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

Life was simple then.

In the 1930's I lived at Shawpitts Farm not far from the hospital. Bob Feast from Polegate had a lady friend in the hospital and every once in a while he would take us kids who lived in the cottage on the left going up Shawpitts lane (as we knew) to pictures in the hospitatl cinema - a rather fancy that must be the Great Hall mentioned.

It was a magnificent place that held us country kids in awe. Ocassionally we would raid the orchard that was on the southern side of the hospital. Proceeding up Cowbeeach Road (would that be Grove Hill Rd?) to a small group of fir trees on the left an go into the wooded area to the right. The wood was a beautiful tranquil place especially in Autumn and Spring - we would gather chestnuts and horse chestnuts (conkers) there, in autumn of course. A game of conkers (a horse chestnut on a string trying to swing it at your opponents conker and breaking it counting up the number of opponents conkers that were broken - games and life was simple then).

The lovely drive into the hospital was lost on us I'm afraid but from what I can from 70 years ago the lawns and gardens were a picture and we had to be on our very best behaviour - oh how sad to see what the pictures show today.

Shawpitts Farm, possibly leased firstly by the Ganders and then Ticehurst looking back it is almost like the Garden of Eden, only almost because trying to feed seven children in the depression years was a 'trying' experience

regards and thanks for the memory ..... Arthur W.Carter (ex Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy)

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