severalls, warley | comparisons

8. Airing Courts

Designed by the leading gardeners of their time (think Repton and Capability Brown), the Victorians lavished the asylums with landscaped grounds that would make most country house owners jealous.

Closer to the main buildings, the land was parceled up into individual areas, surrounded by iron railings or ha has. These airing courts were the private domain for patients of particular wards; where they could literally take the air for health, enjoyment or just a change of scene.

The airing courts were lost at Severalls when the railings surrounding them were removed as part of the open ward initiatives of the 1960s. The expansive grounds remain, but are likely to be built on.

Old plans showed an extensive formal garden at our corridor asylum, but the expansion of the buildings quickly caused the original gardens to be lost. In the last several years, housing estates have been crammed onto the site, and itís believed that none of the open spaces enjoyed by generations of patients will be preserved.

Below: The original airing courts of the corridor asylum have long gone, and what little remains of the gardens is overgrown and wild. Some of the original garden features at Severalls can still be seen; if you take a bird's eye view.