St Bernard's Hospital, Hanwell


Died aged 191

St Bernard's Hospital, also known as Hanwell Insane Asylum and the Hanwell Pauper and Lunatic Asylum, was an asylum built for the pauper insane, opening as the First Middlesex County Asylum in 1831. Some of the original buildings are now part of the headquarters for the West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT). Its first superintendent, Dr William Charles Ellis, was known in his lifetime for his pioneering work and his adherence to his "great principle of therapeutic employment". Sceptical contemporaries were amazed that such therapy speeded recovery at Hanwell. This greatly pleased the visiting Justices of the Peace as it reduced the long term cost of keeping each patient. Under the third superintendent John Conolly the institution became famous as the first large asylum to dispense with all mechanical restraints. The asylum is next to the village of Hanwell but parochially was in Southall (officially in the 1830s the northern precinct (chapelry) of Norwood). It is about 8 miles or 13 km west of Central London and 6 miles (10 km) south-east of Uxbridge. The building lies on a gently sloping river gravel terrace, a common feature of the Thames Valley. The land immediately to the east was further eroded by the River Brent, which flows along its eastern perimeter. At its southern boundary is the Grand Union Canal and a flight of six locks. Both the southern wall of the old asylum and the flight of locks have been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

The former Hanwell Asylum where Dr John Conolly 1794–1866 promoted the humane treatment of mental illness from 1839

St Bernard’s Hospital C Block, Denman Avenue, Uxbridge Road, Southall, London, United Kingdom where it was