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Severalls Hospital, Colchester

Severalls Hospital, (or Severalls Asylum as its was originally known) Colchester, opened in 1913 for 1800 patients. It is based on the “echelon plan”, which is a specific arrangement of wards, offices and services within easy reach of each other by a network of interconnecting corridors.

Phased closure began in the 1990’s and is still in progress. A large proportion of the closed site has been earmarked for housing development but with the current ‘credit crunch’ and down turn in the housing market this may not happen anytime soon.

Colchester United FC have recently moved in next door in a new purpose built 15’000 all seater stadium.

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36 comments

  1. They’ve always been quick. You just need to be more aware.

  2. We entered today, the demolition has begun and security are hot on intruders. As soon as we took one step in security came.

  3. Brilliant photos, i went yesterday and looked around a few of the smaller buildings, plan on going back in the very near future to get into some of the larger buildings.
    would of stayed longer yesterday but someone else (i am assuming) who had the same idea as me was making too much noise, so we aborted quickly, to literally seconds after getting into our car hearing security and police dogs.
    its a shame people cant respect such a beautiful building.
    would of loved to of spent so much more time there.

  4. If you’ve been to most, I’m pretty sure you’d know the deal.

  5. Hey can you tell me is it easy to get in I.e I have been to most of the asylum’s but most have also gone dengbi Wales is the biggest but not yet been two…

  6. You don’t get permission.

  7. Patricia Orton

    Could you please let me know where you get permission to visit this very interesting building I can see by the website the public have been allowed in look forward to hearing from you.

  8. The land before the hospital was just farmland. However you can bet that there will be several hundred – if not thousand – of pauper graves somewhere around the hospital. It was usual practice to bury the dead near the hospital. Usually around or behind the chapel.

  9. Hi Guys,

    I live in one of the new houses on the Rosewood Estate and I know that it was built on the old Severalls Hospital Sight, specifically behind the water tower off Mill Road. What I need to know is what was this land before Severalls?? Can anyone help me? Heard it was an old graveyard or burial land but can’t find any information to back this up!!

  10. I worked there, as a cleaner, from 1990-1994. I used to sweep the corridors every morning! Strip the ward floors of polish and re-apply. Clean the wards\villas. Had a great time. Went down the tunnels and had a look around in them. Also went up the water tower and into the space between the roof and ceiling of the main hall [just off the main corridor]. I had a massive set of keys that opened nearly every door in that place. Not sure about the myths surrounding the food poisoning. It was starting to wind down when I was there. The tunnels, I was told, were merely service ways for the pipes to the various villas dotted around the site.

  11. The tunnels are simply service tunnels supplying hot water to the wards. Nothing more interesting that and common in 99.9% of hospitals this country has.

    The hospital closed because it simply wasn’t needed with the advancement in understanding mental health conditions and the care in the community scheme. This is just one of 40+ asylums to have closed, no myths required.

  12. I know plenty of urban myths about this place, but there’s NO or nearly no evidence to prove the stories. First myth is connected to the old underground tunnels in colchester story, according to the elders and local rumours there used to be a whole system of tunnels under colchester, they were built around roman times to transport goods from one place to another without putting yourself into risk of getting robbed. The tunnels have several entries, however most of them are hidden well or destroyed, one entrance is told to be somewhere in colchester castle or castle park, the other entrance is told to be found somewhere in severalls hospital. Other entrances are told to be scattered around the colchester in places such as churches or random locations that weren’t exposed to the sight of the public. The entrance in severals is either flooded or blocked however no one can be sure.
    There is more on this but I’ll spare it for your sake…

    Second urban legend is on the subject of ‘why was the hospital closed’
    Food is told to have been poisoned there and various scandals have occurred, people say that the way that mental illnesses were cured in a frighteningly drastic ways that would seem far too extreme for today’s medicine. For those who lack belief in the poison story, I advise to look at old articles on the hospital, it should support my text… I personally know exactly where the hospital is, I am planing to make a visit there sometime soon… Hopefully you’ll join the exciting race for discovery and facing the myths that only few have had courage to join…

  13. I’m not some sort of go to historian! I honestly have no clue on Severalls – not really my of much interest to me if I’m honest. Cane Hill is the only one I know of some famous patients.

  14. Was anyone famous treated here?? let me know ASAP Pleasee

  15. I swear people do not read parts of this site. I **DO NOT** give out access details.

  16. i know its been a long while since this was updated but,
    reading your blog about Severals Asylum was very interesting, and i was wondering if you could help me out or give me some information.
    me and my friends are planning to explore this area as we are interested in the history of the place and were wondering if it is easy to access and still remains?
    also, would you be able to say where about it is, if we were to enter from the water tower along mill road?
    i have seen some part of the area near the colchester football stadium but me and my friends coulden’t enter because of it being strongly protected, and the actual building just being what appeared to be a burnt down barn/storage area, i was wondering where the main warter tower i have read about is, (not the one on mill road but connecting to the site where people take pictures from the top of the whole of severals)
    it would be great if you could get back to me by this weekend:)
    thanks.

  17. Anyone able to give an update as to what is happening at the Severalls Hospital site. Many thanks – and old Severalls trained RMN…………..

  18. It’s still there.

  19. I worked as a student nurse here – we had some fantastic times. Its a shame is has all gone.

  20. I worked at Severalls laboratory from 1964 to 1971 and have great memories of the place – lovely buildings and grounds.Spent many happy hours wandering around the wards, villas, etc. taking blood!

  21. jenni ladbrook was close

    i worked at severalls for a good ten years as a nurseing assistant.many fond memories of staff and patients.it was such an amazeing place to work.such a shame its now just a memory.r.i.p severalls.

  22. kaye ( steele) previously Diss.

    I worked at Severalls as an NA and later a RMN.Many good times many almost unbelievable experiences with patient experiences.Intending to start a book in May. Anybody remembering me 1975-1980 please contact e-mail address. Now a Sister in Portsmouth prison.Very sad to see my much loved severalls slowly dying.These old insitutions will never ever be replicated either by design or comradery.Please contact kaye.thackaberry@hmps.gov.gsi.uk

  23. In 1971 we were told about a sunken fence called the HaHa which kept in the inmates but didn’t offend the external residents because it wasn’t visible. One student asked if this was a joke! Apparently i wasn’t!!!!
    Anyone know more?
    QPD

  24. I’m sure its fair to say every hospital will have its stories and myths. Severalls is a very quiet place these days, slowly crumbling away.

  25. It is a very interesting old building – some excellent photos. However – if you know some of the stuff that used to happen there I would not walk around on my own !!! – maybe urban myths though ???

  26. hi simon do you live near do you want to go in and have a look?

  27. Developers turning these buildings into flats are the site’s only hope of salvation. Without this type of re-use, the whole lot comes down and we get another estate of upwardly-aspirant pastel-coloured boxes.

    Great site.

  28. Excellent – is this novel avaliable to buy?

  29. I once worked, as a porter, at Severalls and it forms part of the background for my novel about mental health.

  30. Hello I am Spanish, within a few days traveling to England, and I’d like to visit this former hospital, now, they have demolished? or you can even see?

    Thanks!

  31. I have to say i live quite close by, and i got lost trying to find it so i ended up looking at the old buildings of the hospital. (Colchester general i think… i’m not sure…)

    You take some wonderful pictures,

    I really hope they don’t turn ’em in to flats or anything, the buildings seem so beautiful. and it would be a shame to see something as beautiful as that go to developers, I think i might hop in the car tomorrow and get some picture of the outside, just incase.

  32. I hope the current economic state means they dont rip these places apart.

    Soon to be more closures though, due to the credit crunch.

    Out of bad comes good 🙂 make lemonade and all that

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