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Fairmile Hospital, Berkshire

Fairmile hospital opened in 1870 and had a 132 year long career in caring for people with mental health problems. The site was purchased in in 1866 for the sum of £8,317 4s 9p. The architect Charles Henry Howells of Lancaster Place, London designed the asylum which was built at a total cost of £68,000.

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30 comments

  1. dennis smith

    I am now 82, and my mother left home and five kids in Birmingham in 1936/7. no contact since,
    from census tracing we have found her at Fair Mile hospital? they have some records which I hope
    acquire, it’s been something of a shock to know she finished up there,her name was Florence(florrie)
    Smith dob 1902

  2. Jane Goodey (nee Austin)

    My first job real job was a Fair Mile, after leaving school. My sister (Helen Belton, nee Austin) managed to get me a job as a cleaner for the summer after leaving school, before going to college. A real eye opener to a 16 year old. Despite everything people said about the patients at the hospital, it cateered for many different categories. To the patients it was their home, and they felt secure. It was a real shame when it closed. My sister, who lived on site, in three seperate locations and who met her husband there loved her job, and the people she worked with, they were one big family.

  3. Looking at this took me back – Fairmile was my first job at 18 , I worked as a Nursery Nurse on the George Schuster Ward and in the main hospital from 1980-82 and lived in Brightwell House in the grounds – I was away from home at 18 and the Fairmile family looked after me well , so many happy memories of an amazing place.

    Jayne Pratt ( was Collins)

  4. Eula johnson( Pitt)

    Thank you.

  5. Eula johnson( Pitt)

    I was in training at fair mile from 1966-1968,got married and moved to USA.we had some wonderful time there.i lived in one of the homes.livev on thr second floor of the hospital until rooms were available for the new comers.lot of girls from the West Indies.there we three homes for the trainers,and a fourth home for the guys.

  6. I worked as a teacher in Fair Mile in the late 80’s. I remember well some of the names on here – great to see some are still around!

  7. If anybody that worked in the hospital has some information n would like to get in contact to help us we would be really great full…

  8. Paul i live in the faringdon block and heard many storys of what the ward actually was for… Me and some of my neighbours are tryin every way we can to find out some info on the hospital but mostly our block… If u could email with any info u have we would be so very great full, thanks 🙂

  9. I’ve just seen Fair mile hospital on Midsumer Murder, an thought I’d show my husband where I worked in 1983, which led me to yr site. I worked there for 3 years but was told an interesting facts about the site, apparently the original hospital was underground and the patients used to work the farm land above so it was self sustaining, (as being mentally ill was frowned heavily upon, that’s why patients were all kept underground). I did go down to the old hospital on a tour but bottled out it was very eerie, if this is a true story it’s a sad one. The hospital also had a river, a wood, a train track and a main road, not the best position for suicidal patients.

  10. I want to say thank you to all the Doctors and Nurses at Faimaile for caring for my dear Brother John Edward Chappell (now deceased in 2001)
    He was there many years and it was home to him able to visit the local shops and enjoy the grounds as an ex Royal Airforce Soldier he adapted to the authority of the staff easily and we all wish our loved ones who have had some problems could have had a miracle cure the Hospital was a miracle in itself and the staff really were doing Gods Work and may I now looking back I wish them all of my prayers to say God Bless You

  11. Would love to see some pictures of the conversion + hall. Usually conversions are done well. It’s just a shame so many buildings elsewhere are lost.

  12. I live in one of the apartments inside the former hospital building (Basildon Ward,first floor).It is a fantastic place to live,very peacfull.The building itself has a very calm feel to it and the views down across the cricket field towards the Thames are fantastic.I think the builders did a fantastic job turning the place around.Thanks to the internet there is a massive amount of information and pictures about the place.There is a talk and photos on May 20th in the Great Hall about the history of the place.

  13. Caroline Saxby

    Wow so many memories I trained at Fairmaile from 1983. finished at a Ward sister eventually oved on to Oxford. Now in Suffol no longer nursing. Such happy times but how times have changed caring for people with mental health now. Not all good though.

  14. I live in one of the buildings that has bin converted, it’s a beautiful place and I love walkin round the grounds exploring, it can b a bit creepy at nite outside but I guess that’s just coz of the dark nights n the history of the grounds. I fell very lucky to live on such a beautiful development

  15. I worked at Fair Mile (please note it is two separate words) for 33 years. I was there when it closed in 2003 and managed to “rescue” a number of photographs and a few other pieces of it’s history. The redevelpoment of the site is nearing its end now and the main central build is home to luxury apartments. The memories live on though!

  16. There were no belongings left, it was stripped inside. For many years it was very secure with an advanced PIR/Alarm system in place. Only around the time of my post was it accessible. There was the least amount of vandalism I’ve seen at a derelict hospital site bar St Mary’s in Stannington.

    The morgue wasn’t in pristine condition, it was trashed and boarded on one side.. all that was left was a metal slab and a child’s coffin sizing instrument.

  17. The Fairmile has now nearly been completed re-development wise. The main building was left completely untouched on the exterior as its a grade II listed building afterall and the housing inside is exquiste. These photos are beautiful and show exactly what the place was like before the developers came in. For those of you questioning what happened to the belongings inside, well vandals. most of the stuff left there was destroyed by them or stolen so all that was left when i went to visit a couple of days ago was the basic structure of the room, its a real shame but i did find out that the morgue itself was in pristine condition and that everythign that was left in it has gone to the nhs to deal with.

  18. I had no idea the hospital was closed,,,very sad to see…pictures are great… i worked there as a very young n\a on farringdon early 90s…my first job when i left Ireland..had great times there and plenty of craic on nights out,,, great memories learned a lot about life and death.It thought me too live and travel lots while you can.thankfully which i still do .hoping all my former workmates are all well…..”christ was it that long ago?…”Wowww!

  19. Looking back at these with a smile. It was one very cold day to say the least. -16 on my car read out when we arrived. Brrrr

  20. I have a big interest in rested asylums in the uk, I love photography (hobby) and would love to take some pics in these old buildings…

    my sister’s friend was a resident here some years ago. great shame.

  21. paul nightingale

    i trained as a sdtudent nurse here mostly on henley ward in the early 90’s i have fond memories of the building and the grounds. it wass abeautiful building and a shame to see it go to ruin.

  22. mairead mcloughlin

    Lol the dreded bath again!

    yeah it’s all fall alot of the equiment could bn sold off

  23. I drive past this place every Friday on my way home from
    Berkshire to Lincolnshire. I have done so for almost 4 years and
    only in the last year discovered one of my ancestors was a patient
    here in 1911. Very small world, and now I see it change as the
    developers slowly level the out buildings. The main building seems
    to be untouched so far.

  24. Its such a shame to see this building going to rack and ruin, but what disgusts me more is the fact that so much of the stuff inside could have been sold to scrap yards and antique dealers. The NHS could have made some of its money back i see so much waist here when all we hear about is the NHS needs money.
    The images are thought provoking my nan spent some time in there she had Alzheimer’s
    Thanks for sharing the photos though they are great

  25. Gavin Richards

    I heard that this has been earmarked for housing. Do you know what state it is in currently?

  26. hi jayne do you remember a patient called charlie herbert if so get in touch plz callaghan311@btinternet.com thanks

  27. RE: I wonder where those nurses are now?
    Some have retired but several continue to work at the hospital that was built to replace Fairmile, (Prospect Park). I am the ‘Jayne’ written on the white board and have many very happy memories of the hospital where I began as a student and left as a Ward Sister. Many of the staff & patients have a special affection for this beautiful gothic building, its’ fabulous grounds and many of the facinating stories handed down.

  28. Very thought-provoking. I need to locate this place and pay a visit.

  29. What a beautiful place, great panelling. The white board is an interesting touch, wonder where those nurses are now. I love the cold and frosty morning shot.

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