Shropshire & Montgomery County Asylum, Shelton Hospital

Before Shelton Hospital was constructed, the local Lunatic population were sent to the Kingsland Workhouse. In 1841, a committee was formed to look at the provision of an Asylum for the county. The finding of this study was that Shropshire and the Welsh county of Montgomery should share an institution to help ease the financial burden, which was first was refused. Only to be finally agreed upon in 1846.

In 1843 construction began on a 15 acre plot of land in the parish of St Julian, and would take two years to build. The building was design by George Gilbert Scott (the great grandfather of the architect who design Battersea Power Station and the Red Phone Boxes, Giles Gilbert Scott) and William B Moffat. The Asylum was designed in the Corridor Layout that was prolific at the time, being symmetrical so that males and females could easily be segregated. The total cost of the original building came to £17,000. The hospital opened on the 18th of March, 1845, with a capacity of 60 patients. But by the opening, the patients requiring treatment had increased to 104. At its peak in 1947, the hospital had 1027 patients. Compared to today, there is less than 200 patients.

Like many of the earlier hospitals, during the first 50 years of its lifetime, the buildings underwent extensive expansion and upgrade. In summary, they are

1848 – a new male ward was constructed behind the main entrance.

1855/6 – a further two female and male ward blocks were constructed and opened. 15 acres of farm land and buildings were purchased, making Shelton the second cheapest hospital to operate.

1858 – A chapel was built behind the main building, an ale house was also added.

1869 – A steam laundry and adjacent ward were built on the female side of the hospital..

1884 – The largest of the extension occurred. 5 wards, a superintendents house, extension of the admin offices and the main hall were constructed throughout the site. The laundry and kitchen were extension. A cricket ground was also added to the Asylum land.

1927 – Villa purchased for the housing of 40 working patients

In 1911 the agreement between Montgomery and Shropshire was dissolved, meaning 150 patients were transferred out of the hospital. The hospital functioned throughout the 20th century, reaching its peak population just after WWII. In 1968, a fire ripped through a female ward, killing 21 patients. With the changing of the Mental Health Acts and treatments, the hospital slowly moved from a long stay hospital, to a more outpatient and care in the community based facility. In 1997 a brand new admission unit was built on the site. There is also a plan to build a new facilty to the north of the site within the next decade, this will allow the trust to move out of their 150 year home and into a modern facilty.

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Modified: 13th Aug 2012