Key dates

1875 – Surrey Justices plan a new Asylum to alleviate overcrowding at Surrey’s two existing Lunatic Asylums, which were Springfield in Tooting, and Brookwood near Woking.
1883 – Cane Hill opens as the Third Surrey Pauper Lunatic Asylum
1888 – Cane Hill’s planned rear extensions are completed, taking capacity to 2,300
1889 – Cane Hill becomes under the control of the newly formed London County Council created under The Local Government Act 1888, and becomes known as Cane Hill Asylum.
1915 – The First Superintendent, Sir James Moody, dies aged 62. He is buried at Cane Hill.
1919 – Dr Samuel Elgee becomes Medical Superintendent.
1930 – Cane Hill is renamed ‘Cane Hill Mental Hospital’ as a result of the Mental Health Act 1930
1931 – Dr George Lilly is appointed as Medical Superintendent, after Samuel Elgee’s retirement as a result of continued ill health.
1948 – Cane Hill joins the newly established NHS
1949 – Alexander Walk appointed as Medical Superintendent, with Dr George Lilly leaving to become commissioner of the board of control.
1954 – Cane Hill’s population peaks at 2,400
1959 – Cane Hill becomes known as Cane Hill Hospital, in response to the 1959 Mental Health Act requirement that psychiatric hospitals cease to have the word ‘mental’ in their name.
1961 – Health Minister Enoch Powell calls for the gradual closure of the Asylums in his famous water tower speech.
1962 – Alexander Walk retires
1974 – The Hospital comes under the control of the Bromley Health Authority, although it continues to also receive patients from Camberwell and Lewisham.
1963 – Cane Hill’s population decreases to 1600 following the closure of wards at the rear of the site.
1985 – New long-stay admissions from Camberwell cease at Cane Hill. These are instead sent to the Maudsley or St Francis’ Hospital.
1987 – SASS Unit opens (Secure Unit)
1992 – Cane Hill closes, with the exception of the SASS unit
2001-2 Various arson attacks destroy the Main Hall and C and V blocks. Security is improved with a £2m fence.
2008 – SASS Unit closes. Demolition of buildings commences in July
2016 – Barrett Homes commence development of 675 homes on the site.

2 thoughts on “Timeline”

  1. My mother and her two sisters worked at Cane Hill
    Asylum in late l920 early 1930s`.
    Their surname was Dee and I remember a few tales
    my mother Joan or Johanna Dee told me including one
    where she was held with a scissors at her throat!
    Someone came to her aid and she was not hurt thank
    goodness. Her sisters were Bridget and Hanora/Nora
    Dee. I believe a cousin of mine has a photograph of
    Bridget standing with a patient.

  2. I’m looking to find out information / pictures on relatives who were nurses at Cane Hill. Their names were
    George Hutchinson
    Gwendoline Hutchinson (maiden name calverley)
    Her sister Ethel Corner
    Harry Corner
    Friend Gladys Hall
    Edie May Hutchinson (maiden name Saunders)

    George was a very keen footballer in the cane hill hospital football club & his photo is in the book as part of the social club 1951 (I have some other photos too)

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