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Middlewood Hospital

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Screenshot 2020-03-30 at 13.24.47.jpg

Now Wadsley Park Village

Middlewood Road, Wadsley, Sheffield, Yorkshire S6 1TP


And in 1927

Date founded: 1869
Date opened: 1872
Date closed: 1998

South Yorkshire Asylum (1872 - 1890)
West Riding Asylum, Wadsley (1890 - 1930)
Wadsley Mental Hospital (1930 - 1948)
Middlewood Hospital (1948 - 1998)
The hospital closed in 1998

Bernard Hartley, County Surveyor to the West Riding of Yorkshire
J. Vickers-Edwards, County Architect to the West Riding of Yorkshire

1872- After furnishing the wards and appointing staff, the Asylum was declared ready for opening on August 21st. The total cost of providing the site, and for the erection and furnishings up to September 29th, the end of the financial year, was as follows:-

For purchase of land, buildings and burial ground 24,635.06.02
For expenses of building and works connected therewith 109,283.12.02
Furnishing 11,343.02.08
Road making and planting 3,530.00.02
Sundry other expenses 1,921.04.00
Total 150,713.05.02

Adminstration Block
Male Annex
Porters Lodge
Staff Residence

main asylum circa 1900

We've been and taken a few more recent pictures of the remaining buildings.


pictures taken Feb 15th 2007


























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The Kingswood block has been converted into luxury apartments,and called Kingswood Hall

One of the buildings was called 'Fairlawns' ?

There was a hospital magazine called 'Jigsaw'

1,189 staffed beds (date of count - 31.12.1975)

Thought to be the home of Sheffield ghosts and reported to be very haunted !

This old lady has been seen wandering around the former Ward Eight, where she disappears when she walks through a wall. There are also stories of disembodied footsteps running on the stairs.
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The landmark administration building at the centre of the new housing development at Middlewood, on the site of the former hospital, will be brought back to life.

Planning permission has been granted for the administration building to be retained and converted into 30 apartments by JS Bloor.

The plans follow previous attempts by Bloor to get planning permission to demolish the block, retain the clocktower and build 38 new apartments. Those plans were refused as city council planners wanted the landmark historic administration building and the clock tower to be retained and converted.

Planning officers made the Middlewood hospital area a conservation area in September 2001 to give the buildings more protection from demolition.

Chairman of the Planning and Highways Board, Ibrar Hussain said: “We’ve always been committed to saving these important buildings, and I’m pleased that the owners are now willing to restore and convert them. It’s an important local landmark and I’m looking forward to Bloor making an early start on site. The local community will be delighted that there is now real intent to restore these buildings.”

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Orignally Middlewood hospital was known as South Yorkshire Asylum (1872-1890) It then became West Riding Asylum, Wadsley (1890-1930) apart from a couple of years from 1915 onwards when the hospital was evacuated by the military to be used as Wharncliffe War Hospital.From 1930 the hospital became Wadsley Mental hospital and remained so until 1939 when 2,200 patients were evacuated so that the hospital could once again be used as a war hospital.

After the military had finished with it, the hospital again became Wadsley mental hospital until 1948 when it became Middlewood hospital.

Not all the original inmates of the hospital were lunatics, some were paupers from the workhouses who were no longer able to work, some were women suffering from post-natal depression and some were suffering from things like epilepsy.

Insulin shock treatment was introduced into the hospital in 1935 for the treatment of schizophrenia. The hospital also had a mortuary and post mortem room.

the hospital had a working farm (pigs/dairy)

The patients loved working outside on the farm and missed it very much when the farm closed.The patients then went to work in viners cutlery works putting handles onto knives which they disliked.
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Work on the Hospital site began in 1869, and was built by Bernard Hartley (Architect). S Mitchell M.D was the first Superintendent of the hospital, coming from the West Riding Aslyum, in Wakefield.

When opened it was known as the South Yorkshire Asylum (also known as Wadsley Asylum) and it became West Yorkshire Asylum, Wadsley, in 1890. In 1930 it changed again and became Wadsley Mental Hospital. In 1948 it was renamed Middlewood Hospital. The site served as, both, a Asylum and a Hospital.

The medical hospitals were accessed from Worral road and was kinown as Wharncliffe Hospital. The entire Hospital site closed in 1998, having been known as Middlewood Hospital for fifty years. Between the years of 1915 and 1930, and between 1939 and 1945, it was also the Wharncliffe war Hospital, and played a major part in housing shellshocked troops from all sides.

So the hospital was more than just a Mental institution although for all people in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley Middlewood was synonymous with Mental Illness and the hosptial, itself, was tied in with many other sites, that have since closed, in the area, such as Grenoside, St. Josephs, Hollow Meadows, and Thundercliffe Grange. As well as it's part in the war the Hospital served to help people with learning difficulties, as well as dealing with long term mental illness.

The main admin block of the hospital is now the impressive Kingswood Hall (see above), which comprises of 30 luxury apartments(passed for bulding in June 2005). This is seen as the real centre of the old hospital and, now, the new village.

The remainder of the site is large residential development, made up by various developers and operated in the main part by Bloor Homes who have been responsible for the re-development of the above block, as well as the, currently, derelict clock tower. Planning officers made the Middlewood Hospital area a conservation area in September 2001, to give the buildings more protection from demolition.

Kingswood Hall constituted 25% of the buildings from the old site and despite some discussion over demolition of the site it was decided that it should be listed, retained and restored, as it now has been.Other buildings, from the 1930s through to the newest were taken down after closure. As well as Kingswood Hall ,the clock tower and the church have remained. Both the clock tower building and the church are in a bad state oF repair, although the clock tower will be repaired in the new future.

The size of the hospital was phenomonal and you can see from the size of the village just how big a area it covered. In 1975 there were 1,189 staffed beds within the grounds.

Due to changes in policy in the eighties the famous care in the community came about (Mental Health Act, 1984). It was the Mental Act, 1959, that began the reforms in earnest and did away with alot of the abuse and problems found across the various hospitals.

There are many stories of problems around the hospital, the likes of which are not uncommon for any large institutions in the UK, and there are plenty of ghost stories. In a study published in Psychiatric Bulletin, 1991, research was carried out on 438 impatients from the rehabilitation and long-stay service at Middlewood Hospital. It began in 1982 and the researchers looked at what happened to people as they were released from the hospital.

None were homeless, 23% were still in non-hospital settings, 35% had died (most were old residents) but 42% had remained within the service, other wards or hospitals. Most of the people that left Middlewood ended up in other institutions or within controlled areas of the community. Non of them were homeless, or left wandering the streets.

The most famous ghost story, and there are many about the old hospital, is of the 'Old Lady' who is known to have wandered around the old ward eight, where she would disappear through walls. There are also numerous accounts of disembodied footsteps on stairways.

There are many, many other stories such as general hauntings on Ward 12, Ward 8 sightings of a old woman in a night cap and no face, and the Hillside ward suffering from knockings at night time. Prior to the renovation of the wards they were said to be excorcised and various students through the years have reported the hospital being excorcised by the onsite priest. There has, though, been very few reports of hauntings within the village.

Some of the most interesting stories about the old hospital from its days as a war hospital during both World Wars. During the Second World War both German and British Soldiers remained on the site and to distingiush between the two they would put red blankets on the German troops so there was no issues over whom was who.

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The MO arranged for me to go to the Army Hospital at Middlewood; he would not let me make my own travel arrangements by public transport but insisted on travel by ambulance. Arriving at home in an ambulance took my mother by surprise! After collecting necessary clothing off we went to Wharncliffe hospital at Middlewood.

What a shock; This was an Army Hospital, there were no sheets to the beds, just blankets; the beds were steel laths covered with three “biscuits”, (these were square stuffed pads which, put end to end, made a mattress of sorts!); this was the army! Horror of horrors, if you went outside the hospital you were issued with hospital “blues”.

The Medical Officer, on seeing me the next day said that my treatment would be at the Army Dental Centre at Nether Edge which was at the completely opposite side of Sheffield.. The thought of travelling to and from Nether Edge, right across the city, by public transport and wearing hospital blues was not well received.

Pointing out that my home was within ”spitting distance” of the Dental Centre I suggested that it would make sense for me to be discharged from Wharncliffe and sent “sick at home” and take treatment in that way. The Doc readily agreed; off I went to stay at home for two more weeks whilst I received treatment.


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This place did not prepare me for the horror of Middlewood Hospital in Sheffield, nor the other psychiatric hospitals I came know only too well after I arrived in the UK in 1968. All of these were dark, miserable, dirty prisons, where their inhabitants, the patients, were shown very clearly by the buildings themselves and by the staff that they were the scum of the earth.


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There was a movie filmed in the grounds of Middlewood Hospital called 'The Last Train'

A group of train passengers, including a policeman (Ian Hart) a wanted criminal (Mick Sizer) and an M.O.D. scientist (Harriet Ambrose) are travelling to Sheffield when their train crashes inside a tunnel and a strange gas envelopes them.

When they awake, they find that Harriet froze them all so they could survive the giant meteor impact that destroyed the rest of the world. Now, they seem to be the only survivors of the human race in a world overrun with tropical plants and patrolled by packs of man-eating dogs.

The Last Train IMDB Entry - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195471/

TV.com's page on the movie - http://www.tv.com/the-last-train/show/9500/summary.html

Wikipedia Info on the film - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Train

Fansite - http://www.freewebs.com/clactonradio/thelasttrain1999itv.htm

Sci-Fi Uk Page - http://www.scifiuk.com/lasttrain/

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Protection for Sheffield Fossil Trees

SHEFFIELD'S most precious fossils are to be preserved for good - by sealing them off from the general public.

Fossil trees 300 million years old lie in the grounds of the former Middlewood Hospital, now being turned into a major housing estate.

But action has had to be taken as the remains of the ancient forest have suffered from vandalism and theft in recent years.

Experts were worried that the tree stumps, first discovered in 1887 and unique in Britain, would be lost forever.


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When I was about 21 or 22 I used to write for the hospital magazine at Middlewood. Middlewood was a big psychiatric hospital in Sheffield. In the past I've been admitted there a few times. Although I think they've shut it down now, and moved most of the patients there to smaller units. Like I've said, I used to write for their magazine "Jigsaw" and I've now written ever since.


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A cleaner there was called Kitty Turner

Joseph Robinson - http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlere...i?artid=1121568

Bob Swann

Julie Trigg (Bob Swann's) first wife

Anne Swann was nurse escort

Jack Sherrat

Ian franklin

Lynne Staniforth (now in Australia)

The daughter of Ron Staniforth the Sheffield Wednesday player

Bob Chiglow

Ron French - Administrator

Sir Arthur Jenkins

Horace Buttons

John Wilkin (office in clock tower building)


Clement Douglas Hobbs - http://www.chrishobbs.com/cdh.htm

Machel Serenna - http://www.aldous.net/thomas_aldous.htm

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A book is available - "THE HISTORY OF MIDDLEWOOD HOSPITAL 1872-1972 by F.T THORPE"

The Middlewood Hospital Sheffield

One Hundred Years 1872-1972

F.T.Thorpe F.R.C. Psych.

p60, booklet

Illustrations - B&W


Picture Sheffield - http://www.picturesheffield.co.uk

Sheffield Paranormal - http://www.sheffieldparanormal.co.uk/page3.htm

Wadsley Park Village - http://www.wadsleyparkvillage.co.uk/history.html

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Guest codeyes

That was very interesting......................an old mate of mine used to be a porter there in the late 60's and 70's..........he told me, at the time

There were a lot of "in character" patients there at the time. These ranged from patients who thought that they were and dressed as, among others, Florence Nightingale and Napoleon

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There's more to come as we continue our research on the place - it's a fascinating place and the more you find out the more you want to know !

Interesting that the doctors would treat schizophrenia by administering insulin ?

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Here's a mega dump of pics from the run down hospital

Some truly exceptional pictures here folks..































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There's more to come as we continue our research on the place - it's a fascinating place and the more you find out the more you want to know !

Interesting that the doctors would treat schizophrenia by administering insulin ?

It always worked for us two ;)

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The lawn in front really makes a MASSIVE difference

I spoke to the chaps currently developing the building and they are going to resurrect the lawn and get it looking mint again

Have to say - the plans for the place sound brilliant !

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Guest coffee cup

What about the "Normal Hospital" which was in the grounds of Middlewood Hospital ?

There were Hut like wards at the top of the road into the hospital grounds l remember visiting a relative when I was very young. I think it was Wharncliffe Hospital. This hs been gone now a long time.

The people in Middlewood even upto recent times were not all mad or a threat, I remember when my mother worked there, and I have spent many afternoons in the company of the patients.

Some of their history is very sad.

There was one lady who had had a child out of wedlock so she was put there, she had been there that long that no way could she be integrated back ito society, it was very wrong.

Had my son been born some 60/70 years ago then he too would have been admitted to such a place.

He has mild ADHD. and as this would not have been considered as normal, would have been installed as an inmate, sorry patient !! Thanks to Margaret Thatcher who wanted to integrate such back into society, we will not see such people put ito an Asylum.

Don't get me wrong, I lived and went to school very close to Middlewood Hospital, and some of the patients were free to go as they pleased. I remember a chap called Walter, he used to wear a Wisewood School Tie, he wasn't a threat, he used to wait outside the school to talk to the kids, although I know a lot used to make fun of him.

I'd also heard that David Bowie's aunt was a patient in Middlewood too.

If it was still open perhaps it could have been a place for our so called stars to go for therapy !!!!!

Middlwood carries the stigma of being an an Asylum, but most of the patients were not mad.

:(:( :(

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You are absolutely correct

This is very true and some of the stories are just unbelievable.

Things like single parents, people with behavioural problems and other things that are now just part of normal life were locked away in the hospital.

Shocking and I think it's not discussed much because society and those responsible are now ashamed of the whole thing.

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I wonder what has happend to the dare I say it "safe Patients " as they have been in there that long, I doubt if they have been integrated back into society", it is all very sad and I hope lessons have been learnt from this. There were far too many in there that shouldn't have been.

:(:(:(:(:( :(

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Guest Hennypenny

Walter is still around, he always gives my dad a birthday card as their birthdays are close together, and a Christmas card with a kitcat in - often at least 3-4 months in advance :)

Dad gives him a couple of small cigars in return - Walter specifies which type he likes and is most disapointed if he doesn't get the right type :rolleyes:

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More information on Walter.

My wife nursed him for years before she retired.

Walter's birthday is in April and he doesn't smoke. He breaks the cigars up and gives them to friends for "roll ups".

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