Founded in 1892 and built in 1897 Tone Vale was originally named Somerset and Bath Asylum, then Tone Vale Asylum and finally Tone Vale Hospital. It was built to the compact arrow design.
Closed in 1995 and the vast majority of the site was redeveloped and only a few of the original buildings remain, including the administration block, front wards, main hall and chapel. The main hall remains in a poor state with a huge amount of junk stored inside of it.


  • Jodi, August 7, 2022 @ 21:16

    Hi, I’ve read through the comments on this post and I’m now more curious than ever. I’m 19 and I live in Cotford. My great auntie went to tone cake for electro therapy to help with her anxiety, she’s recently been diagnosed with dementia and keeps talking about tone vale. There’s a name she keeps saying and we’re unsure wether it was the name of a ward. I’ve tried reading archives and all sorts but they all lead to dead ends. I’ve always been fascinated in medical history and more so abandoned/buildings with a lot of history attached to them. If anyone has any information please contact me – or if you have any advice on where I can find more information that would be massively appreciated. I’m so sorry that place put so many of you through hell and back

  • Rob Ryan, April 1, 2022 @ 23:39

    Hi I was was in meerifield 91 92 my names Rob I came from Wales spent a year there and it wasn’t pleasant. I made some good friends Jamie. Chris .a girl nicky .I was under Dr cocket I remember Mr mackie the morning meetings the heavy meds I left there as a self-harmer I never done it till I was fed there drugs Andy tall member of staff Andy cole ?? Complete b$$$$$ to me .Martin staff nurse another bully used to smack me round the head live him to try today .Neil carpenter was nice he lived near there .it wasn’t a good time for me but I met people friends that I haven’t heard off in 30years .Jamie very tall boy me him done a runner to Bristol never seen him since then hope you well if u ever see this m8 .its part of my past that haunts me to this day I got the scars to prove it my email if anyone could tell me if they know or remember me or anyone I mentioned take care all god bless you .

  • Tracey, October 20, 2021 @ 21:01

    Is the enquiry into abuse still ongoing?

  • zippy75, April 27, 2021 @ 17:17

    I wasbin merryfield 89 til 91. Have mixed memories but met some lovely peeps there. I was Trina Wilce but now Trina Luke on Facebook.

  • Jason Green, January 28, 2021 @ 10:28

    My late Dad (Mick Green) worked at the hospital around 1973-76, my mum, Sandra worked at merrifiellds though I’d forgotten what it was called but guess that was the place having read the comments.
    The hospital grounds were our playground as kids., quite dangerous to think what we got up to, I was only like 3-5 years old with my three brothers Sean, Mike and Tim (be nice to hear if anyone remembers our family, we lived in the hospital houses across the road before moving back to Sheffield.
    I remember a family called the Dunsters were our neighbours, a red haired girl called June (my first love) other names I remember, my Dad stayed friends with Dave Bostock (wife was Trish)(was an art therapist I think) and Fred Yearbury (maybe spelled wrong) was a nurse as far as I know.
    Great times I remember quite vividly nearly 50 years on.

  • Gary Brewer, August 4, 2020 @ 00:07

    My name is Gary Brewer that place was savage it messed my head up more than it already was .
    How would I bring a criminal prosecution for abuse i wasn’t detained under section but I was forcibly injected with largactol.
    I was there say 84/87
    I weirdly live down the road I remember a nurse called Andy he was tall his wife worked there he was horrible.
    You can find me at

  • Paul trotman, September 13, 2019 @ 00:11

    Hi my name is Paul Trotman and used to live at merrifields I also remember Tracey summer Hayes we ran away together also a kid called Jason. And Amanda Philips and I remember a bloke taught swimming who had one arm.

  • Carla Whiterow, September 15, 2018 @ 18:27

    Also Jamie French my partner was there the same time as you he is on Facebook under Geoff Buffham

  • Carla Whiterow, September 15, 2018 @ 18:22

    BenM my partner knew you his name was Geoff Buffham

  • Tracey Isaacs, April 6, 2018 @ 12:32

    Is the facebook group still there? Couldn’t find it. My name’s Tracey, I was at Merrifield in 1977.

  • Ken, August 27, 2017 @ 14:33

    Vicki. What’s the closed group for x kids to chat on. I’ve made a couple off posts on one fourrm but no reply so. Reading this page is know a few names so I would love to chat . I remember Paul Sheep and. Trish, Mr and Mrs Macky.and that guy Joe . And I was there 77 till 79 with Lawrence speedy Julie Cindy Jan Steven Tracy ect. My name is Kenny Sayer. My email address is
    Talk soon I hope. And boy have I got a few stories.

  • Pauline C, March 1, 2017 @ 12:52

    Hi, thank for all these photos. I’m from France and I’m looking for information and photo of Tone Vale Hosptial because my grand ma, Céline, was a nurse student in 1952 and she has to come back in France before finish her studies. And now I want to show her this place. Please contact me :

  • Philip white, January 8, 2017 @ 11:52

    Ex child from not so Merryfields children’s unit please contact philip white at thank you.

  • jonathan, October 28, 2016 @ 09:14

    David Austin

    Collected and read your book a while ago. In fact, it cost £12.95 as I had to pay a pound for Sainsbury’s car park when I fetched it. Very interesting and informative: some of the later parts of it are quite funny. Thanks.

  • jonathan, October 5, 2016 @ 08:56

    David Austin

    Thanks for the reply. Any idea what happened to “Nicky” whom I mentioned in my last post?

    B t w, I ordered your book from Waterstone’s, and it’s just come in so should get it on Saturday – I hope it’s worth £11.95.

  • David Austin, October 4, 2016 @ 11:57

    @jonathan McHugh

    In reply to your post, yes, I remember Paul Sheppard. I consider him to have been one of the better nurses at Merrifield. I found him likable and encouraging of creative thought.

  • tumbles, September 8, 2016 @ 22:19

    It’s all converted now

  • jonathan mchugh, September 7, 2016 @ 13:49


    No-one here likely to know me, I think. I worked at Tone Vale during university holidays, every summer and Christmas from 1983 to 1985 – after I graduated, in 1985, I stayed working there until March 1986, when I went into business on my own. I was a domestic (ward cleaner) in summer ’83, thereafter an auxiliary nurse. Something over a year in total.

    If anyone’s kind enough to read this, I’d like to say, I’m surprised as well as shocked by what I’ve seen on this site and elsewhere. For my part, I found working there the only job I ever had which gave altruistic satisfaction, in the sense of helping some people in need. Like anywhere else, the place wasn’t perfect, but I saw no cases of what could reasonably be called cruelty or abuse: I’m not at all suggesting anyone’s dissembling or exaggerating, but I never saw it.

    I only went to Merryfields once, in summer 1983, to deliver something, and remember meeting there a male nurse named Paul Sheppard who’d run a cafe called The Merlin, in Taunton High Street, which catered for juvenile hippies like myself some years earlier. Does anyone remember him?

    I also remember a girl named Nicky (no idea of surname), in summer 1983, who spent time in both Merryfields and the main hospital. She was writing a book about her experiences, in part describing her experience of E C T: I read some of it and it was quite good, i m h o – she used to tell me off for reading when I was meant to be working. Does anyone know her or what became of her, did she get her book published etc?

    Any observations, memories etc welcome.

  • Owen larcombe, August 28, 2016 @ 22:04

    Can you explore in the building?

  • Vicky, July 21, 2016 @ 23:38

    Also, there is a closed Facebook group for Merrifield survivors: Merry Children in the Fields. Some good insight on there. None of us will ever forget what we went through but somehow, sharing stories can help. I encourage you to take a look.

  • Vicky, July 21, 2016 @ 23:27

    Hi All
    Just a note to say that there is an organisation looking into the abuse of young people in care. Some of us who were at Merrifield have already phoned up and spoken to them. If you are willing to call (it is a freephone number) and give some details of your experience, it can only help in them building a catalogue of abuse, which can later be used in evidence, possibly to prosecute those who knowingly committed abuse. Here are the details: NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Care) 0800 917 1000. United, we are strong. DO IT!

  • tumbles, June 18, 2016 @ 20:22

    Not far outside of Taunton. It’s converted fully now, forget it.

  • Jade, June 15, 2016 @ 16:18

    Where is this?

  • lee smith, April 4, 2016 @ 22:00

    hello,you may not remember me trev? but i do remember you! am lee smith, i had good and bad times there!

  • Philip white, March 29, 2016 @ 12:07

    I was in Marshfield children’s unit when Dr Hathaway the owner ad head sync doc and other staff head male nurse Mr Stevens under him was Mr ball. and member of the night staff was a tall man with swept back black hair Mr mogg was his name the children I remembered Gillian banks Andrew everyman Eddie. A young Italien boy called Sammy who was Jeff and dum and a younger boy David Warminster he had head problems the staff made fun of him because he had some pressure that built up in his head through the day he used to run half way down a corridor go down on his hands and knees and slide the rest of the way and bang his little head into the door and the staff made a joke of it if you remember me Philip white (Phil) please get in touch

  • Paul Walsh, January 22, 2014 @ 09:42

    I was a patient in the 70’s . Not a happy time .

  • David Gardner, January 13, 2014 @ 15:00

    Joyce, have a look at the Tone Vale Hosipital – derelicte somerset site as well. You can contact the police on 01275 816630 (Detective Superintendant Geoff Wessell), if you feel able to come forward and help with their inquiries. They will be keen to talk to you only about what you want to talk about, and not discuss anything that you find too distressing.

  • tumbles, January 10, 2014 @ 16:30

    I don’t think the explorer is that active anymore.

  • David Gardner, January 10, 2014 @ 16:12

    It does not seem to be possible at the moment to put any messages on the Tone Vale Derelicte site. I’m certainly not managing to put a message on it anyway. I don’t know how to contact the person whose site it is and report it, but perhaps someone will be able to do that.

  • David Gardner, January 10, 2014 @ 15:43

    David (David Austin), thank you for providing the names, and the telephone number, of the officers that are investigating the running of Merrifield Children?s Unit, and for putting the effort in and speaking to the police yourself.

    I have now also spoken to the officers you mentioned, and have passed on all the information I can, in terms of names, incidents, and general information etc. The police will appreciate that for some people, coming forward and speaking to them, may be an intimidating, or distressing experience. However, I can confirm from my own experience, that the police officers dealing with this matter are dealing with things very sensitively, and professionally. Although they are taking this matter very seriously, they also seem to be making every effort to ensure, that as a priority, they do not cause any distress to anyone providing information.

    Anyone coming onto this site, just wanting to recollect their experiences at Merrifield, and its staff, is obviously entitled to do so, and may find that it helps them. However, anyone that feels able to contact the police may be able to help to get the perpetrators of any abuse (perhaps the Mackeys, John Duvall, or Trish Bostock) brought to justice. As more and more time goes by, it is bound to make things more difficult for the police to get anything substantial enough to take to the CPS. There are people that will know a lot more than me, in terms of full names, current whereabouts of Merrifield staff, and possible abuses taking place in Merrifield. David Austin has provided the officers? names, and telephone number. If you feel able to come forward, and provide further information, then obviously the police and any victims seeking retribution, will appreciate it.

    The police mentioned that some people have come forward, but done so anonymously. It was clear to me, that the anonymity of anyone coming forward would be completely protected by the police, if that is what you want.

    The investigation into Merrifield is very much a live one, and likely to remain live for some time. However, as I understand it, so far only around 8 people have come forward, in terms of speaking to the police. More people coming forward will help the police to build a stronger case.

    There are probably various reasons why people may not be contacting the police. Some people may have gone on to live successful and busy lives, and put their experiences at Merrifield behind them. Some people may be visiting this site, but not feeling able to contact the police at this time. Alternatively, some people may not know about this site, and the ongoing police investigation, but may go on other sites, and take part in other forums. Anyone visiting any other forums might want to try to encourage, and direct people to this site, in case there are other ex residents of Merrifield, wanting to contact the police, or perhaps just share their experiences. Additionally, any documentation that anyone might have relating to Merrifield, might also help the police. Perhaps someone even has more film footage that could be put on YouTube.

    Some people may not be coming forward, because as ex Merrifield children, they themselves may have been responsible for abuses, in one form or another. Perhaps people should keep foremost in their minds the fact that Merrifield was managed by adults, not children, and that any inappropriate conduct by children, would be down to the way in which the staff ran this institution. For that reason, any guilt or sense of responsibility should lay with the staff, not the children. Again, where victims of any sexual abuse may be concerned, any feelings of embarrassment, or guilt, are feelings perhaps more appropriately felt by staff, and on their consciences, and not worrying the ex residents who were only children at the time.

    What does not seem to happen very much on this site, is people talking to each other about incidents, or experiences that they witnessed or shared together. This would be bound to help the police piece together all the information that they have, and build a clearer picture in terms of time scales etc. If some people are writing anonymously, perhaps they could privately confirm each other?s identity?s somehow (perhaps through the police), so that they would know exactly who they were talking to, and could talk on line about their experiences, but at the same time still maintain their anonymity, where other users of this forum are concerned.

    I would also suggest that any visitors to this site should perhaps be on their guard, where the possibility of people posing as sons, daughters, or other relations of ex staff etc, is concerned. These people could be ex staff and just testing the water! They may be trying to dilute any allegations of abuse at Merrifield, or dissuade people from contacting the police with allegations against the staff! So far, from what I?ve seen, there doesn?t seem to be any real sign of anyone substantially doing that, though I am a bit suspicious of Daniel Mackey, who will certainly not be getting any sympathy from me.

    I would hope that the very minimum that could be expected from the police, at some point in the future, would be a public announcement by the police, stating that because of the evidence and statements that they had managed to gather, serious abuses were likely to have taken place at Merrifield. However, for me, as a victim, this would not be enough to satisfy me.

    I also think that any ex staff, who were innocent of committing any abuse, should also be coming forward and contacting the police, though I appreciate how incredibly hard this would probably be for you.

    I hope that what I have written here helps to reassure anyone considering coming forward and contacting the police, that their concerns will be treated as a priority by the police. I hope that people will try to contact other forums, and that we will see the number of people contacting police substantially increase.

  • joyce, January 1, 2014 @ 10:50

    Being in Merrifield and left in there for 15 years altogether I want to know what this police investigation is please. My book that came out in 2010 gives a lot about what happened to me. A lot more could be said. If there is a police investigation I believe I could help in this.

  • Khumar, September 12, 2013 @ 22:17

    Hi Snowmaiden

    Its best to go the site here:

    Theres now a police investigation so the more people that come forward the better you can find the details on this site and other details of solicitors.


  • Snow_Maiden, September 6, 2013 @ 15:42

    Hi Trefor
    I cannot find the Merrifield page you set up on Facebook. is it hidden and by invitation only, or has it been taken down/changed name?

    It would be useful to have one site where we could all confer as I have been trawling the internet today and found/re-discovered various sites, but they are all fairly disparate and easy to forget about keeping up-to-date with.


  • Khumar, August 5, 2013 @ 21:17

    The police are really dragging their feet on this. Not only that but I applied for my medical notes from Somerset & Avon NHS and received a reply to say they have been ‘destroyed’. This is of course illegal.

    I see Mr Mackay has suddenly left Cedar Falls health farm working as a ‘hypnotherapist’ but is still working from home with his wife in Bishops Lydeard.

  • Trefor Davies, June 7, 2013 @ 22:16

    Hi people, I also went to Merriefields, if anyone is interested I have started a page on Merriefields on Facebook, please look up merrifield childrens unit group

    merrifield childrens group is where you can all come and chat, put up pictures, talk about old times, meet old friends as well and see how we have all progressed in the future

  • debbie spencer was lever, May 30, 2013 @ 15:00

    i hope the police rip right into this case wot went on in this home was the worst ever pin down sex abuse drugging us up mental abuse and so much more MOST staff were power freaks one thing you can be sure merriefield STAFF i will stand up to you all now its YOUR past coming back to bite ya!!!!!!!!! dont email me people get hold of me on face book Debbie spencer yeovil pic of me on there pink top dark hair oh and by the way i was debbie lever in merriefields mid 80″s

  • melyvn norris, May 29, 2013 @ 16:57

    hi i was in merry fields in 1975 and again in the 80s when i was 10 or 11 i still have nightmares even now i was pumped full off drugs because i wet the bed and when i got up in the morning to have a bath i fell asleep because of the drugs i could of drowned as they left me on my own at that time the place was a disgrace i remember the dorms girls and boys i remember mr craddick adrain mr and mrs macky i was always thrown in a room on my own to calm down or pump me full off largactal how ever u spell it …its certainly a place i would like to forget but unfortunately i cant anyone remembers me feel free to give me a email 🙂

  • Chris, May 21, 2013 @ 10:02

    there is now a police investigation going on into this.
    See website previous post.
    Mr Mackay is still practising as a ‘hypnotherapist’ in Bishops Lydeard.

  • ian mottram, March 18, 2013 @ 14:40
    this is the link for the survivors group

  • ian mottram, March 18, 2013 @ 14:39

    try the above for the merryfield survivors group
    all the best

  • beckie, January 12, 2013 @ 02:04

    my stepmom was in here in the late 80’s i was around 12yrs old her name was jenny i remember there was a black lady there she used to warn me never to look down at the pavements as the devil is underneath…i no its probally a long shot but thats all i remember is visiting her here a few times.if any1 could help be much appreciated if u could contact me on facebook please its bec ksiex thnk u x

  • Martin Cook, January 2, 2013 @ 12:52

    Me again yes if anyone knows how to contact Sam Goodman I think he was please let me know aslo David Austins details.

    Many thanks

  • Martin Cook, January 2, 2013 @ 12:50

    If anyone was there 1978-79 would like to hear and also liek to hear about any other websites to do with this matter incl legal routes.
    Many thanks

  • Rebecca, December 26, 2012 @ 16:55

    I was there from 1981 to 1983 and not until today 29 years on did I decide to do a google search on the place I had eroded it from my memory as it was an awful time and now I read all there posts and I am shocked bcos I knew something wasn’t right but at that age you have everyone telling you it’s normal. Please email me to update me or if you were there when I was there .

  • Gary, November 29, 2012 @ 00:48

    Hey, was in merryfield in about 1981 when i was six, and have really bad memories of being abused sexually abused and held down and pumped with drugs. anyone else let me know

  • philip white, October 21, 2012 @ 11:09

    I would love for people that may remember me philip white I was at merryfielf 70 80 or 90s
    please contact me at thank you for your time
    Philip white.

  • philip white, October 21, 2012 @ 11:03

    Hi I was in merryfield around 70s and 80s my doctor dr bethal and head mail nurse mr stevens I remember andrew berrynan and gillian banks and I think simon stevens too
    I remember beatings by staff with towels aroud hands and nade to hols pillows up to our tummies so we would not bruse and other children tyde to the uprites that held the roof on with sheet so they were no problem to the staff also rememer a small child like fight
    with andrew berryman over a transiser radio we were parted from eachother by two of the mail nurses and I remember getting punched in the tummy a few times that took my wind away throwen dowd on a bed and made to drink a thick brown stuff lagactil that was called the mail nurses cosh and I was given a dose every few hrs and when I could not take it myself they injected me with it over the week Philip white

  • lorna longman but known as christina, July 13, 2012 @ 12:03

    hi everyone dont no if anyone can remember me i to was child in marriefields can anyone tell me if they how found photos of the children their or how to get our records , but good to know your all well and come threw it , don’t let anything beat you down stay strong .any one who wants to contact me , my email is

  • Jamie French, May 28, 2012 @ 19:24

    Hi Everyone, my name’s Jamie French and I was a resident of Merrifield for about 1.5 – 2 years. My stay was somewhere between 1987 -1990.

    I have been reading the comments posted by previous residents, and i’m sorry to hear about the bad experiences that some people have faced. However, I remember Merrifield with much affection and it was probably the most memorable part of my life date. Some of the stuff I witnessed there has given me an insight into life that the majority of people will never have.

    I met some interesting people there and would love nothing more than to know what happened to them. I remember trips to: Tangiers, Wellington youth club, Taunton shopping center, Quantox hills, Blackdown hills and the twice weekly spar trip to Bishop Lydeard.

    I remember Mr Mackey (The Boss) who was from Bishops Lydeard. He was an older guy. Martin Calaghan, Neil Carpenter from Bishops Leard. Janet the old women who did foot rubs. Bryan the cleaner, Jerry (Night Staff), Dr Cockett and Dr Baker (Who both looked weird) and loads more…

    I remember the 3 dorms in which 2 were for the girls. The swimming pool, the mound, the window locks which you could remove with a screwdriver. The two TV rooms where neighbours and home and away were watched…the days when scott and charlene were cast members.

    I remember some people had anorexia and they were sometimes forced to drink build up drinks. Recently, I have found two people through Facebook and we stay in touch.

    It would nice to hear from people I may know…I have sent a couple of emails….I’m on Facebook under Jamie French (Jamie Knapp)

  • David Austin, March 26, 2012 @ 14:42

    I’ve just been wondering whether any other visitors here have come across The Tone Vale Story: A Century of Care, edited by David Hinton & Fred Clarke (Rocket Publishing, 1997). It’s a rather small book, only 50 pages, and it’s been out of print for years, but it includes a good deal of Tone Vale’s history from 1897 through to 1997 (some time after the hospital’s closure), complete with some old photographs. It’s well worth looking at if you can get hold of a copy.

    As an ex-Merrifield person, I was particularly interested in the three paragraphs (no more, unfortunately), dedicated to the Children’s Unit. The final paragraph reads:

    Some of the children, although highly disturbed, were extremely well read and educated. A local author, when invited to lecture to them, found that one or two knew nearly as much about his subject, science fiction, as he did!

    Any one who was there on that occasion (as I was) will know that the ‘local author’ (though not named in the book) was actually Fred Clarke himself, one of the co-editors of this publication! This brief section on Merrifield tends to speak highly of the place and the kids (it mentions ‘exciting transformations’ brought about by treatment at the Unit). In fairness, neither Fred Clarke nor David Hinton could possibly have known about the Unit’s ‘darker side’.

  • Carolyn Stevens, March 25, 2012 @ 22:07

    Hi its me again I meant to say Gillian C peake but her name used to be Gillian Longhurst.

  • Carolyn Stevens, March 25, 2012 @ 21:52

    I was in Tone vale from 1973 to 1974 I was on Mary ward and I remember Sister Hanson and Dr Bradfield, this is in reply to Gillian Longhurst. If you are the same girl that I remember we went out with the same guy Ian. Also I remember Maggie gill, Caroline Singleton, Theresa Kelly and probably lots more, so Gillian please reply and any one else that remembers me.

  • benm, March 5, 2012 @ 20:28

    i went to merrifield for 6 months from autumn 1987 until june 1988 – i remember a lady called avril who had frizzy black hair who used to sing and i was taught by a welsh teacher whose name escapes me now…tommo i think was his name
    i was unusual in that i was a “day boy” in that i didnt get medication and i attended the school in the day and went home. i wonder if i was unique? i feel it -as i was generally dissliked as i was different. understandably the other kids thought i was lucky or soft so it was a tough time really. i remember being labelled “verbally violent” which was utter nonsense . my experience dented my confidence really . ihad missed some schooling and there was no provision other than attending the merrifield unit which looking back on it wasnt right but hey ho! fascinating to discover this page…

  • Lösa, February 6, 2012 @ 20:37

    Hi – Nicky I think the doc you were talking about was Dr.Cocker. He had messy brown hair and was rather short. I think I remember you, and you too C.
    I remember there was a Dr. Mackay and a Dr. Kenny, The former was a bit older and Dr K was tall and quite quiet. I wish I could say that the unit had helped me but, well, I can’t and I wish the bad memories weren’t a scar on my mind. I do have a happy memory of running away into the fields and coming across a steam engine fair. The cops brought me back.

  • Robin Haggett, December 2, 2011 @ 18:22

    Hello I worked at Tone Vale as a maintenance assistant from 1989 to 1893. I loved the job. I have a lot of video footage of my last days work there. I worked a lot of the time in the boiler house up on the hill I also have some old super8mm footage of the meryfield unit dating from the late 70’s though not much. This was the best job that I have ever had, I loved the people, loved the times… but best of all loved the lovely grounds. Robin

  • Trefor Davies, November 29, 2011 @ 23:12

    Hiya, I can do better than pictures for you guys, when i left Merrifields Childrens unit I missed the friends i made there so much I asked mr mackie if i could return to visit again each year and he let me, I went up one year near end of season closing when the kids were due to go home again and the Christmas party was on in the building outside the end kitchen where there was a play put on, Martin Carpenter was my staff nurse and played in that play with some more staff singing HELP…from THE BEATLES on stage in a line, he was half naked doing it, also the person who was introducing the panto/play was called Neil i think, well…To let all you guys no…I VIDEOED THE PLAY ON MY VIDEO CAMERA AND STILL HAVE IT IN WORKING ORDER TO THIS DAY…Not sure of the year…might have been 1991 i think, I remember in the boys dorm, Neil in the top bed i think, stepehen,in the girls i remember Tracey Summerhayes very well for one good reason…Tracey and myself Trefor Davies were picked to go to meet Princess Ann in person for raising a lot of money for Children in Need, boy was Tracey one hot girl…everyone fancied her so much…Tracey if you are out there contact me I would love to here from you again…

  • iam mottram, November 17, 2011 @ 17:02

    hi i am ian mottram at merrifields from 70s to 80s anyone remember me try ian mottz on favebook

  • James, November 8, 2011 @ 04:53

    Hi there, I was at Merrifield from April 1980 to March 1983, the staff I remember was Janet (The old nice lady) Jungle bunny Adrian, Dr Mackey, Bob Tompkinson, Dr Zinner, and the wicked drug they used “Liagatil”! Still have side affects to this day. I still remember the layout of the place to this day and I have just turned 40.
    Oh the old siren from WW2! when ever a inmate escaped! Any one there at the same time? Nicky Wade, Jenny Newton, Lee Patterson, Stephen Tracy, Jason Harvey…

  • carrie, October 26, 2011 @ 21:30

    hi, my mum margaret coltart worked at tone vale around 1967-69 just wondering if anyone can remember her, as im looking into my family history and having trouble filling in the gaps.

  • jas 62515, September 20, 2011 @ 11:44

    Hi Nicky, This is Jane Hemmings.
    Please add me on…
    Hope you are well!!! XX

  • Gillian G Peake, September 9, 2011 @ 15:03

    gillianlonghurst i wish to ask john swift where he got records and thinks from about his mother i also need some records i was at tonevale in 1973

  • Gillian G Peake, September 9, 2011 @ 12:41

    i was in tonevale in 1973 i remember staff nurse tutt and sistor hanson dr bradfied and dr fiskin i was known as gillian longhurst then does any one rember me

  • Alysa Clark, September 2, 2011 @ 23:39

    I was there in 1985, and of all (there were many)childrens homes/schools/institutions I was in this was by far the most sick, sadistic hell hole. I am sure looking back that the so called ‘Dr’s’ had more mental illness than most of the kids there. To treat a child who has been hurt and damaged with a drug that stops feelings is ludicrous. They used chlorpromazine like most people would use hugs when dealing with an unhappy child. It took me years to get over what that place did to me. Just looking at the pics on friends reunited has made me feel physically sick. To all the other survivors ‘shine on you crazy diamonds’. Any one that wants to get in touch my email is

  • Nicky Brown(now samways), August 29, 2011 @ 10:45

    Hi, I went to Merrifield in 1990 or 91. My stay was very brief as I cried constantly and begged my mum to come and get me. I’d already been having therapy and continued to when I left Merrifield. At one point they wanted to send me back there but my mum refused. I had group counselling at the mount in taunton and i’m pretty sure most of the kids had been in Merrifield at some point. I can’t for life of me remember the doctors name who worked with me before and while I was at Merrifield. He was a small man and I think he had fairly messy, longish brown hair. Anyone know who I mean? Although I wasn’t there long I remember an anorexic girl who was in so much pain she kept crying out, a boy that wouldn’t speak, a girl called Jane Hemmings who would run away alot and a girl called Clare Chorely. I’d love to hear from anyone who might remember me or any of these names?

  • David Allen, June 25, 2011 @ 09:52

    I was at merrifield in 1992 ( Dave Allen), words cant describe that place truly or the effect it has had on the lives of anyone who has passed through there, I would very much like to get in touch with anyone who was there especially at the same time I was there but also happy to hear from anyone who ahs been a patient there, Please feel free to egt in touch with me at

    It would be rgeat to hear from you

  • C, May 22, 2011 @ 03:23

    I was there 1992-94, one of the ‘munchies’. Needless to say, the ‘treatment’ did more harm than good. I’m basically a veteran of various ED units (and remain so to this day) and yet the impact of that Merrifield admission still affects my ability to engage with professionals and I often have to outline what we went through in there when I’m working with people so they can understand where I’m coming from.
    There were some good times though and I met friends to whom I remain very close.
    It would be good to have a ‘Merrifield Survivors’ group or something because no-one can really get what it was like unless they’ve been there.

  • John swift, May 4, 2011 @ 14:10

    Thanks for the reply T, it’s good to know that there are others out there with a similar interest. i have already contacted the local records office at Taunton and they tell me that access for the files are closed until 2056? i’m still working on other info and have managed to fine account records that list my mum and show payments made each week. but know personal details are available. this whole issue started when i noticed on my admition nursery records a sub-note which said “mother returned to Tone Vale”?

  • tumbles, May 4, 2011 @ 10:50

    Hi John,

    One thing that has proved successful for other people in a similar situation is to try contact the local health authority to see if they have archives and if not them then the council usually gets given patient records from many of the buildings such as this.

    Good luck on your search.


  • John swift, May 4, 2011 @ 10:44

    Hi, my mother was in Merrifield in 1955/1956, Anne Elizabeth Williams, can anyone remember her? i am trying to trace some records of my childhood, she was sent there and then ran away, got pregnant, had me then got sent back there. i am desperate to find out anything at all about what happened to her.

  • David Austin, April 5, 2011 @ 10:18

    Hi Adrian

    Yes, I remember Phillis – not particularly well, to be honest, but I do remember her. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but is she still living? I ask because I don’t think she was especially young at the time when I knew her (second half of the ’70s).

    Best wishes


  • adrian shutler, March 19, 2011 @ 21:44

    my dads sister used to work at merryfields her name was phillis parkman i wounder if any one remembers her please get in touch

  • joyce passmore, March 18, 2011 @ 17:59

    I cover my experiences in a book I have just recently had published called The Light In My Mind where I recall the 15 years of being abandoned in the hospital. I am quite open about how I felt of those years but also my wonderful recovery.

  • joyce passmore, March 18, 2011 @ 17:57

    I was in Merrifield Unit in 1957 and have the memories of the old mental health system and all the horrors that it held. Not a good time to remember but having been in there who can forget?

  • kerrry s, December 5, 2010 @ 08:54

    I have just finished reading David Austins book and i am left feeling totally shocked of what occured and experiences described. The book is a must read giving a true insight into what was supposedly a care system for children.

  • debbie lever now spencer, November 12, 2010 @ 22:14

    hi its debbie lever that was im now debbie spencer on face book still in yeovil if anyone wants to say hi

  • David Austin, November 4, 2010 @ 12:30

    Some visitors to this site may be interested to know that my novel, Delivered Unto Lions (inspired by Merrifield), is now available. It is currently stocked by Amazon, and will soon be available from may other online booksellers. For more information, visit

  • Cheralyn, October 27, 2010 @ 15:59


    I can’t find you on Friends Reunited?

    Cheralyn x

  • Cheralyn, October 27, 2010 @ 07:12


    I was in Merrifields in 1989. I remember Helen (I started writing to her brother Andy?), the 3 heathers, James who couldn’t talk, we had a birthday party for him and I gave him a small monkey teddy, sophie who constantly washed her hands. I was under Dr Bacci? He gave me an orange Teddy Bear that had been in his office for years, or did he say that to all the kids? I remember an old lady who used to play the piano and a younger lady with brown curly hair that used to tickle our backs so we would fall to sleep at night. We all used to go a club called Tangeers was it? I used to visit Tone Vale too, bought earrings once i think. I used to run away all the time. If anyone remembers me please write to I hope each one of you is ok, it was a horrendous place to be in.

    Cheralyn Matthews (Green)

  • debbie lever, September 29, 2010 @ 12:53

    i to was in merrifield in 85 86 ish would love to hear from anyone had good times and bad there am now married three great kids life is a lot better now

  • David Austin, July 9, 2010 @ 11:31

    Si, there’s absolutely nothing left of Merrifield now. It’s all gone. There are a few bits of Tone Vale left which have been incorporated into the new village – such as the old hospital chapel which is now a pub.

  • Si, July 7, 2010 @ 15:36

    Is this still standing and derelict as in the pics here? Me and some friends have got into urban exploration and would like to have a look around if so as it is an amazing building with an interesting history…..

  • David Austin, July 6, 2010 @ 17:49

    Brian, if you look for Merrifield School on Friends Reunited you’ll find some photos (from the late ’70s).

    Merrifield photos

  • David Austin, July 6, 2010 @ 15:58

    Visitors to this site may be intersted to know that I have written a novel ‘inspired’ by Merrifield Children’s Unit. It is due to be published August/September 2010. As soon as it is out it will be available from Amazon and most online booksellers, and by order from local bookshops. Here are the details:

    David Austin, Delivered Unto Lions, CheckPoint Press.

  • Brian Savage, May 30, 2010 @ 02:24

    Have searched all over net for pics of merryfield, but it seem’s to be one of Britains biggest secrets. if any one has any pics please send them to me or the links to sites, it’s a big part of my past and i’m trying to find who i am and where i from. i spent a lot of my childhood there and think it still affect’s me now.
    i’m not trying to blame my life on it, in fact i think i turned out not to bad. But if you’ve spent most of or even a bit of your childhood in a place like that you’ll know what i’m trying to say. i can remember being bullied and being treated good, but i’m not worried about the good or bad things, or telling stories. i’ve got my life and what happened (Well that happened) But i would like to trace my history, so if any one can help. I don’t mind if your a nurse/doctor/carer or patient. If you can provide something to help in tracing my history, THANK YOU….

  • Brian Savage, May 30, 2010 @ 01:51

    I was in Merryfields from late 60’s to early 70’s. I remember 1 art teacher who treated us really well, in fact he was almost a father to me. but i also know of a man who hitler would have bowed down to. i had a bladder problem at the time and every time i saw him i had to say “I am clean and dry” and if iwas lying or even if he thought i was, i was punished.

  • simon stephens, May 30, 2010 @ 01:22

    i was a victim of this care facility from 77-78 and i must say CARE was the last thing i received. i was subjected to physical,mental and sexual abuse. i spent my time in the company of carl and lawrence, if you happen to still be around get in touch

  • Trefor Davies, May 23, 2010 @ 22:13

    Hiya, I myself used to go to the Merrifield Childrens Unit, I was under Dr Backer and I remember the my teacher was called Mr Bexon of the small School outside and the head of Merrifield was Mr Donald Mackey

    Chris could you please conmtact me as you might have been there while I was there as well.

    I knew few people there called Tracey Summerhayes and Steven Creswick and I think a boy called Neil, do you remember Jerry (The night watchman who got us out to go to the toilet)

    My Staff Nurse was called Martin Carpenter

    email me:

    I hope we can talk soon as I have been looking for old friends from Merrifield

  • Chris Witts, March 23, 2010 @ 22:41

    Hi have you any pics of the merrifields childrens unit,I was a patient there and in tone vale back in the 70s and very early 80s, any info would be great. Regards Chris.

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