warley hospital | the essex county lunatic asylum
Last update: 23|08|10
Warley Hospital

ward #3 ground floor
general orientation

General view of ward #3 ground floor

Ward #3 from the 1853 plan (coloured)

ward #3 ground floor
detailed pictures

The design of the wards was largely uniform across the asylum with little differentiation for class of patient. As was typical for a building of the corridor planform, a ward comprised of a single central gallery with a single bay window along one side (these spaces doubled up as dormitories on first floors), day and dining rooms appended to either end, with single rooms, stores and attendant rooms along the opposing side.

Lavatories and bathrooms were also associated with each ward but these were not housed in separate sanitation towers (as this was a later construct and didnít start appearing until the 1860s and 1870s).

A contemporary description further underlined the identical design of the wards: "Each gallery contains two rooms for attendants, so arranged as to overlook the dormitories, a store room, scullery, bath room and lavatory, all well fitted, and a supply of hot and cold water is available at all times, night and day. Convenient to the wards are two large rooms, one on the male, the other on the female side, used as dining rooms for the attendants, also a large amusement room."

One notable feature of the interiors of some of the wards was the curious curved ceilings with "honeycombed" textures. This was Victorian fire-proofing (not sound dampening as some have guessed): it wasnít a popular feature (probably being expensive and time consuming to build) and was only used at the Second Middlesex County Asylum (Colney Hatch, 1851), the First Essex County Asylum (Warley,1853) and the First Lincoln County Asylum (St Johnís, 1852).

interior: view north-west
The hospital wards are given identifying numbers. This is simply the order in which I encountered them and doesnít correspond to any number or name they may have been given during the working life of the hospital.

Ward #3 was the most northerly ward of the original asylum.

Like many wards in the hospital, a new dividing wall had been built across the wardís day room/corridor at its mid-point.

The separate day room (on the left) also retained a fire-place and decorative carvings at the base of the archway.

interior: view south-east
Some of the arches led to complex arrangements of rooms and doors.

interior: view east
Although most of the side doors led to single rooms, a few large rooms wouldíve been used as kitchens, dispensaries, store rooms or staff rooms.

interior: view south-east
This view was taken looking back along the corridor and revealed the different number of door styles used in the ward. The doors on the other half of the divide were even older.

detail of individual room door
The older style doors still retained their spy-holes so staff could monitor the patients.

detail of ward layout
Some artefacts were left behind including a plan of the ward showing the division and use of the ward space when the hospital closed.

patient cutting
A patientís cuttings were also still taped to the interior of his single room.

detail of ward door
One of the doors leading to a communal area.

interior: view north
The second half of the ward was much like the previous half, but featured more single rooms.

detail of blackboard: view west
The black board hadnít been cleaned and still featured the final games (probably table tennis) played by the patients on the ward.

view north
Most of the doors in this part of the ward were original and still included their spy holes.

view north-west
The sanitation block was accessed via this day room which had been used as a dormitory just before the hospital closed.

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