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St Lawrence's Bodmin

St Lawrences Asylum, Bodmin

Orginally known as ‘Cornwall County Asylum’ it was founded in 1815 at Westheath Avenue, Bodmin and became known as St Lawrence’s Hospital under the National Health Service.

The County Lunatic Asylum, for the reception of private patients and pauper lunatics, a little to the west of the Town of Bodmin on a site of about 9 acres, consists of eight blocks of buildings radiating from a centre, with annexes and detached blocks subsequently erected and residences for the various officers. The first portion, for 100 patients, was built in 1820; in 1842 the “high building” was added, and in 1848 a “new building” was built; A further enlargement was made in 1867 by the erection of the Carew Block; in 1873 an additional building was erected, and in 1884 another. There is a dining and recreation hall, 80 by 34 feet. The Asylum held 760 patients; the average being, males 305, and females 366, 24 of the former and 23 of the latter being private patients.

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  1. For anyone looking for death information you may want to search familysearch.org. I found some information on burials for anyone who is curious in regards to that aspect of things.

    Thank you for the pictures!

  2. Great have hoped this site would reappear

  3. Photographs of St Lawrence’s Hospital, Bodmin, Cornwall can be accessed here: http://slhphotos.atspace.com/index.html and here: http://slhphotosbodmin.blogspot.co.uk . All contributions welcome. I can be contacted via those sites.

  4. Typical of asylum culture. People don’t want to remember what happened in these places. There used to be a website documenting the history of St Lawrences but it’s since fallen off-line. The local council/county archives will have lots of records from here I expect.

  5. Just wondering why there appears to be nothing about regarding information on this place. Bodmin is a historical town I live here so have heard lots etc. But dont get why such a huge part of bodmins history seens to be disregarded. You just cant find out anything about the place.

  6. Hi i started to do my family tree and when trying to find out the truth about my cornish nan i knew that she had been a inpatient at cornwall asylum for 10 years and it was only on the fact that my father and his sister took out an agreement that they would look after her that she was released into their care she lived with us for 8 years up to her death on records you need to go to the archives that is the old county hall in truro you will be amased at what they have alot of the records were desrtoyed in the fire but i was lucky and saw her admissions records and the day to day records of what she was like it did get tarful as they were describing someone different to my gran if she was still alive and was rechecked she had post natal depression also my granfather told everyone that she was dead. hope this helps

  7. I’ve been to 30 odd asylums, I’ve walked around some on my own at 2-3am in the morning, I’ve led on mortuary slabs, fridges the lot. Not once have I felt a spirit. If there were such things I’m pretty sure that I’d have experienced something. There really isn’t anything special other than the hall in St Laws – it’s stripped bare and most of the wards have had the floor removed. I’m not sure what sort of museum it would make. There are a couple of good mental health ones (Wakefield and Bristol) but they would never fill more than a couple of rooms at best. The jail does ghost hunts to make money. More fool you if you pay to go. Sorry, very tired of it all on here.

  8. I understand you being sceptical, but I’m very spiritual and I see and feel spirits all the time. Every time I drive past this old asylum I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I’m parked up at Bodmin hospital as we speak and I can see part of the asylum. I’m desperate to go inside and contact spirits but as I’ve read, I’m not allowed. Would be amazing to turn it into some sort of museum. Like they have done with Bodmin jail. See, they do ghost hunts at the jail and everything, but I’d much rather explore St Lawrence’s

  9. I work hear at st lawrences now on the maintanance dept, and I can’t even get into the old asylum. I am very insterestd as my granpea use to work in the wards in the 1930’s to the late 80’s as a maintainance man to. Its very eery at night here and the place looks terrifying aspecially the old holding cells……..

  10. Hi J,

    There used to be a great historical website with photos and history but it seems to have disappeared. If I can find it on web archive I’ll send you the link.

  11. I live in a house renovated from one of the old wards of St Lawrence’s hospital. Tryna find pics n some more history. Any info appreciated !

  12. Yes but not as many left now as say 4-5 years ago and those that are left don’t have anywhere near the character of west park or cane hill for example. Ones still standing include St Lawrences, Mid Wales, North Wales, Whittingham, Raucerby, Severalls, Runwell, St Georges Morpeth, St Georges Stafford.. they are in various states of decay, most of them on the worse side

  13. tumbles- you mention that you’ve been to 26 asylums in this country.. are any of them still standing that haven’t already been converted.


  14. They will always deter you, not least after what happen with the metal theft in the tunnels. Security sometimes will let you poke head around door and look into admin/hall. To be honest the rest of its so stripped or locked down(no floorboards) that it’s not really worth the effort once you’ve seen the hall!

  15. You wont get in legally. I was a patient there in 1999 and now fully recovered I contacted the hospital asking to go back in (Love the place so much I want to go back) .. They asked if I could get insurance cover to the cost of £££££££££ and then they would. Fabulous place. I got caught on site also last year and they wasn’t very happy.. Please leave

  16. Hi there, I am currently studying photography at portsmouth uni and am from Newquay, and for an upcoming project I wanted to take photos of derelict asylums and due to Bodmin being so close it’s a great opportunity forms to visit it. Do you no how you got permission to enter the asylum?

    Kindest regards


  17. Best thing will be to contact the council/town archives. Most asylum records are stored at the local records office and date back right to the original opening. Good luck.

  18. I am researching my family history and my gt gt grand Uncle was in the asylum in 1871.
    How can i find more information? Entry/exit records, or death – i have not got that far yet.
    Any help would be appreciated.


  19. I am a flm student who is looking at doing a documentary about St Lawrences and would love anyone who used to work there to have give an interview of their experiences there. I would be very grateful also for any information at all. Thanks Paul

  20. There is, or was, a very good website on the history of St Lawrences. I’ll try and find it for you.

  21. My great grandfather Charles Stanley was a night attendant at the asylum according to the 1881 census.
    Who can give me some background on his days at the establisnment

  22. The passing of the Mental Health Act in 1983, and the care in the Community Act passed 1990 signalled the end of the Victorian Asylum. The vast majority have steadily closed in the past 25 years and very few remain in operational use. A list can be found here http://thetimechamber.co.uk/Sites/Hospital/History/List/TheAsylumList.php

    The building has always had PIR detection devices along with an extensive fire alarm system. The power being on for these systems amongst other requirements probably was the contributing factor in the recent death in the service tunnels.

  23. Hiya,

    Does anyone know why it was actually closed down? The web seems pretty vague on details. Anything other then general information appears near impossible to find and I would love to know more about it (If anyone has any links for info I would really appreciate it 🙂 )

    A note to those wanting to look around inside, the building is apparently now trigger (silent) alarmed throughout…. hence why they know where in the building you are :/

  24. lovely pics, i used to work in there. i took a load of pics on the last few days before the place closed. some parts i found very creepy when working in there. and i heard a lot of stories about things that went on. they are talking about pulling it all down. which will be sad indeed.

  25. It will be the Homes and Communities Agency

  26. Who owns the site, is it Cornwall County Council or the NHS Trust? Does anyine know?

  27. Is it still there? Yes
    Is it worth going to? If you like the main hall, Yes. Otherwise No. It’s a bit bland and empty and very, very well locked down inside.

    Security are very much on the ball, you might not care but I don’t want you to waste a visit thinking this is an easy walk in the park. Police are called if you are found. I can vouch for this on my second visit.

  28. is it still there and worth going to i dont care bout security ? plz help 🙂

  29. No its a closed building with on site security. I’ve been to 26 asylums in this country and never, not once, ever felt another spirit. Sorry I think its a load of bollocks… I’ve been in places which ‘should’ have it if it existed. Hell I’ve laid on mortuary slabs and not felt anything.

    /Sorry not trying to be rude.. just don’t buy the thing comes hand in hand with derelict buildings.

  30. Hi there, just wondering if anyone knows is it open to public to look around for paranomal activites in there?

  31. Ah yes good spot… I need a technical author 😉

  32. The first line could be amended to read ‘founded’ instead of ‘wounded’.

  33. hey there, was wondering if this place is still ok to have a look around?

  34. my Grandmother killed herself here in 1932 , he was admitted after having a breakdown , we cant find outif she was buried at the hospital or if she was buried elsewhere , any clues?

  35. Lovely website – good to see these images.
    Many thanks


    PS – I am working on a links page and would like to add yours – if that’s okay?

  36. hi,
    is it possible to go inside the old building? im an artist from plymouth college of art, and im interested in doing some photography of old borded up buildings, espeically hostpitals.


  37. Hi there! Ive been studying this place for years, and would love some people to go up there with. Im also interested in doing some kind of vigil too, if y’know what i mean. Ive “let myself in” a few times, but the bastards on security keep finding where i get in. xx

  38. d.black intel

    Hi, my and my friends are going to film a small project here, if anyone wants to come or help with the filming please email me at: mattparven@hotmail.co.uk

  39. yes this is whats left after the fire theres a good 4-5 hours worth of exploring

    with regards to going in ..
    No you cant just go in and have a look round unless you let yourself in lol

  40. does it still look like this after the fire damage? and are you allowed to go inside and look around?

  41. I do have others but they are unprocessed, sorry. Good luck with your explore.

  42. hi there im very intrested in this place just wondering if you have any other pics you could email me
    looking to have an explore here soon if anyones up for joining me


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