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

A mass of wild hair and a pint

I worked at the Hospital in the early to mid seventies as an Auxiliary - on Kingston Ward (which isn't shown on your diagram - but I can't remember where it was, other than that it was on the first floor of the main building).
It was a Resocialisation and Rehabilitation ward. Patients had been long-term prior to coming here and were taken off the majority of their drugs to review their status and potential.

Apart from losing some poor chap (who hung himself in the Hospital creche one summer's afternoon) it was an eventful, but fun, experience. One chap ran away one evening down to the Golden Martlet pub in the village. A striking chap; he was about 6' 8" tall with a mass of wild hair. He turned up at the pub demanding a pint of guinness and a packet of crisps. The problem was that he was dressed only in a pyjama top.
The pub rang the hospital, got through to us and requested our advice. We informed them that it would be 10-15 minutes before we could get to them so suggested, for the sake of keeping things quiet, that they provide the gent with his beer and crisps, ask him to sit in the corner, await us and, forever after, think of it as a wonderful talking point for locals et al!

On another occasion we took our patients to the seaside at Eastbourne. One enterprising soul, we learnt later, added to his pocket money, quite considerably, by approaching elderly ladies and offering to remove his kit unless they paid him not to. I seem to remember when we set out that he had about 50p to his name. On our return he had at least £3!

I was only there for the summer before disappearing to do my nurse training elsewhere. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Hellingly. I learnt some wonderful lessons in life from some splendid colleagues and, frequently, memorable patients.


1 comment:

  1. Hi for a short while I worked on Jarvis Brooke, the ward below Kingston. This would have been in the early 80s. By this time kingston had closed down and was used for storage. Short of the odd visit by hospital porters it was well and truly abandoned, apart that is for the ghost. That ward was notorious for its ghost and strange noises at night