I have watched the gradual demise and demolition of Cane Hill over the past 18 months. Today I stopped in to check on progress. As it stands the demolition team are finishing up on site, leveling land and removing what rubble remains. All that remains of a once remarkable site is the listed water tower, chapel and administration block. There are no published plans to what the future holds for the site and these buildings. I have put together a small set of photos showing the progress of demolition through to its current state. This is the end for Cane Hill and my photos of it.

History of the site:

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

The main buildings on the site were designed by Charles Henry Howell and built on a hill-top overlooking Coulsdon and Farthing Downs. It opened in two phases, in 1882 and in 1888.

The site stood for 17 years falling into a state of complete dereliction; suffering from damage from the natural ellements and the not so natural. Despite efforts by many to get the site listed and protected demolition started in June 2008 and was scheduled to take 18 months.


  • Dennis Jeffs, August 27, 2014 @ 23:35

    Whatever happened to the patients when Cane Hill closed down? In 1969 I was a barman at the nearby Midday Sun pub up the Chipstead Road at Woodmansterne. We used some of these patients to work with us every day and they were okay if they had had their medication but if they arrived at work without medication they could be violent. Tom was around 52 and had been in the hospital since aged 11 because his mother couldn’t look after him. He quite often talked to himself but could engage a normal conversation on any subject and was very knowledgeable without a hint of being backward or slow.
    Then there was George who was quiet and quite happily went around the bar tables collecting glasses etc, needed to have his medicine to keep him calm but could become very aggressive. Nellie was a very small lady probably also in her fifty’s who was in the the kitchens washing the pots and plates from the restaurants etc, a great worker but do not tangle with her otherwise she would throw knives at you!!

    Every month the patients at Cane Hill held a dance and we all used to go and join in with their fun. They loved getting dressed up for the Saturday night dance and food was provided with music and decorations, a great night for all.

    Buy what happened to these people? In 1979 I tried to find these people but I was told that they had left the hospital and no one could tell me where. I rang a few of the close facilities but no one had any answers. I really wanted to see how they were then living but no one could help.

    Sad really that no one seemed to care anymore!

  • tumbles, October 24, 2011 @ 12:47

    Best place is to try the Croydon Archives, they have a lot of old records from Cane Hill.


  • richard england, October 24, 2011 @ 00:45

    iam looking for charlie beerman the year 1960 f ward if someone can help me it would bring me a lot of joy he was the brother of my mother please if you can help thankyou

  • tumbles, September 6, 2010 @ 06:50

    You could try the Croydon archives but I doubt they would have any personal records. As you can see in some of my pictures -when the place closed down little thought was given to things such and they were left lying around in some cases. Ultimately stuff from the 1960’s was probably archived somewhere but more than likely destroyed now.

  • Sandra Fisher, September 5, 2010 @ 18:29

    I went to visit my great grandmother in 1960 I do believe this was the place she was living my great grandfather no longer wanted her and paid two gps £5 each to sign her off. Our own family gp wouldn’t do it. Are there any records I could access?

  • Jude, May 28, 2010 @ 10:35

    I was seconded here for the psychiatric part of my nurse training. Later, my father, who sadly developed Alzheimer’s was an inpatient until he died. The demise of this magnificent site has left me with mixed emotions. I thought the building was extremely well thought out for it’s time & it is with sadness that I learn of it’s demise.I must admit to becoming somewhat obsessed & seek out any website about it.I remember walking it’s miles of corridors with some sadness at all the wandering patients with seemingly nothing to do & the enthusiasm of the industrial therapy manager, we thought it just seemed like slave labour but he argued that it taught “manual dexterity ” & gave them some satisfaction,we did not agree.

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