I would like to contact anyone who might have known my grandmother Ida Bardilli, who I have discovered spent the majority of her adult life in Severalls. She entered there a few years after the birth of my father (1913), who was born out of wedlock. I do not yet know why Ida was sent there. Perhaps because she was perceived as an unbalanced woman for having an illigitimate child!
I used to work on Kirby Ward as a cleaner until my late Husband had a stroke ....I did go to other wards though ...
THe picture I am referring to in my previous blog is Slide 29 of 43. Female patients an a ward-1960s.
I believe the lady in the foreground of this picture is my grandmother, a long term patient (from 1920s to 1980,s.
She was known as either Emily Underwood or possibly Clara. A very sad story about her incarceration in this institution. An essex girl, her family, husband Ernest and two smallchildren lived in New Zealand and it was on a trip back to Essex that she was commited to Severalls. After many years it was bring impossible her back to NZ and over time the family lost contact. However in the eighties she was once again found and her two children and many grandchildren were able to meet her. Found a most lovely woman, gentle and loving, quite well but institutionalised as would be expected.With consultation with her children in NZ she was moved from Severalls to the lovely small Eastham Home at Woodham Ferrers and here she spent happy days in a most caring environment.She passed away in 1999, aged 103. Her NZ family felt great sadness that with age against her, she could not return to NZ and to a family that were by and large strangers to her. Is there anyone out there that can verify that this picture is indeed our Emily Clara.
My mother worked as a clinical nurse tutor in 1980's. We used to go to the Social Club as a family. I also did my general nurse training at the Colchester Institute, which was based at Severalls. I have very fond memories of the hospital. From what I saw, both the medical and mental health patients were well looked after. Yes, it was an institution, and yes, patients may have been institutionalised if they were there long term. However, they were cared for, and there was a strong sense of community. Patients were able to work if they were capable, and had a sense of purpose and belonging. I wonder how many people fall through the net in the community these days? The grounds are beautiful - a safe haven for patients to walk in. My friend was married at the church when we did our training. It was a wonderful occasion. Many colleagues lived in hospital houses which still surround the hospital. Again, this built a very strong community, and it also provided affordable housing for hospital workers. I remember the smell of food floating through the corridoors at mealtimes, the smell of disinfectant where the cleaners mopped the floors. The sound of music drifting from the staff club. The Christmas Pantomime was always a success - played by the staff who had an enormous spirit of fun. The patients and the staff and their families looked forward to it every year.
It is so sad to see the haunting photographs of the old buildings in such a state of ruin. In it's time, it looked splendid. I thought I would take some time to say something positive, as that was my experience.
My grandmother Elizabeth [Lizzie] Brown was a patient here from 1942? till her death aged 91 in June 1958. In her latter years at least she was on Ward A. I remember visiting the hospital to collect her for Christmas & on Sundays with my mother, but I was never allowed in. I was 15 when she died. I have often wondered what it was really like for her. My understanding is that she was badly affected by the blitz in London
Frederick James Smith died in Severalls Hospital in 1941. He was the Colchester Coroner until relieved of duties due to insanity. I would be interested to know more about his time at Severalls as all the people who knew him are now dead. My daughter is his great granddaughter and would appreciate any information about him for her family history. Thank you.
I beliveve my Great Aunt was a Patient here for many years, I think she died in approx 1978? Her name was Edith Wilson, she was my Grandfathers youngest Sister.
My great great aunt was a patient up until her death in 1916, is there anywhere you can access records id love to know more about her
thank you for the information to investigate further my relative Robert William Beech. He was admitted in about 1926 when he was 20 years, and was resident still in 1953 when he died at 46 yrs . If anyone knew him or has any information about those years please let me know. my family now live in australia, but we and our english family would like to know more.
Hi Does anyone remember a Dorothy Harp. not sure if she died here in 1971. all i know that it was Colchester, Essex?
Hi, does anyone remeber my mum Carole Brook who was in Severalls during the 80's and early 90's. Only she died 8yrs ago and there's so much I would like to know.
I remember spending a lot of time with her as a very small child in the grounds of Severalls, especially the Chapel garden outsid the Alpha building. Im researching Severalls as much as I can and am trying to get as many photos of the hospital and the grounds around that sort of time. I would b grateful if anyone could help.
Hi does anyone remember my mum Christine Ablett who was in Severalls in the 1970s, she would have been in her 30`s, she also went to havengore stanway to live for a while, sadly she died 1983.
Does anyone remember my grandfather who was a patient in Severalls during the 40's
Does any one remember my mum mrs katheleen wharton (kay) she was in severalls myland court through most of the 1960s. she sadley died in 1973. she would have been in her forties when she was in hospital. she was rehabilitated in havengore stanway and was given a flat in greenstead estate.
During my time as a cadet, student and staff nurse 1956-1962 I can only recall a few names of other staff members, Colin Hogarth, George Joseph, John Goodlad, Mr Gordon (insulin therapy unit, ward 14) Dave Cawcutt,Asst Matron Norah Collins, Jock Tinto, taffy jones, Mr Swift, Horace Kniveton Chief nurse. anyone out there have ony recollections,
My grandfather Alexander Fyfe worked at Severalls Farm when he was a young man. Later when in his 80's he became depressed and was a day patient at Severalls Hospital in the early 1980s.
Regarding George Woods
He was a tutor about 1971 - he was there before and after that date - but he passed away from bowel cancer (I believe). Some of the his students monitor other Severalls sites - perhaps they have more info. I have no info on his family.
From personal experience, he was a nice person and is missed by many students who were not family but whom he assisted during their years of study at Severalls.
Its a pity that good people disappear.
my grand uncle died here in 1941 but I dont know any details as I was told at the ERO that patients files were destoyed,so I dont know when he was addmitted can anyone help me
For some unknown reason, we have a large number of postcards, probably from students, addressed to a George A Wood, Psychiatric Nursing Tutor at Severalls, around 1978, 1983. These should be given to his family. Do you have an address? The address on some of the postcards is 7 Hugh Dixon Road, Colchester, but that it is not in the telephone book under Wood. Thank you.
INFORMATION & RECORDS RELATING TO STAFF & PATIENTS:
Thanks to everyone who have left messages and e-mails.
For anyone who is looking for information relating to Family Relatives of Staff & Patients at Severalls Hospital, please see below:-
The Essex Records Office holds a lot of information from the Hospital, and they might also hold Staff / Patient Records. I do know that they have some Patient-related information, however this is closed for Public viewing for 100 years. I believe that the ERO do consider individual requests, if, for example, you are researching a Family Member / Relative. For more information, please see the below links.
SEAX (online Archive Search):- http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/default.asp
With SEAX, you'll need to obtain a Readers Ticket if you are intending to order any documents for viewing.
Another possible source of information could be the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.....
Hope this has helped, and all the best with your search.
Hi, I'am seeking any information on two people that worked there during the war, WW2. One is Dorothy Belinda Winifred English, and Kathleen Pullen 'nee' Woodcock. Service records, ets or where i might be able to find them. Thankyou.
hello i descovered this site as i was doing some research into background of severalls hospital as my brother was a patient from 1960 to 1970 i was wondering if there are any photos of that period of time of patients and the hospital hoping there is, as we have nothing to remember my brother by
Are there any records of inmates between 1911 and 1957. My great uncle was there for most of his adult life and died at Severall aged 72. He was miles away from his family. My father also suffered with mental health problems, but managed to raise 4 successful children and enjoy his granchildren. Unfortunately, because of the stigma of metal problems in those times, I believe his family never saw Frank again. Thanks goodness things have changed!
I trained at Severalls from 1967 until I left in 1976.I met my wife at the hospital who was Dr Fox's secretary.This website brings back many memories.
does anyone know the names and where severalls hospital are/were
Hi its a shame to see Severalls in such a poor state of repair. I have many fond memories of the hospital. I work there between 1973 and 1985 Maninly on Maxwell-Jones,Fleming,Alexander and Duncan ward.
I continued nursing until retiring last year. I have from time to time longed for the camaraderie i found whilst at severalls.
Thanks for your interest in Severalls Hospital. Apart from a few Mental Health buildings still in use closest to Boxted Road, as well as Chestnut Villa, the majority of the Hospital buildings have been closed more than 13 years, and these buildings are fenced-off. It might be worth you contacting the North Essex NHS Trust who currently own the buildings & land (although normally access is not given). All the best with your Project!
hi,im doing an art project at college and want to represent mental health as my project so wondering are visitors allowed in the building to take photographs ? xx
thank you so much for the old photographs and all the videos fantastic website and im glad your keeping this fantastic place alive im researching into the full history of the place and im hoping to take some of my own video and photos and do a before and after look
keep up the very good work
Thank you for getting in touch & for your kind comments. Comments are always welcome (especially positive ones!)
Please follow this link to the "FORUM" section of this website, then select "General Discussion" and "Medical Records", which should give you all the information to get in contact with the Essex Records Office in Chelmsford. -I hope that you manage to find some information about your Relative.
I have been having a good look at your website, brilliant. I have been researching a distant relative, (the first wife of my Great Grandad and have discovered that she died in Severalls in 1917. I am wondering if you know of any patient records 1913-17 that I could access. I do not know when/why she was admitted but I do know her name and age.
A few of the Photographs have now been re-named. Thanks to Pete Cracknell for pointing these out! :o)
As a side note: if interested in Asylums in general, I'd heartily recommend Pete's website "County Asylums"
A book on Severalls Hospital has got to be a good idea -only aware of one other "official" book, and that is Diana Gittens "Madness in it's Place", published back in 1998. I wish you well with this project.
SMH Admin :o)
Hi, the website is brilliant. well done u! Im trying to find the words to write about Severalls for a history book, and its so brilliant to see pictures of the hospital when it was up and running and not empty and being torn apart. the pics are brilliant :D
Interesting to hear about your recent visit. Thank you for your comments & I wish you well with your Studies. Hoping to get some more updates on the website soon, including some more older photographs.
Hi, i went to take some pictures here a few weeks back, i found this site since (looking to do some research into the asylum for my degree) noticed this photo and realised that i walked into this exact building! amazing to see a photo of all those years ago, and to think that i was just there.
Really nice site, keep working on it, would love to see it finished.
Many thanks for leaving a message. Very interesting to hear about your Family connection with Severalls Hospital. More old photographs will be added, hopefully soon. If you or your Family have any photos and / or information related to the Hospital, and would like to see this included in the website, please feel free to get in touch. Thanks again.
Just discovered that my grandmother was a nurse at Severalls around 1937 and so this hospital all of a sudden has a whole new meaning - poignant reminders of a past long gone.
Hi Rhonda :o)
Thanking you kindly for your support!
Thank you for the information relating to this Photograph. I shall add this information to the Photo shortly. Also, it's planned to create at "Then & Now" page at a future date. Once this has been done, perhaps you'd like to add your more recent 2006 photo of this for comparison?
I am proud of what you have done so far. Keep it up
The Barrett-Lennard ward photo is slide 11 in particular. I have found that i took an exact replica in 2006!
This is Barrett-Lennard Ward (Ward 11), in particular the dormitory section above Fleming ward.
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