Stone House HospitalEdit profile
Stone House Hospital, formerly the City of London Lunatic Asylum, was a hospital and former mental illness treatment facility in Stone, near Dartford, Kent, in the United Kingdom. As of November, 2007 the hospital has been closed, and bids have been taken for its redevelopment to house luxury flats. Stone House was originally constructed between 1862 and 1866 at the behest of the London Commissioners in Lunacy to provide for pauper lunatics from the London area at a cost of £65,000 The buildings were designed in a Gothic brick style by James Bunstone Bunning, and the facility accommodated 220 patients. The asylum grounds, at first 33 acres (130,000 m 2) and later expanded to 140 acres (0.57 km 2), included a working farm. Additions to the original buildings were made in 1874, 1878, and 1885, including an expanded female wing and a separate hospital building for patients with infectious diseases. The first medical superintendent of the Asylum was Dr. Octavius Jepson, who served from the opening of the facility through 1887; on his death twelve years later, he was buried in the asylum's cemetery. He was succeeded by Dr. Ernest White, who served until his retirement in 1904. The third superintendent was Dr. Robert Hunter Steen, who was in turn succeeded in 1924 by Dr. William Robinson. Robinson retired in 1942, but due to wartime staff shortages his permanent replacement, Dr. Hardwick, was not appointed until 1946; on the takeover by NHS his new title became Physician Superintendent, which brought additional powers and responsibilities. He was succeeded upon his retirement in 1959 by Dr. Cates (1959-1963), who was the last to hold the title, as the NHS decided to delegate day-to-day operations to a chief Consulting Psychiatrist. After 1892, the asylum was able to take "private" patients (patients whose fees were paid by their families, or from pensions). The influx of private patients resulted in a budget surplus, and enabled expansion and improvements of the asylum's facilities. In 1924 the facility was renamed the City of London Mental Hospital, and in 1948 it was taken over by the new National Health Service and became known as Stone House Hospital. A 1998 assessment by Thames Healthcare suggested that the hospital was not suited for modern healthcare; plans for the hospital's closure were initiated in 2003 by West Kent NHS. Among its most famous patients was the poet and composer Ivor Gurney, who resided there from 1922 until his death in 1937.