Cane Hill opened in 1883 as the Third Surrey County Pauper Lunatic Asylum, and was passed to London County Council in 1889 where it became known as Cane Hill Asylum, and later Cane Hill Hospital. During its peak in 1954, it accommodated 2400 patients, the majority of whom were from South London.
Changes to society’s attitudes towards the treatment of mental illness led to the drive towards Care in the Community in the second half of the 20th century. Cane Hill was deemed to be no longer relevant to meeting these needs, and it was eventually closed in 1992. After 16 years of dereliction during which a number of plans were proposed but never came to fruition, the site was sold for housing. The majority of the complex was demolished between 2008 and 2010, with a housing estate built in its place.
Society has a responsibility to remember the work of its predecessors, to commemorate their achievements and to learn from past experiences. This website attempts to do that by collating stories, photographs and information about the hospital from people who lived, worked and visited it.