patient). As the hospital gradually wound down in the 1970s and 1980s, this original Chapel was closed, and a room in the main buildings was used for worship.