Cane Hill was a psychiatric hospital in Coulsdon in the London Borough of Croydon. Built to handle patients unable to attend the Springfield and Brookwood Asylums, both of which were filled to capacity, it opened in 1882 as the Third Surrey County Lunatic Asylum. Following a gradual winding down of operations, it closed all but its secure unit in late 1991. It formerly housed up to 2,000 patients, but with Care in the Community and modern medication and sectioning laws, it was heavily underused by the time of its closure.

I stumbled across a selection of old Cane Hill photos. Some I’ve probably used on here, some not. Combining them with many others to pick my best of Cane Hill. The site is now fully demolished except for the listed Chapel, Administration Block & Water Tower. It’s not clear what the future will hold for the site. For a great history on the site check out


  • margaret jones nee baker, May 12, 2014 @ 16:18

    my aunt was in cane hill for over forty years. I used to visit her when I was little with my dad. when he died my mum used to take me .my now husband used to come with me and would go into the town to get a small bottle of vodka for her. she was such a lovely person . since about 6 years ago I have found a cousin (her granddaughter)who did not know of her existence. my aunts daughter changed her name and did not want to have anything to do with her mother. my mother and I went to visit one day and were told the funeral was to take place a few days later. no one let us know (we had visited regularly for forty years) and it was just mum and I at the funeral. whatever happened to her few possessions I don’t know/they said no one visited her! don’t know what happened to her remains.

  • Jane Bennett, January 29, 2014 @ 20:39

    How very sad these photos make me. I worked at Cane Hill in the office as one of my first jobs when I was 16 in 1969. My job was to go through the personal belongings (jewellery etc) held in the safe there and tick them off against the patients details to make sure they were all there. What struck me at even such a young age was that for many patients they had been there most of their lives, having been put there in some instances for merely being deaf. It was a very sobering experience. I often wondered what happened to the personal effects as the patients were clearly separated from them. I was also advised that for many long term patients they had no relatives. I also remember the dark corridors and very high ceilings. I was only there for about 6 weeks, but the memory has remained with me ever since. To see all the photos on the site was very sad

  • tumbles, November 17, 2011 @ 16:33

    Hi Sureece,

    Sadly Cane Hill is all but gone, funnily enough I was there today looking at the sorry burnt out remain of the administration facade. There isn’t anything quite on the scale or beauty of Cane Hill left afraid, it was a pretty unique site in that aspect. Greylingwell in Chitchester or Stonehouse in Dartford are both empty asylums reasonably close.

  • sureece, November 16, 2011 @ 19:56

    Hi. I was wondering if the buildings still stand today?
    I needed to take photos of an abandended place like this for my photogaphy work!! Is Cane Hill still accesable and how? If nott do you know any other abandoned places pleasee!

  • West Park Hospital, Epsom | Whatevers Left, July 10, 2011 @ 20:10

    […] a selection of my favourite images from my many visits. West Park will never be on the same par as Cane Hill in my mind but many of those people who missed the opportunity to visit Cane Hill will probably […]

  • tim schnebele, January 3, 2011 @ 11:13

    well i really think cane hill hospital was such a beautiful old building, i have a fasination with old buildings i think that they hold just so much history, memories and emotion of those who live or once lived in. we had a beautiful old hospital too in wellington new zealand which i basicly grew up in from a young age.
    how i hate seeeing it go demolished in such a short time all those memories gone.
    i think they should do a memory tribute to cane hill as i suggested to our dhb to do with our old hospital and they did so. it be nice to remember they sad and happy times people had and for the ones who just love and appreciate old buildings to.
    exploring the abandoned hospital too would just be so much fun but i havent found it yet we have a simalar one here but its alarmed up hard so no chance. im an urban explorer who hasent explored cane hill and sadly never will as its gone. admin block burnt down which im do gutted over

  • Ed, January 26, 2010 @ 12:39

    Great to see some new pictures, and good ones at that! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jan Giles, January 3, 2010 @ 20:10

    having spent 2.5 months as an inpatient at Cane Hill – Blake Ward – in 1989 I am intrigued and fascinated by the photos. Perhaps because i spent a short time there (compared with many) for me it was an asylum at that point in my life in the real sense of the word. When I see the photos it makes me feel a sense that in getting rid of all that was arong with the place we also have lost a lot of what was good.

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