Stafford County Lunatic Asylum

Stafford County Asylum opened in 1818 to accomodate 120 patients. Over the years it expanded and housed around 1000 patients. During the 1950s, it was renamed St George’s Hospital. Like so many other asylums, it closed in the mid-1990s. There are plans to convert the Grade II listed buildings into “100 distinctive dwellings”, and work should be starting in 2008.

Living in Stafford a few years ago, I would often get a tantalising glimpse of the asylum from the nearby ring-road. I sometimes wondered what it was like inside. I didn’t do anything about it, indeed almost forgetting about it when I moved away. Five years later I finally got the chance to look around. Stafford Asylum is, by far, one of the most derelict buildings I have visited. Time has not been kind to it, suffering at the hands of both vandals and nature. There are no windows and very few ceilings. Floors are squidgy and rotten, if they are there at all!


You can’t help but admire this behemoth of a building. At four storeys high and around 300m long, it would’ve made an impressive sight on the Stafford marshes in it’s heyday. Sadly it’s glory now hides behind a huge overgrown mess of trees.

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Lower levels

The lower levels of the asylum are relatively interesting. Corridors, some isolation rooms (with the most colourful array of doors I have seen in an asylum), engineering rooms, a delightfully dingey pharmacy, and so on…

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There is a small double chapel in the asylum, strangely found on the second floor.

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Main hall

The main hall is perculiar – it is full of scaffolding. Presumably an attempt to prevent it collapsing after previous arson attacks.

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The main staircase is rather impressive, a square-spiral affair complete with anti-suicide cages. Someone had tried to throw a door down, with no success.

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Upper floors

There are huge holes in the roof, and they are slowly making their way down to ground-level. Needless to say, not much of the upper floors were explored…

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294 Responses to Stafford County Lunatic Asylum

  1. Trouble says:

    Right,had a friend round here last night,he worked in the old place from 1977 till it closed ,then on one of the wards till he left in 2004. He says that pic 5 is taken on Wheaton Aston ward looking towards the female lift(?)
    Then,pic 7 has Ricky Mills’ office 1st door on the left,then a couple of Drs offices then you have League of Friends.
    Pic 11 is of the old kitchen,
    he’s walked every single stair and floorboard in the building so knows the old place quite well. Like me,he wouldn’t mind a looksee at how it is now.

  2. James says:

    Anyone know the whereabouts of Gerry Moore?

  3. Trouble says:

    Had a bit of a natter with Mark Melvin this dinnertime,asked him about the cine films his mum took. He hasn’t got a clue,but suggested mentioning it to his sister Tricia or Randy Salmon. Randy isn’t a problem,see him quite a bit.

    • says:

      The films were recorded when trish melvin was [ bird in a guilded cage ] happy memories of bygone days
      Corrine Hollis , sang lots of songs , lovely voice,sadly gone now, but never from the memory of those who knew her

  4. Trouble says:

    Walked home past the old site as usual on Thursday,bloke there doin a survey on the trees immediately opposite the front. He says that the owners are goin be tidyin the grounds up,make it look better. Work on the building should be starting asap too.

  5. bongus says:

    new pics on 28dayslater including a never seen before model of the hospital found in a celler exposed by the fire…well worth a look

  6. Trouble says:

    Work has now started on that small village I heard that bloke in a hardhat talkin about. And according to last weeks Newsletter the olds place has a new owner. Wouldn’t it be nice if once it’s done up,all the folk that had worked in there were invited to have a noz round? I don’t mean en mass! Even I would be frit to death of meeting such a crowd lol! Had a look on 28dayslater,that model is something isn’t it?

    • bongus says:

      yeah..wish i had seen it when i had a snoop round last year (pre fire)

    • bridgette says:

      Never worked at ‘Georges’ a I call it, no connection whatsoever, but it is a magnificent old building. Just walked the dog round there as I do a few times a week and I just hope that when it is ‘done up’ they will retain as many of the original features as possible – but you know something makes me wonder whether this is going to be the case.

  7. David Budden says:

    It was because of overcrowding in the Stafford Asylum that a second asylum (later known as St. Matthew’s Hospital) was built in Burnwood. It was opened in 1864.

    • David Budden says:

      Further to the above: A third County Asylum for Staffordshire was built near Cheddleton and opened at the turn of the century.

  8. bongus says:

    yes… st edwards

  9. andy barron says:

    Can anybody tell me ( “trouble” your friend might know) did a tunnel exist between the hospital and the prison. I have been told this but unsure if it is true. The idea being that if prison inmates lost the plot they went straight into the hospital via the tunnel. What a scary thought if true. Anybody help

  10. bongus says:

    i have heard this but personally never saw any evidence of it whilst i worked there

  11. kath cox says:

    I worked there nearly 28yrs never heard of tunnel below, worked alot with Don Perkins who told me lots of tales of the war years in st georges , fire watch on the roof etc, if a tunnel existed , Don would have known about it

    • pam couchman says:

      Hi there

      Very interested to know about St Georges. My great aunt Doris Fieldhouse spent over 40yrs there, would be interested to know if you might remember her.

      Many thanks

      Pam Couchman

  12. brian simms says:

    As per Kath’s reply, – No tunnel – it’s another urban myth ! ! !

    Some Patients were there in place of a prison sentence, due to the psychiatric element of their personality/crime.

    There were however a number of crawl-spaces/ductings for access to cables, pipes etc.

  13. Trouble says:

    I was told bout a tunnel from the hospital all the way to the castle,like Brian says,just an urban myth. Believe me,one of us would’ve found it if indeed it had existed.

  14. bongus says:

    lots of interesting cellars, small spaces (as brian says) and strange little areas but no tunnel

  15. Trouble says:

    I used to have a master yale key that got me into anywhere. Was going go down the big cellar once but saw a spider so shot back into the main corridor!
    I do miss the old place,as do many,let’s hope that the powers that be start working on it very soon.

  16. bongus says:

    me and a mate who worked in the old place used to have a good poke about and found some interesting things in the old cellars, patient records all hand written in huge old books etc, such a shame that they were all rotting away…records of peoples lives left in damp old cellars, very sad

    • Ray says:

      Some of those large books have survived and are now in the Staffordshire Records Office.
      I got permission to photgraph the pages with my great grandmothers admission and progress… They took a picture on admision and discharge.

      I for one am very gratefull to whoever recued those books

  17. bridgette says:

    thanks for the photos – always wanted to go and have a look

  18. bongus says:

    hurry….before its too late

  19. jordan says:

    hello, im hoping someone will read this but im hoping to take some photos there for a college assignment, is there still plenty to look at and photograph? would appreciate any replies, thanks

  20. Trouble says:

    The ban imposed on Bovis has now run out,so I presume work will resume on Monday. Wonder how long they’re goin leave it before work starts on the old building?

    • Ria says:

      The demolition of parts of the site made toally unsafe by two large fires, and the refurbishment of the rest of the building has now begun in earnest and will now continue until complete. Bovis have had several public events to keep everyone informed of what is going on and when, and more will be held in the future. These have been in the Guildhall Shopping Centre so easily accessible. It is s great shame that a large part of the building has got to go because of the fires.

  21. Ken Rowley says:

    I am doing some family research and have found that my grandfather died in St Georges,Stafford in 1926. However despite extensive enquiries I cannot find where he was buried. he came from Wolverhampton but I can find no record of hime being buried there.I understand some residents of the hospital who died were buried in the grounds. Does anybody out there have any knowledge of this and of where the records may now be kept.

    Ken Rowley.


    • kath cox says:

      This is a special note to all the people on here, who are trying desperately to find information out, regarding relatives, who were patients in St. Georges in past times. When I worked there, and the hospital was intact, I used to be aware of, and have seen, ancient case notes, which were housed then in a basement under Sandon Villa – the big building behind the present admission wards. Now I have no idea where they might be, indeed, they might still be there. Then, St. Georges was part of Mid Staffs Health District, which in turn, was part of Staffordshire Area Health Authority. Now St. Georges belongs to South Staffs and Shropshire NHS Trust, for some bizarre reason – there is no more Mid Staffs. Anyway, I reckon the way forward for you all, is as follows:- Write to or telephone:-

      Neil Carr OBE – Chief Executive

      Trust Headquarters
      01785 221501
      internal ext 5501

      I’m sure he, or one of his team will be able to sort something out for you all.
      Good Luck
      Jon C

  22. kath cox says:

    I reposted the above , as I remembered seeing it on here last year /// hope it helps

    We worked at st georges in the 1960,s burials were always at the big cemetery up near stone road stafford // you could check the register there

  23. jules geraci says:

    Could anyone tell me if this derelict hospital is near to the present St. George’s Mental health hospital? I’m not from Stafford but I know the area.

  24. Trouble says:

    Right next door to it flower. And you probably won’t find any of the old case notes. I’ve been told Ricky Mills had the lot burnt!

  25. Trouble says:

    My names Les or Lesley,worked at St.Georges for 21years so far. Started on the domestic side and worked my way sideways to the staff restaurant,or Georges as it’s now known,I’m the 1 that greets you with a smile when you come in!
    Do you work there then George? I know bout the case notes being burnt mainly because I talk to people who have worked there as long as I have.

    • George. says:

      Thanks for the information Les. I worked at St George’s from 1967 to 1977, on the nursing staff.

      • Sue says:

        Have asked before but thought I would try again does any nursing staff remember my Gt Aunt Doris Fieldhouse she was a patient there from the 1930s till about 1991

  26. Graham Park says:

    For family research reasons I have just received a death certificate for ‘Clarence’ who died at the age of 18 on 20th January 1925 as an inmate of the County Mental Hospital in Stafford for whom B.H. Shaw was the medical superintendent and informant. I have read the above comments and am confused as to which one Clarence would have been resident in. Can anyone help, please?

  27. marcus leach says:

    my dad used to work there around 1987 to 1990 remember as a child pulling up in the car by the main entrance and him telling me about the dungeons. does anyone remember my dad john henry leach RMN

  28. I grew up near the old asylum..I remember it well..We often heard storys of ‘rooms’ down below where the really bad cases were kept..Nonsense of course but great when your’e a kid..I’m going home for a short holiday soon..It would be a sin not to look in on the old place..I’m very much into taking pics of derelict buildings so this one has got to be seen…My Dad spent time there getting off drink..He told me that Arthur Lucan..’Old Mother Riley’..died in the same room..Dad never drank again..

  29. Is this the hospital on corporation st..Or the one on the hil at Coton Fields..?

    • Trouble says:

      Ray,the hospital on Coton Fields was demolished to make way for the District General Hospital (waste of a lovely building if you ask me!). This hospital is the Corporation Street one. Loved by many except builders.

  30. brian simms says:

    Hi – as per previous Posts – still looking to add to collection of old Photos of St George’s and Coton Hill Hospitals.
    A few people have already dug through their old boxes and kindly passed them on / scanned them for me.
    If you have anything relevant to either Hospital or know of anybody who may – please get in touch.
    I am especially keen to be in touch with Mark Melvin or his sister Tricia as their mum Vi , bless her , took a lot I believe.

    • Trouble says:

      Brian,I spoke to Mark bout this a bit ago,he says the best person to talk to is Tricia. He hasn’t a clue what happened to all the old cine films he mum had.

      • brian simms says:

        Hi Trouble –
        Yes it would appear that Trish is the one who may be able to help but I can’t remember her current married name and don’t know where she is now or how to contact her.
        I would be grateful if Mark could put me in touch with her again.

      • Trouble says:

        It’s Tricia Haywood. If I see Mark i’ll ask if he will get in touch. I’m sure bump into him sometime.

      • brian simms says:

        Thanks a lot for that

  31. kath cox says:

    Lucan, as ‘Old Mother Riley’ was last seen on stage at the Theatre Royal, Barnsley on May 14, 1954. The following Monday he was to appear in revue at The Tivoli, Hull. Ellis Aston was the first on stage to compere the forthcoming show. But Lucan had collapsed behind the scenes and died shortly after in his dressing room. He was 68 years old. The site now houses a bakery and cafe, where there is a memorial bust of Arthur Lucan, together with various memorabilia from his career. He is buried in Hull’s Eastern Cemetery. Lucan was a member of the Savage Club. In recent years, the Club has held Old Mother Riley evenings, as a tribute to Lucan’s talent.

  32. kat says:

    Hi can any 1 help with information on a david williams I believe he was in st georges around 1978 thankyou

  33. david says:

    Hi there hoping someone could help, my grandfathers mother devolped Puerperal fever also known as milk fever after she gave birth to my grandfather in 1933 and ended up in st georges hospital sometime in 1933/4 at 33 years old. After that she stayed there until she died in December 1994 aged 94 so 66 years in the hospital, non of my family knows anything about her as my grandfather ended up being adopted and he only found out about his mother shortly before she died when he usto come to st georges hospital to visit her. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Elkington nee prescott, if anyone remembers her or has any photographs of her i would grately appriciate it thankyou.

    • Kath Cox says:

      HI there,
      I wish with all my heart I could help you. I worked at st georges for many years ,1960 till the 80.s but I cannot recall this lady, what a tragic story as nowadays Puerperal psychcosis is so easily treated , but if it is any consolation to you my memories of life in the hospital were all happy ones , in the early years farm in grounds, lovely gardens ,very active OT unit social activities etc… ran like a small town .when care in the community was introduced, people did,nt want to leave what they had been used to for many years
      The tragady being these people should not have been committed to the hospital in the first place , some just for having a child out of wedlock, being raped, or like your grandother, having a very common illness associated with childbirth
      I remember hours of fun, and laughter, on the big units of the 60.s , garden fetes, fancy dress dances , trips to the seaside, bingo, sewing classes …….yes the ladies made lots of their own clothes, and aprons, , every patient had two bars chocolate a week, and fruit every day … maybe you can console yourself that the life she had was a happy one/// even though so sad for her family

      • Diane Gilbert says:

        My uncle Alfred Benjamin Bloor was a patient at St.Georges Hospital from the age of 19 until he died at the age of 47 – do you remember him – we used to collect him to stay with us at weekends occasionally when he was older he died in 1971 – he was very quiet but an intelligent man and very clever at making things from wood – particularly lamp stands – was he able to make these things at St. Georges.

      • Stephanie Harris says:

        I agree with you, it was a hospital which was caring with a real sence of community and the patients well cared for. Of course many of the in patients in acute wards presenting with depression and anxiety disorders are now seen in community settings. I treat similar problems as a CBT therapist in an IAPT service.
        I was a trainee psychiatric nurse and then a staff nurse working on an acute admission ward (Can’t remember the name. Sister was Rosemary) from 1986-1980.
        I came accross this website after contacting pensions as I have a gap in my MHO status for the period I was was employed at St Georges and records no longer exist.
        If anyone has a job decription from those days it would be very helpful.

  34. roy shirley says:

    Hello I have just come across this site. i worked at st georges from 1965 to 1974. Iregognise most of the staff names thatI have seen posted, including people who have put posts on, Bill Sim Brian Simms , Kath Cox and Ian Ward . Back in a posting of 2010 May some one asked about David Male. David worked in Dudley in the 70′ and 80’s at the same hospital i worked at. i am about to retire in the next few months after nearly 47 years in the nhs. i am trying to track my staff record from 1965 to 1974 as my file only apparently goes back to 1974 when i moved to Dudley to work for Mike Phillips( started at St Georges and ended up at West Midland Regional Health)

  35. David Porter says:

    I worked at St. Georges from 1987 – 2003. Initially in the stores (was called the RDC) then after doing my training, as a staff nurse. Have great memories of working in the old building, it had a real community feel to it, great characters both staff and patients. When I worked in the stores / Works dept. I had access to the cellars (of which there was a well) and the roof space / attic. The water tower was quite amazing too.

  36. Joy Higginson says:

    Whilst researching my family history I discovered a great, great uncle of mine passed away in Stafford Asylum as it was known then. He died from T.B. and was committed there as suffering from Epileptic Insanity. He was 42 and I have found this very touching as I never knew he existed. Since then I have been trying to find information about the Asylum and have not had much luck but seeing photos on the net it looked a very forboding place.

  37. brian simms says:

    For Anyone trying to find information about relatives who were patients in St George’s you may find it a time consuming and frustrating task.
    The National Archives can be a useful basic place to start.

    But “Gateway to the Past” may be more fruitful if you, have the time and stamina, to delve into it’s tree-structure;
    Search on:-
    County Asylum Stafford
    then – No. 10 – Records of St Georges County Asylum Stafford
    then – using the Tree/Folder symbols
    then – Patient Records
    then – Try whatever you think may apply
    You will NOT be able to view Info on-line but Make a Note of any applicable Record Numbers and save them.
    NOTE “There are Access Restrictions and the 100 yr Rule etc.”

    Next port of call is the Staffordshire Records Office who are very helpful – especially if you have the Record Numbers for them to reference.
    You will, of course, have to prove and argue your case as a Bona-Fide Relative.

    I hope this is of some use to you.

  38. rebecca mason says:

    I have recently found out that my dad was in st georges for 8 weeks in mid 70s. his name was tom (thomas) mason. i dont suppose anyone remembers him or knows any information about why he was in?


    • Trouble says:

      I’d love to help you Becky,sadly hands are tied on giving information on former/present patients,due to patient confidentiality. I’d use the route Brian advises above. Good luck with your search,I hope you find the information you’re searching for. I take it you have no relatives who could help you?

  39. Phil Warelow says:

    Dear all
    I have enjoyed reading comments from old staff members. I worked at St Georges from 1970 – 74 and then again from 1984-6. Remember Kath Cox, Roy Shirley and Brian Simms. Brian if you have old pictures of Coton Hill and St Georges I would love to see some of them.
    Remeber those happy days at the social club?

    • brian simms says:

      Hi Phil, good to see that you are alive and kicking. Yes I remember lots of good times, both on duty and off. Are you still in the Antipodes ?
      It’s nice that this Site has enabled lots of people to reconnect. There are still quite a few of us on Friends Reunited and Facebook and I will be posting news of a new, dedicated Site soon – all about the old places – Old Photos etc and a place for anecdotes, reminiscences etc.
      Watch this Space.


    • roy shirley says:

      Hello to Brian and Phil.
      I well remember those days at the social club, happy days. As I put in my post I am about to retire, in fact at the end of February, I well remember you Phil, and Ian Ward, somewhere I have a photo of us ( Graham Simpson, Ian, Roger Beech, and Mick Morgan) outside the Kings Head.
      I often sit and talk about those days with my wife Pam.
      Iwould love to hear from you and anyone else from those days.

  40. bill sim says:

    hi roy-phil i remember the good times we had in st-georges club also the good times we all had at work on the wards it was like one big happy family

    • roy shirley says:

      Nice to hear from you Bill after all these years. I certainly agree that we were one big happy family.
      I was sad to hear, from Brian Simms, that Kevin Till had died, it must be nearly 40 years since I worked with Kevin. But I have happy memories of Kevin and Larry Morrisey on Farmer Ward.

  41. Dave says:

    Does anyone know where I can find more recent pictures of this site?

    • Ed says:

      You don’t want to see more recently photos, they are of a building site, the asylum still stands but all gardens, and drive ways now are a building pile. There is a new estate opposite it now.

  42. Kath Cox says:

    hi Phil. good days , lost touch with many , but talk about the 60 s and 70,s being our best days///
    we ran a hotel in Blackpool for 20years , then 7 years ago moved to Corfu Greece //// in view of austerity measures imposed this year / maybe not a good choice , but have the sea , and sun to enjoy till we fall off the perch , as Don Perkins would say

    Kath and Alf Cox

  43. Bryan says:

    Dave, unfortunitely the site is currently in the process of demolition, the back has been pulled back to the main building which will likely been gone soon. It’s lucky plenty of people have gotten the chance to go in and take photos because it’s going to be a shame when it’s gone. I’m still hoping to find a way in for a look before it’s gone for good but what with construction fencing it’s gotten even tougher.

  44. bongus says:

    its very dangerous in there these days and i wouldn’t recommend trying to get in. since the last big fire and then the demo work, its increasingly dodgy

  45. Phil Warelow says:

    G’day Bill
    good to hear from you and to find you well. I didn’t know that Kevin had died and was saddened by this news.
    I also remember those happy days on Farmer ward with Larry and Kevin. Also, Bill with you on Woolley and Male admission. I work in a place called Ballarat with is in Victoria, Australia. I teach Mental Health to undergraduate nursing students who do what is called a comprehensive degree programme. The University just employed a lady who also worked at St Georges by the name of Patricia Awty – anyone remember her? She reckons Bill Jocelyn was a gentleman – I tell her she’s mad!!
    Anyone see Graham Simpson?
    Kath, you and Alf must be doing well Greece no less. I occasionally see Ian Ward who lives about 500 miles away in Adelaide. No change in Ian.
    Anyway all of you stay well. My email is

  46. Stephanie Harris says:

    I trained as a mental health nurse and worked as a staff nurse on an acute admission ward (can’t remember the ward name but the sister was called Rosemary) between 1986-1989
    I remember the hospital being a friendly place with a real sence of community, where the patients were well cared for. It’s really sad to see the photo’s of the derelict building. If anyone can help with the location of old staff records or job descriptions, I would love to hear from you. Stephanie

    • AMANDA DAVIS says:

      I’m not sure I have the right person but I was doing my general training whilst you were doing your psych. You had a head of lovely brown hair (lol) and were fairly tall – I am only 5’2″ so you would seem tall to me 😉
      I lived in the flats – block 2 – then moved into the nurses home. I think you lived in the block diagonally from me.

      Would be great to hear from you.

      Amanda 🙂

  47. Stephanie Harris says:

    My e mail address is

    • george buckley says:

      hi stephanie
      Ithink that the ward you worked on was Walton and perhaps the sister may have been Ros Jenkinson hope that helps , i was a pupil nurse on there for a while . Hope that helps yes very sad to see the old building as it is now lots of good memories working there from 1986 to 1997

  48. I was a Staff nurse there in the late 80’s. It’s an absolute disgrace to see a wonderful building go to rack and ruin. It is grade 2 listed!

  49. Phil Warelow says:

    I sent you a note on your provided email which bounced back. So you will have to look at your address again (should it be in lowercase?). Anyway, good to find you well.
    Anyone got pictures of Coton Hill?
    Anyone see Ray Beckwith?
    Do you all still use the social club?

  50. Thomas says:

    Anyone know the whereabouts of Tony McCoy?

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