The Lincolnshire County Lunatic Asylum was built in 1852 in a grand Italian style. set in 120 acres comprising gardens, farmland and a burial ground.
Originally there was space for 250 patients but over the years the hospital was expanded, in keeping with the original style designed by the acrhitects Hamilton and Thomas Percy. At Its peak the capacity was over 900 patients.
During this period conditions such as depression and post natal depression were classed as a mental illness and the patients were treated the same as someone with schizophrenia. Brain surgery was believed to cure mental illness and was commonly used in asylums such as this. Also as shocking as it may sound elctro shock therapy was of popular use.
One feature that stands out throughout the building is the honeycomb vaulted ceiling. It is of common belief that the honeycomb pattern is a form of sound proofing, to stop the sound of inmates screaming down the long corridors. These hospitals were nowhere near as horrific as people imagine. The honeycomb style ceiling was a type of fireproofing incorporated into the buildings construction.
During WWII the patients were transferred to other nearby establishments as the site was turned into an emergency hospital.
Administration of the hospital passed to the National Health Service in 1948. By the early 1960s it was known by its final name of St John's Hospital.
St John's Hospital itself was closed in December 1989 with the remaining patients transferred to other establishments.
The site has mostly remained empty since. The site is Grade III listed other than the water tower which was brought down in July 2014. Work has been ongoing on the site for a few years now and some of the buildings have been converted into flats. It seemed to pause for a while but I believe it is in full swing again as I write this.
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