Hellingly Hospital - The East Sussex Mental Institution.

Hellingly Hospital - The East Sussex Mental Institution.
Hellingly, a Victorian hospital on a grand scale. Conceived in 1897, with landscaped surroundings high on a hill with therapeutic views across the countryside. An enclosed community, providing for itself...patients and staff lives exisiting in familiar corridors and buildings.
Closed down in the eary 1990's and left decaying ever since.

Friday, 18 February 2011

The colour 'Green' relaxes you

" I worked at Hellingly for about six months in 1987 or thereabouts. Unfortunately, I don't have much information about the hospital. I was given an office in one of the old houses on the left of the main drive (as you go in facing the hospital), which was then the Department of Clinical Psychology.

This was my first "serious" job, which I only got because nobody else turned up for the interview; there was a postal strike, and the letters telling people they had an interview didn't arrive.
I was moved later to the main building, where I was housed in an open plan office. I never spent a great deal of time actually in the hospital, although I did visit the wards a couple of times, including a high security ward, which was a bit disturbing. I had never heard of the great hall, those photos were very interesting. The main thing I remember is the long corridors, they all looked the same and I was always getting lost. I remember also how attractive the grounds were, so many big trees.

I am only guessing, but I think the place you have labelled as an "entry hall" was probably a ward. Bear in mind that the wards were not just rows of beds, they had open areas with chairs and tables where the patients would pass the day. There were many different wards, some large and some quite small and homey. Some of the original wards were later converted into offices or for other uses.

The "unusual bath" may have been used for hydrotherapy, it was a treatment for psychiatric illness that is now obsolete. The green corridor - as I recall, many of the interiors were green (it's a relaxing color). Some of the corridors sloped, they probably had steps once, but were sloped for wheelchairs.
The restaurant was most likely the staff canteen, I don't recall a restaurant for patients - they were probably served meals in the wards.

Anyway, I packed the job in after six months and left England (still living abroad). I never really thought about Hellingly much again, but it was great to see your photos. Thanks a lot (and sorry to have rambled on)!"

Mark Phillips
Tokyo, Japan

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