Why Whitchurch Hospital was built?

November 11th, 2010 by Admin Leave a reply »

Land within the City of Cardiff was at a premium. The majority of the land was owned by three estates: Bute, Tredegar and Windsor and much of this had been used for housing stock. When it came to building an asylum the Visiting Committee tried to find land outside of the city boundary. Land from the Velindre Estate was offered by Mrs Caroline Booker and 120 acres were purchased by the Corporation at two hundred pounds per acre. Thus Cardiff had a site for its asylum outside of the city at a not inconsiderable cost yet cheaper than land within the city boundary would have allowed.  The land was originally farm land and some of the farm buildings were incorporated into the hospital grounds and became the hospital farm. county boroughs of Wales were slowest of all to respond to the need of asylum provision. Newport (1906), Cardiff (1908) and Swansea (1932) were the last places in Wales to build asylums: each preferring to save on capital expenditure and board lunatics in the local county asylum. Cardiff, in particular, had experienced massive urban growth in the nineteenth century. In spite of the city having entered into an arrangement with Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum in Bridgend to house the city’s pauper lunatics in return for a certain level of payment per head, by the end of the nineteenth century the situation was becoming untenable. Cardiff was pushed into opening its own asylum by concerted pressure from the Lunacy Commission who expressed great dissatisfaction at the overcrowding in Bridgend. Indeed, by the time Cardiff opened, the arrangement with Bridgend had become so stretched that other supplementary arrangements had been brokered and patients returned to the city from Brighton, Chichester, Bridgend, Plymouth, Carmarthen and Talgarth.

Thanks to Ian Beech for this post


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