The Hanwell Asylum

London Historians' Blog

The Hanwell Asylum, aka the Middlesex County Asylum,  is probably better known – if at all – as St Bernard’s. For some reason, I thought it was long-closed, like the Holloway sanitorium in Virginia Water. Or at least moved away like the Bethlem Hospital (“Bedlam”) in Lambeth, now the Imperial War Museum.

Not a bit of it. While out and about yesterday, we popped in to where we knew it to be, mainly to see – out of curiosity – what buildings remained. We quickly discovered two things: first, St Bernard’s Hospital, part of West London NHS Mental Health Trust is very much active. There were small numbers of patients hanging around on garden benches and wandering about. Some kept each other company. Quite a few were smoking. Is it safe to assume that even these poor souls are further tortured by anti-smoking? Second, many of the old…

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