Fonds SAH - Records of St Andrew's Hospital, Thorpe St Andrew

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Records of St Andrew's Hospital, Thorpe St Andrew


  • 1810-1998 (Creation)

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Administrative history

On 11 October 1808 it was resolved by the Norfolk Quarter Sessions that the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace 'take into consideration the expediency and propriety of providing a [County] Lunatic Asylum ...' following provisions contained in An Act for the Better Care and Maintenance of Lunatics being Paupers or Criminals in England, 48 Geo. III c.96 (1808). Magistrates were requested to obtain and transmit to the Clerk of the Peace a list of all the lunatics and other insane persons in the county and in July 1809 a committee was appointed 'for the purpose of making inquiry into the number of idiots and lunatic paupers ...'. The committee reported that there were 153 lunatics in the county and it was resolved to defer the consideration of 'the expediency and propriety of providing a lunatic asylum'.
In October 1810 consideration for the provision of an asylum was resumed and a committee of nine was appointed 'to make enquiry and to consider the best means for building, erecting and managing' such an asylum. The committee reported that the asylum 'should be erected as near the City of Norwich as can be so as to be within the County ...' and that the County Surveyor had prepared a plan for an asylum capable of receiving 180 lunatics which could be enlarged to hold 300. The estimated cost of the institution was £20,000.
In April 1811 the Visiting Justices (as the Committee had been renamed) were able to report the purchase of five acres of freehold land at Thorpe at a cost of £600 and in October of that year they had taken possession of the site and that they were 'exerting themselves to keep down the expence of the building by open contract for every branch of the work and by avoiding every species of ornament ...'. Building work commenced early in 1812 and in October 1813 the Visiting Justices were able to report that the asylum would be ready for the reception of patients at Christmas.
However it was not until April 1814 that the asylum was ready to receive 40 male patients. By July the asylum was ready for female patients and in October rules and orders for the regulation and good government of the asylum were prepared. In 1815 the Visiting Justices declared the final cost of constructing the asylum to be £35,221 2s. 7d.
The subsequent development of the County Asylum to the beginning of the present century is given briefly in D.G. Thomson, 'The Norfolk County Asylum, 1814-1903', (1903): for a copy, see SAH 323. During World War 1 the hospital was used by the military authorities as a War Hospital. Details of this period in the hospital's history are to be found in the Annual Reports, 1915-1920. Patients of the Asylum were moved to other asylums in the region and county patients were admitted to the Norwich City Asylum. The Medical Superintendent became Officer Commanding the Hospital until 1919 when control of the hospital reverted to the control of a Committee of Visitors.
The Asylum became known as the Norfolk Mental Hospital in 1920 and the name was again changed to its present title, St Andrew's Hospital, in 1923. Following the National Health Service Act of 1946 the hospital passed from the county to central government control and became administered by the East Anglian Region, Group 7 Hospital Management Committee. Control passed to the Norfolk Area Health Authority in 1974 following the National Health Service Re-organisation Act of 1973.
The St Andrew's Hospital site is situated either side of Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew, about 3 miles east of Norwich City Centre. The Hospital was closed in June 1998. The North Side (the Men's Hospital) is used by the NHS as offices. The South Side (the Women's Hospital) has been converted into luxury apartments.
The Hospital Burial Ground lies to the east of the North Side block and can be found with some difficulty. It is a long thin rectangle of land with trees along all sides. The area has been developed as a business park and the Burial Ground is now hemmed in by modern buildings. It is on Memorial Way, Thorpe Business Park, near the junction of the A47 (Norwich Southern By-Pass) and the A1042.
It is understood that at one time each grave had a metal plaque giving its number but that in the 1970s the governing body of the hospital made the decision (against the advice of the Chaplain and various members of staff) to sell these plaques as scrap metal. The result is that now it is not possible to know exactly where in the burial ground a particular individual is buried.
There is a memorial, dedicated by the Archdeacon of Norwich, in the centre of the Burial Ground. On one side of the memorial is an inscription commemorating all the patients and staff of the Hospital. On the other side is an inscription which reads: 'In special remembrance of the Polish Community who first came to St Andrews when it was a military hospital during the Second World War 1939/1945 and whose lives centred around it long afterwards.'

Name of creator


Administrative history

In 1915 the Norfolk County Asylum was offered to the War Office for use as a War Hospital. Patients of the Asylum were evacuated to other asylums in the region and county patients were admitted to the Norwich City Asylum. The Medical Superintendent became Officer Commanding the Hospital until 1919 when control of the hospital reverted to the control of a Committee of Visitors. A full account of this period in the hospital's history can be found in the Annual Report for 1920 and a list of patients transferred was separately published.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

1 August 1977 (numbered SAH 220-222).
12 April 1978 (numbered SAH 2-219, 223-233, 235-239, 241-258, 273-277, 295-297, 300-305, 310, 315-348).
23 February 1982 (numbered SAH 240, 259-272, 278-294, 298-299, 306-309, 311-314).
3 August 1982 (numbered SAH 349-499).
11 May 1993 (numbered SAH 234).
9 October 1997, 9, 13, 20, 26 January 1998, 4, 9, 24 February 1998, 6, 24 March 1998, 3 and 30 April 1998 and 6 May 1998 (ACC 1997/132, ACC 1997/241, ACC 1998/2, ACC 1998/25, numbered SAH 500-779).
4 July 2001 (ACC 2001/92, numbered SAH 780-787).
11 January 2000 (ACC 1999/178, originally numbered SAH 788-791 and re-numbered SAH 1039-1042).
13 October 2003 (ACC 2003/87, originally numbered SAH 792 and re-numbered SAH 1043).
23 September 2008 (ACC 2008/196, numbered SAH 1 and SAH 1044-1047). Catalogue completed on 29 December 2008 (FMWJ).
18 June 2003 (ACC 2003/30, numbered SAH 1048-1297). Catalogue completed on 1 December 2009 (FMWJ).
17 May 2013 (ACC 2013/46, numbered SAH 1298). Catalogue completed on 3 June 2013 (FMWJ).
SAH 1299 Stray case notes deposited 23 February 1982. Presence in SAH 284 noted in April 2005. Numbered SAH 1299 and catalogue completed on 4 August 2016 (FMWJ).
15 December 2010 (ACC 2010/161), SAH 1300-1369 catalogued 21 August 2019 (AB)

Scope and content

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions governing access

The records of St Andrew's Hospital are defined as public records within the meaning of the Public Records Act, 1958.

The following restrictions regarding access to the records of St Andrew's Hospital were agreed between the Depositor (the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust) and the Norfolk Record Office in February 2015:

Admission registers and other summary records (civil registers, discharge and death registers, post mortem books, mortuary books, registers of military casualties, patient maintenance ledgers, allowance books, etc.): Access restricted for 100 years from date of last entry.

Records with extensive detail of treatments and conditions (case books, reception orders, patients' files, mechanical restraint and seclusion registers, medical registers, interview registers, ECT registers, etc.): 115 years from date of last entry.

Where access is required within the above periods a request should be made in writing to the Norfolk Record Office. This request should be accompanied with proof of death, ordinarily in the form of a copy death certificate. If the death occurred 50 or more years ago access will be granted by the NRO, if less than 50 years ago the enquiry will be passed on to the Compliance Manager at the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

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Water Damaged Documents

A SUPERFICIAL Slightly Scalded, Slight mould or water stains to covers or page edges
SAH 9, 19, 30-33, 47, 49, 61, 66, 68, 71, 82, 93, 109, 111-116, 134-135, 137, 139, 141-144, 152, 168/19, 175-176, 178, 181-184, 192-193, 196-197, 200-202, 204, 206-27, 213, 215-216, 226, 249-251, 260, 262, 264, 271-272, 285, 289, 308, 344-345, 364-365, 367, 375-376, 393, 420-423.

B MEDIUM More serious staining or scalding to cover: needs some extra care in handling. Pages water stained some partly stuck together.
SAH 18, 67, 69-70, 72-73, 108, 145-146, 168/5, 13, 15, 17, 246, 248, 263, 266.

Finding aids

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Related units of description

For records of the League of Friends of St Andrew's Hospital, 1970-1998, see SO 194. For a contract for works at the asylum, 1847, and returns of lunatics in the asylum, 1900-1908, can be found amongst the records of the Norfolk Quarter Sessions.

Related descriptions

Publication note

Steven Cherry, 'Mental Health Care in Modern England: The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum; St Andrew's Hospital, 1810-1998' (2003) draws extensively on the Hospital’s records deposited in the Norfolk Record Office. See also Julie Jakeway, 'Manifestations of Madness: A study of the patients of Norfolk County Asylum, 1846-1870' (Leicester, 2010) and Julie Jakeway, 'Evidence of Shell Shock recorded in Norfolk in World War I: a Survey of Patients at Norwich City Asylum (Hellesdon Hospital)' unpublished, 2017.

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