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 St. Augustine's Hospital - Chartham Downs - August 2010

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PostSubject: St. Augustine's Hospital - Chartham Downs - August 2010   Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:55 am

The Current Site:
Known as the Oak House site at St Augustine’s Hospital in Chartham lies the disused remains of some of the buildings. The majority of the hospital was converted to houses but the remains are safeguarded for business and/or leisure development.
The St Augustine’s Hospital development brief was approved in December 1990 and the current local plan by Canterbury District Council began in 2001 and will run until 2011.

The site is approximately four miles from Canterbury and located to the east of St Augustine’s housing development on the eastern fringe of Chartham. As mentioned above, the housing estate was constructed on the main hospital site in the 1990’s. The site has amazing views across the Chartham Downs and is in an area of natural beauty.

General History:
(taken from http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=2006-mht3&cid=0#0)
The first publicly-run lunatic asylum in Kent was situated at Barming Heath, near Maidstone. By June 1872 it was clear to the County Quarter Sessions that one asylum was insufficient for the needs of the county. As a result, the Kent New Asylum Committee was constituted. After a short period, the Committee purchased 120 acres on Chartham Downs near Canterbury, with the intention of building an asylum to serve the whole of East Kent. The site was described by the Commissioners in Lunacy as being in 'so bleak and elevated a position, exposed on all sides'. The site was approved by the Commissioners only after intervention by the Secretary of State.
The first asylum buildings were designed by John Giles and Gough and built between 1872 and 1875. On 5th April 1875, the first patients (East Kent patients housed at Barming Heath) arrived at the Kent County Lunatic Asylum, Chartham Downs. Staff in the first year consisted of a medical superintendent, sixty nurses, a chaplain, a clerk/steward and ten tradesmen. These were overseen by a Committee of Visitors formed by the County Lunatic Asylum Committee of Quarter Sessions.
On the removal of many of the administrative powers of Quarter Sessions in 1889, responsibility for managing the asylum passed to Kent County Council. From 1920, the managing committee of the county council was the Kent County Mental Hospitals Committee.
With the formation of the National Health Service in 1948, Kent County Council was absolved of responsibility for the hospital. Renamed St. Augustine's, the hospital, along with St. Martin's Hospital (formerly Canterbury City Mental Hospital) was run by the St. Augustine's Hospital Management Committee (later Hospitals Executive Committee). This committee was responsible to the Canterbury and Thanet Health District, later Authority.
The hospital closed in 1993 and redevelopment of the site was started in 1997.
History and Development of the Site
1872 Site purchased for £6,236
5th April 1875 The first patients arrived
1875 The gas works were in operation
1876 Accommodation had been built which could accommodate 870 patients at a cost of £211,852
1887 A twenty bed sanatorium was added (later used as a night nurses home)
1893 A new mortuary was built
1898 Hawthorn, May and Hazel blocks were opened
1924 New blocks were added
1910 Staff recreation rooms were added
1929 An operating theatre was built
1931 A new nurses home was built (later named Godfrey House)
1938 The mortuary was redesigned
1939 Admission block and two convalescent villas were built at a cost of £60,000. These were taken over in 1940 and used as a military hospital.
1948 A report on the inception of the National Health Service listed a total estate of 300 acres, 200 of which were under cultivation and 73 residences for staff
Records of Individual Patients
Patients from East Kent usually came to St. Augustine's, with a few exceptions. From 1902, Canterbury Borough had its own Mental Hospital (later St. Martin's Hospital). Prior to this, Canterbury Borough patients were reported as being in various location including Fisherton House, Wiltshire and in 1896 at Derby County Asylum. Often, St. Augustine's took patients from surrounding counties who could not be housed in local asylums. This was particularly true of the London boroughs. During World War I, patients from a number of counties were transferred to Chartham as a result of their usual hospital being requisitioned by military authorities. These patients are listed in separate admission and discharge books. The hospital was also part of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) during World War II. Records of the EMS in this hospital are not held.

The explore:
After sitting around twiddling my thumbs and trying to think of something to do I thought of this place. I had visited it a few years back with Knox and Frosty but after entering one building and seeing the damaged decided it hadn’t been worth the drive and left somewhat disappointed. With this in mind I thought that maybe I hadn’t given the place a fair chance so got Wevsky on the blower, picked him up and off we went. After my directions of the previous visit had failed we spent a while driving round the rather posh estate feeling quite out of place until I remembered where the hell we were going. This place is quite well tucked away and surrounded by fields and woodlands such as Beech toll and Rabbit wood.
This was nice and relaxed. The hospital in all its decay has some beauty to it and a slightly spooky feeling. As you walk the corridors and wards you can hear noises as the building slowly decays further. We spent a total of about 3 hours walking round the four remaining buildings which were all easily accessible and flooding with light as the sun slowly began to set.

Oak House
Oak house was built as specialist wards for spinal injury patients. The inter-war, single story hospital unit is slightly sunk below ground level and was constructed in 1939. The majority of the building is single storied but the central part of the western elevation is two storey.


1. Exterior


2. Courtyard


3. Ward 1


4. Ward 2


5. Ward 3


6. Canteen


7. Trolley


8. Kitchen


9. Piano


10. Lonely Table


11. Corri-door!


12. Corridor and one of many fire hoses


13. Another corridor (there are lots)


14. (Obligatory) Wheelchair


15. Clinical Room


Redwood House
Located to the east of the site and clustered with Beech House School and Juniper house. This is a two storey hospital building built in 1939. This is an identical construction to Juniper as they are of the same shape and size and constructed from red brick with pantiled roofs. This building is often easily confused since someone added ‘Beech House’ in paint across a second floor wall.

1. Redwood House Exterior


2. Doors


3. Bath


4. Wevsky


5. Zoo painting


6. Counter


7. First Floor Hallway and doors


8. Mural painting


9. Second Floor Hallway


10. Mural info


Juniper House
As Stated above this building is of an identical construction and size as Redwood House. This isn’t to say that the interior looks the same. The two buildings offer very different remnants of the past.

1. Juniper House Exterior


2. Children’s Items


3. Flakey paint


4. Stairs hooks


5. First Floor Hallway


6. Serving hatch


Beech House School
Beech House School was constructed at a much later date of 1972 as a special school providing both residential and day provision facilities. It is a single storied constructed of red brick with some cladding panels. This building is certainly in the worst condition. Every inch has been vandalised and the Gym has been covered in graffiti. On a recent return trip the condition had deteriorated dramatically since these photos were taken.

1. Beech house School Gym Exterior


2. Beech House School exterior


3. Emergency Exit


4. Blackboard left in Classroom


5. Science labs


6. Hallway


7. School Gym

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PostSubject: St Augustine's,Chartham   Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:05 am

Love it obs...flakey paint porn rules mate..great right up and that wevsky geezer keeps popping up ..Smile
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