Little Plumstead Hospital – Norfolk

Little Plumstead was home to Norfolk’s main “mental deficiency colony”. In recent years, it has closed down. Sadly a lot of the buildings have been demolished to make way for housing. Part of the site remains in use as a hospital. This section is due to close soon, with around 100 patients moving to community-based services. I think a re-visit will ensue before more houses are built.

External photos

Not much remains at Little Plumstead – of the “live” part, only a few buildings are empty. A country mansion-style building for administration purposes, and a couple of villas.

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Only one building was open. Based on a document found in here (an incontinence products chart), I presume this was a villa for males.

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This entry was posted in Asylums and Hospitals, norfolk. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Little Plumstead Hospital – Norfolk

  1. lunar says:

    Hiya, if you havnt already, check out Fairfield Hospital just outside Arlesey its Bedford way. Huge victorian asylum, part lived in now, half is still derelict. Soo worth a visit anyway. If you want more info mail me got loads of pics and history, directions etc. Also St Crispins at Northamptons pretty cool

  2. richardb says:

    Did a short locum in the pharmacy at Little Plumstead Hospital back in 1978. It was a delightful open place, and both staff and patients wandered around quite freely. In those days, ID badges were seldom used, people knew each other, and security was very low key. It was sometimes hard to tell the difference between the patients and the medical staff – they were all crazy!

  3. Nicky says:

    Hey we went and couldn’t find a way to get in, the places which people got in before r proper boarded up. How did u get in?

  4. sue garrood says:

    i worked here for 20yrs up until about 10yrs ago and am still in the service, although not perfect we all took a pride in the service and home we offered to people. there have been a few break ins and squatters who unfortunately did not only abuse the buildings but also abused the some of the remaining residents/patients and staff! very sad pictures particularly as this the ward i worked on and managed.

  5. steve says:

    I did my nurse training at Little Plumsted Hospital in 1980 -83. The nursing school was in the old hall and I lived in the male nurses home above the nursing school. I met my wife at the hospital, we lived in a hosptial house adjoining the hospital grounds. My daughter was christened in the church next to the hosptial. Services have changed since those days beyond recognition, mainly for the better. However I have fond memories of my time there and am glad I had that experience. It’s sad to see the photos of dereliction.

  6. Jacky says:

    Have recently discovered that my Uncle who had Downs Syndrome lived in the Hall from 1948 until his death at 8 years of age in 1952. I am trying to find out where he was buried – have been told he may have been buried in the “Walled Garden” – does this mean anything to anyone?

  7. lauren says:

    jacky. the walled garden is over grown and locked up but there is a small clearing next to the walled garden. in the clearing there is a fairly new tombstone that has been put there to remember previous service users at the hospital.hope this helps.

  8. Jenna says:

    Where abouts in Little Plumstead is this building? Does anybody know if this building still exists? Or has it been knocked down for new houses to be built?

  9. sharna says:

    i have banked at little plum , many yrs ago it was a safe setting for inmates , now i don’t think gov’ or management care less , only getting there fat pay off with a large redundancy ,

  10. kyle harper says:

    i was geting in and out of old hall for a long time it was pretty in side as well as outside.

  11. laura says:

    Does anyone know if the hospital owns the houses approx a mile infront of this building, detached houses on copeman road? Desperately trying to find out who owns these houses so i can contact them. Thanks

  12. suzanne bailey says:

    I worked at little plumstaed for 2 years, and there are lot’s off diffrenet story’s that have been said but to be honest i have seen lot’s of things good and bad but mainly good! no matter what the team work was great and the service user’s were looked after to the best we were aloud.. to many pen pusher’s laying down the law.. stopping the workers doing there job.. but all in all i loved working and miss it. the workers and the service user’s..

  13. suzanne bailey says:

    Laura the houses on copeman rd are part of the hospital

  14. kasia says:

    hi, whould anyone know if it is still posible to go there, or who shall i contact if i would like to do the shoot? many thanks

  15. kyle harper says:

    LAURA iv got a lot of picture’s of the in side of the home’s out side of the glade if you what give me your email and il send them to you (that’s me)

    hi KASIA i have emailed the owner’s a lot at the moment thay don’t what no one in as kid’s brock in and made thay own desk’s and room’s you know like making it look nice in side agen but thay don’t like it sorry but if it help’s you

  16. kyle harper says:

    hi im know im only 14 year’s old but if any one is doing a shoot in the hospital give me a email
    i whould love to be abile to use a camra like you lot and get inside the hospital again my home is on the glade next to old hall and the mess hall
    so if i can give my a bell (

  17. cathy says:

    i woldnt advise u to go on site now as they will call police……… very strict. it used to be nice but now no no no. had good times and v bad times working there. staff great and they cared. miss it loads… i left working there 3yrs ago

  18. Photogirl says:

    I went there twice during July and several of the buildings were open, although the main building remains boarded up. It was obvious that people had been in and smashed stuff up between the two visits, which is just such a shame. The second time we went, the atmosphere was very different. There are so many relics from the past there, and I can totally understand how people that worked there are sad to see it as it is now. Whilst we were there we bumped into a couple of other people, who told us they had been asked to leave. We didn’t see anyone when we were on the site however.

  19. kado says:

    A close friend of ours lived at the asylum for a number of years. We are recording her memories. We would be interested to knwo if anyoen else has contact with service users who lived and worked there before 1985 (our friend was there for a cconsiderable time), and if there are any records/archive we could access to add to Life Story. Thanks!

  20. Helen Stanley (nee Masson) says:

    I worked at Lt.Plum Hosp between 1978 & 1983 in the physio dept. I loved it there and I learned a lot. The care of people with learning disabilities has moved on enormously since then. I still work in the same field but with social services in Surrey. Although it was a big institution, most of the staff at Lt Plum were very caring and did their best to give the residents a good quality of life.

  21. LR says:

    KADO would love to help, A s/u i worked with got an award for being longest serving resident, still working with previous residents, many stories to tell. Would love to hear if anyone remembers any s/u’s in particular?

  22. jac says:


    • Gail Bass says:

      I would just like to educate those who think the people at this unit are not scum bags and paedofiles. They are just human being who for one reason or another have mental health issues. They are looked after extremely well. It is the ignorance of those who make remarks such as this who need to be educated, All I can say is there for the grace go I. Maybe Jacqi you should think of how you would feel if you god forbid had a child with these problems and someone called them scum.

    • sean says:

      Wow ! what an ignorant comment.

  23. Dan says:

    Some interesting pictures and comments, i used to live very near by to the hospital,about 17plus yrs ago and regulary passed through the grounds as a shortcut with a friend of mine who lived in the village, security was non exsitant and we even ate in the canteen a few times! Last comment i find disturbing ‘jac’ on 17.04.10, as i visit the new housing estate with my children.

  24. KJ says:

    So, this place is closed? I thought it was still running? just paedophiles are there now??? When did it get shut down? Would appreciate any current info on hospital….Thanks

  25. Bri;ad says:

    What a great find this site is.

    In 1998 or so, I was a locum doctor and I remember the two weeks I spent as the only doctor in the place. They gave me this little chalet to live in, a bleeper and left me to it. In the whole two weeks I was bleeped twice!!

    I remember trying to find the hospital (pre sat nav of course).

    I was driving around and found a sign saying something like ‘Little Plumstead 1/2M ->’ and then I would drive about 1/2M and then find a sign saying ‘Little Plumstead 1/2M <-'

    Once I found it, everyone (staff and patients alike) were very pleasant. Some parts of it were crumbling then and it had an air of abandonment as the authorities had basically decided not to pay for this sort of humane mental healthcare any more


  26. Lou says:

    Im only 17 but have lived right next to the hospital all of my life, and my mum has lived in the staff houses for 25 years while working there. I do miss being able to go in there and have a look round, and its disappointing that it has mostly become derelict. It was a beautiful place to grow up, and being able to meet some of the patients and become friendly when I was little has made me less judgemental of people with mental disabilities. Im really going to miss it when its all gone, and im so proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

  27. lou says:

    jac, the secure unit that is still in use is not for paedophiles it is for mental health issues. i know this as i have worked with u/s’s who have been there.

  28. Bigsy says:

    When i moved from London 12 years ago to Norfolk i was doing some temp work on the grounds and was driving a van around the site and was stopped by a resident and we sat chatting for a while, he seemed pleasant enough , when i returned to the laundry room i was informed he was a paedophile and would not be trusted to be within 1 mile of small children, i absolutely swear i never went back to that place again, and firmly know it was full of some really sick fiddlers, as for today i cannot comment but it seems a sensible place to lock them up as it is in the middle of nowhere, personally i would burn them all alive !..children are precious and i would not have mine within a million miles of the place !. if that offends i dont care , paedophiles are scum .

  29. T says:

    does anyone know what sort of people reside at the hospital?
    There are conflicting reports. A new primary school is currently
    being built which concerns me.

  30. Phil Tompson says:

    Stanley Tompson was my adopted father who worked at ‘little plum’ for many years up until the early 1980’s. Fond memories of my childhood lived in such close proximity of the hospital an it’s residents…. it really was an amazingly safe place… perhaps partly due to growing up with none of the fear which so many parents instill in their children these days. Certainly was a different era then… perhaps not everything about methods of care were right, but the sense of community spirit at the place was fantastic. Fond memories of watching early James Bond movies in the hospitals’ own cinema for free!

  31. Gail says:

    I have spent many many years working as part of the team at Little Plumstead Hospital from 1976 onwards. it was an amazing place with just as amazing staff who cared very much for those they looked after. I feel angry when I read some of the coments made regarding those who live there. It is so sad that people have so little regard for those who suffer problems. I feel it is just pure ignorance on their part.
    If you ask anyone who worked here and dedicated the best years of their lives and still do today how they felt.
    Please will you all think very carefuly about the remarks you make as everyone should be treated with respect regardless of their problems.

  32. james says:

    I now work with some tenants that used to attend the hospital i have only ever hear bad things about staff. e.g abuse to the tenants and so on can anyone elibirate on this and maybe even change my opinion of the place.?

    • Charlie says:

      James, if you are working with tenants that previously lived at LPH and they have disclosed this kind of information to you, then as a professional you should not be seeking confirmation on a site like this. If anything you are looking for ‘gossip’. If someone you care for has reported such things then you need to speak to your line manager of you have concerns, not attempt to raise discussion here. I don’t mean to offend in anyway but it’s not very professional if these people are still in your care.

  33. Phil Tompson says:

    Surprised more people don’t comment on here…

    • Mervyn says:

      Anyone remember Lawrence – staff member? Would do anything for anybody; a real kind-hearted soul who lived in the Old Hall and must have worked on all the wards in his time. Fond memories. Plus David Dale, Steve Potter, Jimmy Gee and a host of others whose names I forget just now; head of Kevill-Davies with a French-sounding name? Tony Siveter, Janice Burgess, Rod Townend…………….etc., etc.

      • roeland says:

        I was one of the dutch students who worked at LPH in the early 90’s. I stayed with another student, who is now my wife, in the old Hall. We met Lawrence every day. He was vere kind to us during our stay. A remarkable man who was devoted to the work he was doing. He said things we still remember, like: ” i don’t travel by train, people keep spilling coffee over ya”.
        I hope he’s doing fine.

      • Mervyn says:

        Thanks for your comment roeland. I’m sorry to say that Lawrence died sometime during the mid-nineties, before I left LPH. As you say, a remarkable and a very kind man, to everyone. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in remembering him. A real character!
        Ourense, Spain.

  34. gail says:


    I lived in Little Plumstead for a couple of years between 1983 – 1987

    Could anybody tell me what the junior and infant school was called and if it still there ???

    Thanks for helping


  35. Diane Gow nee Munford says:

    Gosh finding this site brought back some memories! I was a nursery nurse there from 1974 – 76 on a newly established childrens ward M3 or Puffin House. We had fifteen children and five to six staff but also worked on F7 where we had 28 children in one dormitory. we sometimes had only four staff. The only positive was compulsary schooling so the children got out each day. I have lots of memories of working with Jane ? Clare Stibbard, (still friends) riotous parties at the social club, the nurse who brought home a very tall blonde German guy from a beer festival and we kept him in the nurses home for quite a while! The worry of a prowler who had keys to the wards and the nursing officers who used to visit wards at night on a bicycle. the charge nurse who went fishing in the lake one night and used the ward keys to weight the line, needless to say they sank and were lost. Yes lots of great stories but a sad way for indivduals to live. Four kids later I live in Aus, run my own disability planning consultancy and help ensure people have great lives in the community
    Diane Gow nee Munford

  36. Joolz says:

    I now live directly opposite the Old Hall on that new housing estate. I’m shocked at how neglected the site is now and to see the pictures inside the hall just makes me even more sad. As a building, the Old Hall has an impressive history which is sadly crumbling. I hear it is now doomed to become luxury apartments!!

  37. welly says:

    lph is still going with accomodation for ld &mental health patients they are not scum as some idiots on here refer to them,unfortunatly ignorance rules in thier case.

  38. kyle says:

    i live on the new houseing astate im only 16 but have a deep intreste with in the old hospital site and has had the optuitie to pick up an old LPH star pin badge which is made of brass i dont know much about it so i was hoping one of you guy’s could help me im under the inpresstion it was worn by nurse’s.

    thanks, kyle

  39. says:

    I have just visited LPH, and am disgusted how the buildings are being left to deterioate. So much history, and at a whim is declining into nothing. The current owners, whoever they may be, need to consider preserving the remaining buildings. What an audacity to put The Lodge up for sale via Howards, Estate Agents. What fool is going to buy it now it is devoid of its roof tiles, and who has made a packet removing and selling same ?.
    I have professional memories associated with LPH, which are generally positive, and the care and commitment of nursing staff who worked there, and now retired, wonder how long it will be before history repeats itself, with decisions made for the need for places such as LPH was, to be provided again. It was a self sufficient community, including its own farm and producing its own food and vegetables. Someone, including the Health Authority and central Government, has made a packet from closing LPH, but are those decanted to the ‘community’, receiving the same care and security they require as they did here.?.
    In my day, you did not need a 20foot security fence to retain those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, and will Oak View close eventually ?. Remember, so called progress and development is solely reliant on being positive by the history that came before some ‘progressives’ were born. Would welcome comments, but be prepared for me to knock holes in your ‘modern’ approach to Learning Disability. !. Bring back a young enthusiastic Dr O’Callaghan and his devoted staff.

  40. Dorothy Locke says:

    I am trying to trace my step brother Joseph Wass who was in LPH. If anyone knows of his whereabouts or remembers him please let me know

  41. Ltr says:

    Does anyone remember kathleen riches?

  42. Ltr says:

    she was a patient.. colourful character, i think most knew her from telling fortunes and smoking!

  43. Rosie says:

    My Grandfather Dr J V Morris was superintendent of Little Plumstead hospital from 1929-1965, he had sole control of over 800 patients, a terrifying thought. My mother was brought up there by her grandparents after her mother died of TB in the early 1930s. She had vivid memories of visiting the wards on christmas morning. My granfather was engaged to the matron for 13 years! They eventually married.
    He was a tall, well built irishman, a fellow of trinity College Dublin, a keen sailor who was commodore at near by Wroxham and also a very keen fisherman. He liked whisky.
    My grandfather was known as ‘the benign dictator’, sounds like a north korean leader doesn’t it ?
    When I was a child and my grandfather was again widowed in old age and living away from LP he would take me to the pub, have a bit too much whisky and then, as he was not a terribly child orientated babysitter, he’d do ink-blot tests on me!
    i wish I had had a chance to look around the site before it was broken up.

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