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, 9 September 2011

The Rag Doll

As a baby, I lived in Hailsham and last week attended the funeral of a former neighbour, who was friends with my parents 50 years ago. Whilst we were there, we tried to locate our old house but spent ages driving round. As we passed the sign for Hellingly, my mum told me about the hospital - I was intrigued as she'd never mentioned it before.

My mum worked at Hellingly for a short while in 1962. My sister was about 2 and a half and I was to follow sometime the following year. She was taken to and from the hospital by minibus. She worked part-time in the cafe and recalls the counter being very tall, so that nobody could reach over it - this particularly amused me as she is only 5' 1 and a bit!

One of the patients, an elderly lady, made a rag doll for my sister. My sister adored the doll and it went everywhere with her until one day it fell out of the pushchair and its hat came off. The doll's hair was grey and it transpired that the hair belonged to the old lady. My mum was horrified and in the way that only mothers can, disposed of the doll.