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Lancaster Moor Asylum, Lancaster

The County Lunatic Asylum, on Lancaster Moor, opened in 1816, and since enlarged, is a stately quadrangular building of stone, with a handsome front, relieved by pillars of the Doric order, and could hold up to 2,400 patients.

The annexe completed in 1882 at a cost of £125,000, occupies a site comprising an area of about 41 acres. The buildings are constructed of stone; in the centre of the block over the main entrance is a clock tower about 100 feet in height, and there are smaller ones at the front extremity of each wing.

The building also includes a fine dining hall 120 feet long by 60 feet wide and 60 feet high.

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  1. ian stewart. wasted013@hotmail.co.uk
    i was in the children’s unit 82/83 and ive got to say i loved it there an didn’t want to leave. rolling down the boot room steps in plasic barrels. I remember just before i left the army came in an built a massive adventure playground for us. I remember one nurse was built like a brick xxxx house. and another drove a moris minor. there was two girls there wen i was there.

  2. I was at the Moor hospital on the main side 1979-81 i was 17 when i went there, i was on the locked ward c-upper..shit myself when i first got there there was always someone kicking off. ud hear the panic button go which meant all nurses even off the other wards would pounce on whoever it was theyd drag them to a sideroom, posh word for cell they stripped u bollock naked then stick a needle in you usually largactil..i got that treatment a few times..they used to pump you full of drugs then which would make you tired but they didnt like you falling asleep in the day they made me laugh how they would wake you up at night time to give you your sleeping pills lol that is mad. There was a few bully nurses on c-upper i wont mention names eh.. so glad the treatment you recieve today in hospitals is nothing like what we got then..

  3. ive just been reading some of the posts I was there in the late 60s for 2 years then got out and was sent back again at the age of 13 only for a few months 2nd time round I remember jan the first girl who has posted a ginger haired girl as I recall and the porter who brought her bacon sandwiches was the kitchen porter terry smith the long walks in the mornings were either on the terraces or a walk in Williamson park and nurse heavyside was an srn or sen green uniform and she was a big lass oh Dr Rodgers did top himself with a rope lucky for me I declined the offer of being a lodger at his private house just on the outskirts of Lancaster ???

  4. I was there when it first set up in the late 60s one of the first patients all boys the charge nurse was sister Clarke then remarried to sister broadly the doctors were Dr rogers and doctor currie (female) I was there 2 years

  5. i wad there 1967 68 no girls then like to hear from you


  6. Elizabeth Doherty

    Hi I’m just interested in stories about the hospital if any of you have interesting stories just email me lizzyladdoherty@gmail.com

  7. Thats Good news Micheal

  8. Michael Hardman

    GOOD NEWS…. I have been in contact with Lancashire constabulary regarding to being abused sexually, mentally and physically if anybody else has been through the same situation as myself at Lancaster moor children’s unit please let me know and I will pass your information to the police when I see them next week. They are coming to do a statement about the abuse I had received at the unit they are doing a thing about homes etc that abused children operation Hydrogen….. Thanks don’t let me be the only one, I know it hurts to recall what happened but these people should be prosecuted who abused us.

  9. Does Anyone have photos of the Children’s unit That we are all talking about?
    I used to love the walks in the countryside, The rest I don’t care to think about anymore.

  10. I’m not a psychologist, just writing a story based in the hospital. My mistake, my email address is Hannahlouisewilson1994@gmail.com

  11. To Hannah Wilson how can we tell you anything with no email address? some psychologist……..

  12. Hey all, I am truly fascinated by all your comments, and was just wondering if anyone would be interested in answering some questions about their experiences there.
    I am a university student, doing my dissertation in Creative Writing, of which I am writing a psychological novel set in the 1950’s based in an institution, like the Moor Hospital.
    I am particularly interested in the Moor Hospital because I grew up in Lancaster and my granddad worked there as a nurse, but unfortunately hasn’t been around for years, so I can’t ask him about it. Any information or details would be greatly appreciated, and I note how many people have commented about their experiences from the 1970’s onwards, but that information would still be helpful, for me to get a feel for it.

  13. Michael Hardman

    if anybody wants to go through any form of criminal compensation with being neglected at Lancaster Moor Children’s Unit git in contact with Nicki Cozens Tel 01823429601 please don’t let me be the only one who was abused…

  14. I worked here as an apprentice in 1976 doing upgrades to the fire precautions of the wards,fireproofing walls,fire doors,alarm systems etc.We found a large glass cabinet with a bell inscribed Lancaster Asylum 1813 and examples of leather restraints,skull caps and other impedimenta.I live in Yorkshire now but have a lot of memories of working there.Wards B and C were locked wards connected by a bridge.

  15. Michael Hardman

    If you want to get in contact with me my email address is mikeh1uk@hotmail.co.uk I did’nt have the drop down epileptic attacks I had the aggression attacks if I do hear from
    you we’ll talk more I was there from 75 till 77..

  16. I understand what you mean and respect that decision I would meet people anywhere to be honest. It’s only an online suggestion as I’m curious about my past and people I have met. But maybe don’t remember and I’m still searching for answers

  17. It would be good to arrange a meeting in a pub in Lancaster one day if we can all put things together it would make a real interesting story of times past. The times people ignored and children where misunderstood.

  18. Contact details stevesanderson1@hotmail.com this thread need to continue

  19. Life Changing
    of all of life’s experience this was one place you never thought existed, and it did through the practices of professional people that did not understand children and their problems in that era, it is amazing that has all been hidden or covered up to that extent, I know the feeling of the dead leg injections, it was not just the legs but the whole body hurt, today that would be child abuse, then it was to shut you up.Ive put a post on my facebook page, stephen sanderson blackpool lancashire

  20. My name is Michael Hardman I was there from 1975 to 1977 and then went to Witherslack Hall, I only went to Lancaster Moor as a temporary resident until an opening place at Sedgwick House was open in June 1976 for Epileptics as it was found in 1974 in an EEG at Greaves Hall. But Dr Ross stopped it saying I wasn’t Epileptic I just had a behavior problem, i’m now 49 and I was finally diagnosed with T.L.E. in March 2013. Dr Ross spoiled it for me I was then kicked from pillow to post in every school I went to after. I was physically thrown on a bed by up to four male psychiatric nurses and injected in the buttocks where it numbed my legs and told if I get up they’ll stick another one in me. I went home on occasions with carpet burns up my back and they told my parents it was playing rough, BOLLOCKS I was bullied on at the time by Andrew Bently and Liam King one I met at a new place and got my revenge, I remember him telling me Mr Browning told him to do it.. I remember Sister Denison, Mr Browning, Nurse Taylor, Mike Bowls, Mr Sanderson, Mrs Collins, Mrs Davies, Nurse Heavyside etc I still have bad dreams and thoughts about Lancaster Moor as well as all other places I went to, to think now on me being physically mentally and sexually abused over an ailment that I couldn’t help and these people was supposed to help us ha… and as for Singh saying we’re miserable I wish you was there in the 70’s you didn’t have a voice when you was being battered if you watch movies watch SCUM to me that is a Walt Disney movie to what we actually went through?..

  21. I hope that this thread stays alive as it is getting more interesting finding out about our past history and the people that were involved in our lives at the time.

  22. I was sent to the Childrens Unit at LMH in the early seventies and hated it there, being very homesick. Not sure how long or exactly when I was there but possibly sometime between 1971 -1973.

    I was being bullied quite badly at school refusing to go and my parents didn’t know how to manage me 🙁

    I remember being very sad, also the regression therapy mentioned earlier in this thread, although can’t remember much about it as I was sleeping most of the time being given lots of medication.

    The only staff I can remember are Dr Rogers , Sister Belle, and Nurse Rose who if I’m right was an older lady well at my age appeared to be old but must have been about in her forties at that time?

    I can remember going for walks in the grounds after breakfast, playing football on the field across from the Childrens Unit in front of what I think must have been the main hospital?

    I recall going home for a couple of weekends and being terrified at having to return on the Monday morning 🙁

    Not happy times and to be honest pleased I can’t remember what did happen at that place on the whole. However recently it’s started to come back into my memory again and I can’t understand why?

    I want to forget yet at the same time I want to know more, but the two people who can fill in most of the gaps have now past away 🙁

    Have moved on, but for some reason don’t know why but bit’s of memory seem to be pushing their way to the front of my mind.

  23. 1982 childrens unit
    does anyone recall what the matron was called,very strict.short wavy brown hair…not sure if was dugdale
    there was also a doctor that came onto site if you had aches and pains..used to see you in the matrons office..need his name also.
    remember miss whittaker and mr adamson but there was another guy,sometimes he would take us to his house
    think there were lads called billy,heath and a noisy lad called mark,very boisterous

  24. i was admitted 1982..dont know why and it was the most brutal place ever for me…remember mr adamson with the beard,,miss whittaker but cant think what the strict matron was called..also another guy conway or crawley not 100%…remember the steep stairs to the dorms.if anyone knows who these people were i would appreciate it.

  25. Hey,

    I have family who live in the original building (now a housing estate) built by Thomas Standen. I was wondering if anyone had further information e.g. plans or diaries or anything really about the ‘other side of the road.’

    Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

  26. I spend some time in their around 1972 but cant really remember how long, what for or much about it.
    Oddly I don’t feel I have shut it out of my mind for negative reasons, after all it was 40 years ago. I was their when Trevor Normington was their and he was one of the “naughty boys” and to be avoided. Imagine my terror when a couple of years later he appeared at my secondary school.
    I do vaguely remember the layout, sleeping in dorms (some boys crying them selves t sleep), birdwatching, going to church, going to a cinema over at the main hospital. I don’t feel scarred in any way, in fact Lancaster is one of my favourite areas of the North West

  27. HI Colin Thanks,
    you have jogged my memory even more,
    I remember David Quinn,(Quinney) he used to be the one that jabbed the bad boys, and take us for walks, he also taught me about Bird watching as the land around there was full of wildlife.
    Dr Rogers i think i spent time at his house one week just before christmas so did Matthew.
    Matthew Appleton and i where good friends then, as i had met him in earlier years in Blackpool.
    i vaguely remember Rose and Joan Sansome.
    Thank You for the update.

  28. I was in the unit for 9 months ending august 1972
    had a look at it today on my way up to Scotland. It has been converted into 2 grand private houses.
    My psychiatrist was Dr Rogers who topped himself.
    I remember David Quinn and nurse Rose and Joan Sansome.
    Other “inmates where Matthew Appleton and Trevor Normington.
    I remember also guys getting “the jab” and going on “regression”.
    A weird part of my life!!

  29. Thanks for replying Steve S. I’ve just ordered the book you recommended. I hope you have been able to move on in life despite your bad experiences. Although I have moved on pretty successfully on the whole, I still wonder what happened to all the other lads who shared that experience. I keep wondering if there is a way to find them and follow them up.

  30. HI Jan
    shame all this stuff is secret, you should read a book, called deliver unto lions by david austin. or google him he is on u tube ect, he suffered the same in Oakdale childrens unit, thats what made me want to know more, although i had put all that stuff in the back of my head until now.

  31. I was the first girl in the children’s unit in 1968. I remember my stay very clearly, good and bad. I did not experience it as a brutal place and remember the kindness of many of the staff especially the porter called Terry who used to bring trays of bacon in the mornings for breakfast, I have a photo of all the boys and me sitting in a huge tree in the grounds where we used to go for walks, We used to hide sweets in loose panels under our wardrobes because we were supposed to keep them in a communal cupboard in the office to share. We were only allowed home for the weekend once a month which was hard. My psychiatrist was Dr Currah wh used to ask me to make clay models of people I didn’t like and smash them up. I did it to please h was ten years old, but thought it was a mad thing to do!

  32. Steve

    Thank you for the post, I remember getting the jab if i didnt conform, you have made things a bit clearer now, i will still keep researching things. Thanks Again.

  33. Steve S, I can fill in some of the memories for you.

    The place was hell on earth. You turned in to the place from Quernmore Road. The unit was in a lodge opposite the main hospital building. My enduring memory is of the downstairs layout with the classrooms, the TV room and the kitchen. Remember the cramped dining room? After they had pushed in the slops that they liked to call food, they hauled in the medications trolley.

    Valium? Thioridazine, anyone? Refuse to take the tablets and they used to crush them up with spoons and force the powder down your throat. Get really out of line and you were give a jab. If you turned out of the dining room, left took you back to the kitchen, straight ahead took you to the office where they kept the day books, and left took you to Dr. Ross’s office.

    And the great thing about the drugs is the fear that when given to children, they cause birth defects in later life.

    And with a start like that in life …things can only get better.

  34. I was in lancaster moors childrens unit in the 70s but im sure it wasnt attached to the hospital, i would like to find out more.
    but my mind is blank on dates, maybe the building doesnt exist anymore.
    im sure it was another unit away from their, i remember we used to go for long walks play football ect, sleep in dorms, i dont remember going to school,i remember taking lots of phycological tests.

  35. No its listed with planning to turn into mixed residential use.


  36. It would make a wonderful hotel!

  37. What will they do to the buildings? Level them like they did to Danvers? nobody will like to live there! I feel very sad. After all only miserable human being once lived there.

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