Sandhill Park Hospital – Somerset

Sandhill Park was built in 1720 and was lived in until 1913.

In 1919 the Somerset County Council bought the house and converted it into a home for handicapped children. During WW2 it was used as a hospital/camp by the American Army. After the War it reverted to use as a hospital for handicapped children.

Blazes – The Fire Museum

I’ve seen some crazy stuff when exploring derelict asylums – x-rays, crap, pigeons, perfume bottles, cuddly toys, books. etc. But never a full-sized, real-life fire engine.

In its final years, Sandhill was home to the Blazes – The Fire Museum. It closed, but one fire engine remains…

June 2009 update – the fire engine has gone

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Newer buildings

The newer buildings at Sandhill are completely vandalised. In later years they were used by various small businesses…

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56 Responses to Sandhill Park Hospital – Somerset

  1. karla says:

    hello.
    i’ve been visitng the SandHill Hospital,and i cannot find anywhere that fire engine that you have on your page.
    i have been inside all the open buildings, i the barn and by that old car, but i cannot see the fire engine. could you please tell me where it is located at?
    i have a few ideas where it could possibly be but it means having to climb big gates and i don’t really want to do that if it isn’t nessasary.
    thanks.
    karla.

  2. sue says:

    I love your site its fantastic….I am a photographer and film maker. I am doing a small mucic video soon do you think I would be allowed in here to do it. The other deralic I loved was the ex Raf site in Norfolk inside the dome? I would love to film inside that its beautiful. Thanks for your help. Sue

  3. Jade says:

    Hiya i vistited sandhill in the dark OMG its so scary i look around most of it but could not see much but wat i saw was enough i probaly will go back there a couple more times but not quite sure x x

  4. adam burgess says:

    my grandfather used to work here back when it was a hospital , i find the place facinating , im popping up there again soon id love to have a look at his office , not sure how legal/scary this will be lol

  5. DMA says:

    I don’t know too much about Sandhill, but I remember that in the ’70s the kids from Merrifield (Tone Vale) used to go over there on Wednesday afternoons to use the swimming pool. I believe one or two of the Merrifield kids may even have been transferred to Sandhill. If that is true, then it would seem rather inappropriate, as I’m under the impression that Sandhill and Merrifield catered for somewhat different disorders (Merrifield was a children’s and adolescents’ psychiatric unit).

    Does anyone have any detailed information about the conditions Sandhill dealt with? After all, ‘hospital for handicapped children’, quite apart from being a dated expression, is rather vague.

    • Barrie says:

      Hi,
      I worked at Sandhill Park and the hospital had children from a very young age and up to and including adults. In those days the term was “Mental Subnormality” but now it would be more “Special Needs” Some of the patients were quite disturbed others suffered from Downs, epilepisy and many other situations which in those days they were resident in Sandhill Park. Today, children are in the community, have the right medical care and are often in ordinary schools. The hospital was a teaching hospital in beautiful grounds. I worked mainly on Clarks unit and used to have some great times with the children. We used to fly model planes, go for lovely walks and on Sundays ran a Sunday school where the children used to sing to my piano accordion. Much of the hospital han now been built on or turned to grass although the remaining buildings are falling down.

    • LouLou says:

      As Barrie has said it was for people with Downs Syndrome, ASD and the like. Referred to as Learning Disabilities now. I’ve worked with an ex resident, who successfully lives in the community now 🙂

  6. karen says:

    hi i visited sandhill park hospital earlier today,what a fascinating place although its been vandalised by grafitti and broken windows etc,would love to go again,definately a freaky place,with lots of history and stories to tell i can imagine,anyone know whats happening to the place,seems such a waste it has so much potential,anyone know anything please contact me on hinsondavis@aol.com thankyou

  7. caz mccormack says:

    i have visited sandhill many times i live in taunton and also know people who worked there when it was a childrens hospital.try as i might i can never find details of anyone who was ever a patiet there. i find the place both haunting and sad but just cant stop myself going there.

  8. phylis says:

    I believe the hospital catered for both children and adults with a learning disability. I have supported a number of adults who spent yrs at snadhill park as patients and now live in accomodation within the local community. Unfortunately most are unable to communicate verbally about their stay but some old staffsay it wasnt a bed of roses…

  9. DAB @ derelicte says:

    The fire engine has now gone – does anyone know where it went please?

  10. James says:

    sandhill is currently up for sale, and i believe the fire engine was either given away by the old owners, or sold.

  11. tom gibbins says:

    myself and a group pf friends are very keen to gain access to sandhill before any new development is carried out to take some photographs.Does anyone have an idea of who we need to contact for permission

    • Dea Gagoshidze says:

      I think you have to ask the farmer there, he’s always up there checking since there is always loads of teenagers going up there and trying to set fire to things..it’s really heart breaking 😥

  12. Frank says:

    I can get you in.

  13. tomi says:

    iv’e been up there a few times with friends its a cool place and my uncle was a patient there as a child.

  14. explorer kid says:

    this building looks prity good iv been in a hospital befor it was ok im young so i dident go far but im going again to the same one

  15. topov64 says:

    hi all,
    i find it quite saddening to see all these pictures of a place where i trained and worked many years ago, but i guess they call it progress , i have many happy memories of sandhill park, and these photos have re kindled many of them.
    topov

    • Barrie says:

      I trained at Sandhill as well. Yesterday I had a wander round but wasn’t allowed into any of the buildings. I would love to go there again and get some photos. I used to run a Sunday School there in Clarks. I just wish I had some photos when it was a hospital.

  16. riki says:

    just imagine how much that fire engine is worth!
    no wonder its gone its beautiful, i would be proud to drive that around town 😀

  17. janine gerrard says:

    i would love to find someone who used to work there and could tell us how things where and where things where would love hear the stories

  18. Suzi says:

    Hey…
    I have just been there, heard about it from some friends, so me and some guys went up there!! It was so sketchy in the dark!! We are gna go back there becasue it seems so fascinating!!

  19. Howard The Gnome says:

    Be warned guys, I live in Bishops Lydeard and the site is closely guarded now…..Got kicked out the other day! I agree with everyone tho, its a really cool place to visit and the old building is stunning x

  20. Dave 2010 says:

    Hiya

    Went there today, Security was non-existant !!! Was there for over an hour with no-one else about.

    Would love to get at all 4 of the cars in the compound, I know 2 are Allegros and 1 is a Metro but what is the other one ???

    My Mother was born and bred in Taunton and knows a lot about it so going there was quite an eye-opener !!!

    • jenny says:

      hi dave i was wondering if your mother would know anything about the school next to the hospital, Boys one side and girls the other side. I was there age 11 until 16 and would like to trace girls that lived there with me there’s allot of people talking about the hospital but nothing about the school thank you.

      • Barrie says:

        Hi,
        I have just read your comments on Sandhill Park Hospital. I worked there and trained there. Although I worked on several units, I was mainly on Clarks which is just past the single story school building. The house past Clarks was the home os the night charge nurse. I have many wonderful memories and find it so sad that it is now falling down.

      • Dave 2010 says:

        Hi Jenny
        Have asked my Mother and she is looking into it as she was born and bred in Taunton and did have 2 family members who were there as pateints during the ’60’s + ’70’s…….

  21. Dave 2010 says:

    ….Also the Fire Engine has DEFINITELY gone now 😦

  22. Dave 2010 says:

    I believe it went to the Fire Museum for a complete restoration

  23. Louise Barmford says:

    I went to sandhill earliar and i can just say it is a scary place. All the rumours you hear you dont belive, but when your there its anothet story. Would like to go up in the day, to have a better look, as night times are rather sketchy.

  24. sam says:

    hey
    i have been to sandhill during the day and night. when me and a few friends went during the day we met a guy with a dog and told us about the history and what we can and cant do there. he also took us to the pond where the wife of lethbridge committed suicide that was very scary even in the day it felt like we were being watched from the pond its self. then we went during the night about 2 months later and it had changed slightly. there was now blue rope across the entrance so we went through and kept looking around the mansion is alarmed so we didnt go in there. we were walking down the path by the other white buildings and it felt like something was watching us from the white building on the left hand side near the church. a few of my friends went to the church but then ran away as there was heavy breathing and felt like we were being watched. so we left but then we went back but we dont know why we went back after being scared thinking something was after us. we went back and it felt different again as if someone was with us watching us. we then found some old school paperwork on the floor but couldnt make out what it said but it was from sandhill. we wont to go back there during the day to go in and look at the buildings from the inside as we want to know why it closed. i have heard that they did have someone get in builders etc but they didnt do any work and left and didnt go back. but sandhill is on the market at the moment for £2.7 million. the mansion is alarmed and protected if any of the residence tell you to go i would otherwise they may call the police as it is getting ruined by thugs. i have researched sandhill online and only pictures from what we see now come up. i would like to know if anyone has pictures from when it was open? also is it true that if you were under 16 i think and you were pregnant you would be sent there? i dont know if its true but thats what people who use to work there told me.
    sam x

  25. dave J says:

    Went there today but must have bad timing as just as we got to the blue rope some chap turned up in a pick up and said we couldnt go through the rope as its private property.. just as someone with a dog come walking out.. wondered it the dog walker had set off the alarm? if any one knows if you can legally get in to have a look around please let me know, i havent got £2.7 mill so cant pretend to be a potential buyer..
    cheers now I have seen it from a distance i want to look round even more!!

  26. Jennifer says:

    Walked around Sandhill with family over the August Bank Holiday weekend 2010.
    A sad place, and I thought I glimpst a face in one of the top windows in the front.
    So I took a photo and it shows a strange apparition which is half way up in front of the house and looks like Victorian woman in a yellow hat and jacket, with what looks like a trailing white scarf. This is actually a mist with diamond shaped lights in it when I enlarged it up. Only half of her is visible (down to waist), and you can see right through her at some points. Photo taken on a clear sunny day, print is sharp and clear too-no trees or other objects in front of the lens. Does anyone know of any stories in the 1880-1890’s times about the occupants of the house, or have any experiences or photos with similar images?

    • Jessica says:

      hi jennifer, i went to sandhill with some friends and took loads of pictures of sandhill and have loads of pictures with faces in it (no joke) could you send me your picture id love to see it email to rockbottom619@hotmail.com id love to see it and see if it matches any of mine. thank you.x

    • Dave 2010 says:

      Quite possibly the wife of John Lethbridge who were major land owners around the area………..she commited suicide in the pond here

  27. Andy says:

    Hey, I’ve been there lots if times! The security bloke comes once or twice at night but u can hear if he comes! But he has no authority! The security cameras do not work and the alarms don’t work! The White buildings were used for the patients to sleep in and the big manor was for the staff, and kitchen, I’ve been speaking to a mate who used to work there and he said it was a very violent place and horrible things used to happen there!!! I agree when people say it’s scary there because of the history and horrible deaths that happened there! I always get the feeling someone is watching as I’ve walked through the buildings and have heard alot of strange noises there! I think people go there and have a look and see for themselves!

  28. Clive Joyce says:

    I was very surprised and saddened to see the old Magirus as I had presented it to the Blazes museum some 12 years ago. It had been one of the TLs. Used in Glasgow during the 60s and 70s.
    I would like to think it went to an enthusiast rather than the scrappy.
    If any one could give me a clue I would be grateful.

  29. schel says:

    Hey I’ve read some of the comments. Jennifer and jessica would you mind sending me those pictures to have a look? Me and my friends have recently taken to investigating paramoral activity. I’m interested in what’s been seen around the place. Here’s my addy: stripeyscarveswithtophatsandcanes@hotmail.co.uk

  30. Aimee says:

    Hey I’m thinking of going and having a look round pretty soon. I saw a few omments about strange deaths at the place ect and was wondering if anyone know about any websites where I could read some more about the history of the place? Thanks 🙂

  31. Laura says:

    i went there today as part as my photography project, we unfortunately couldn’t go into the mansion as it was boarded up, but we managed to get into all of the other buildings and they are all trashed with graffiti and glass everywhere. I heard a few bangs but thought it was just the wind.

    • Em n Si Burgess says:

      Hi Laura.My hubby n i went to SANDHILL PARK last sunday 27.3.11 n we thought it were gr8.Noticed in ur comment uve said u cldnt get into the mansion.Did u go around the back?There is a window that is not boarded up.you can get in that way.

    • hayes says:

      glad you like the place i actually loved the place, as i trained there in the eighties as a nurse, there were many more buildings all alas demolished, church,wards,swimming pool etc, think it was maybe a little scary now, it was bad enough doing waking nights on the wards !!!!

  32. Dani says:

    I went sandhill just tha other day. And its an amazing place. But the whole time mr and my mates wer walking around we felt we wer being watched. And we turned to one of tha white buliding nerist to the manision and we saw this six foot black figure in the top right coner window. And my mate shown his torch at the window and we saw it walk away and my mate screamend and ran we stayed and walked around. Then we saw a picture in a cuberd of a naked woman. A few months wen we went bk that picture we saw had changed in to somthing that looked like a nurse. :s pritty scary if u ask me. But wat a place thou so amusing!!

  33. john Swift says:

    went there once and was a great place to explore. whilst at school in the area back in the 1960’s we went somewhere to use the swimming pool. i could never work out where but have always wondered if it was Sandhill! does anyone know where the pool was at Sandhill as whilst there we could not find any trace of it. john@somerlap.co.uk

  34. Xena Whittington says:

    Hey,
    I went to sandhill today to take photos for an art project of derelict houses. It’s a bit off the beaten track, and you walk up a lane which is near a housing estate – i’d hate to live near sandhill! despite not being allowed there, we asked two people how to get there, and both were really friendly and helpful saying ‘have fun’. The first building is the manor building which is HUGE and boarded up, its beautiful. But you walk under a piece of blue rope, and just ignore the signs of private property.. the camera/s dont work… and as for it being alarmed… i dont think so.
    I REALLY WANT TO FIND A WAY INTO THE BIG BUILDING. does anyone have any ideas how to get in?
    i went walking around all the outbuildings… it was amazing to see something so derelict. we went to the block that was the office building – where they ‘supposedly’ just left one day, and left all their files. True to that word, there was paperwork scattered everywhere, and we even found a newspaper dated back to 1989! in terms of photography, it was phenomenal.
    The vandalism has really added to it… you’re already on edge in case you get caught, and if you see something… but sandhill really is a beautiful place.

  35. David Wells says:

    My great grandmother was a Lethbridge and lived at Sandhill Park and I have pictures of it when it was a beautiful mansion. I visited it in the 1970’s when it was used as a hospital for the mentally disabled and admired it. It is sad to hear that it has been so vandalised like so many other old mansions which cost too much to refurbish and are allowed to rot and become an eyesore.

  36. Jill Davies says:

    I worked at Sandhill Park for 5 years until the mid 70’s. I trained there and became a staff nurse on a adult ward. There is no getting away from the fact that it was an institution, but the staff worked very hard to try to make a good life (with the limited facilities that were available) for the patients that were resident there. The patients were of varied abilities, some had behavioural problems and there were many who were both severely mentally and physically disabled. They enjoyed the use of the school,O.T. department, social club, swimming pool and riding for the disabled.
    I found the earlier comment about the gruesome deaths a bit confusing, but maybe someone remembers more than I do.
    No I agree that it was not always a bed of roses for the patients, there were many members of staff who worked tremendously hard to improve the lives of the people there.

  37. Jackie says:

    I worked and trained at Sandhill 1979 – 1984 and have to agree with Jills comments, staff worked incredibly hard and were gaining ground for the people living there. I found the pictures really sad and upsetting as this was a home for many vulnerable people. To see I guess private papers scattered with peoples lives documented is more than sad.
    Sandhill did have it’s ghostly stories but it also had a lot of fun and laughter by both residents and staff and I have fond memories as well as harsh ones from a time when institutions were trying to change.

  38. Margaret Howell says:

    I used to live in the former wards from the time the grounds housed an army hospital after the war when there was accute housing shortages. The site was a legal Squat, and we started off as sub tenants of an admiralty housing officer.
    The rooms (formerly offices) at the front of the ward were used as a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedrooms. My brother and I used the large ward to play in when the weather was bad.
    Subsequently, the large ward was turned into two housing units, but I now cannot recall whether these were made two storey or remained ground floor only.
    I do recall that it was a wonderful place to play in: the wards were connected by covered walkways, and were just right for riding bicycles.
    The grounds were fantastic, but I do not remember going anywhere near the house.
    I do remember walking across three fields (sometimes with bullocks in), through a picket gate to catch the train to Taunton for school.
    My husband and I returned there a few years ago, but the road was gated . the steam train was however still at Bishops Lydeard!!!

  39. Hannah lucas says:

    if anyone knows how to contact the guy who owns it, that would be amazing! if you could email me at hannah-lucas@hotmail.com 🙂 thankyou!

  40. Robert Butterworth says:

    I find the images (and some of the comments) quite upsetting. My mentally handicapped sister was admitted to Sandhill Park at the age of five and remained there until her death five years later. The facility was, to some extent, a godsend to those families that were unable to provide the specialist full time care necessary to give some quality of life to those handicapped. Living in Plymouth, without a car, meant we were only able to visit about once a month. Travelling by train to Taunton then out on the branch line to Bishops Lydeard after which we would walk to the hospital. I have happy memories of walking the beautiful tree lined drive to then spend some good familly time with my sister and my parents. Her death there was tragic and the arrival of the police to break the news has stuck in my memory for the last fifty years. Apart from that one recollection I have happy memories of Sandhill Park Hospital spending time playing with my sister on the extensive lawns in the sunshine. There were the equivalent of ‘sports’ days and fetes organised which drew many of the families and friends of residents, highlighting that you were far from being alone in having family affected by mental and/or physical handicaps. The photographs of derelict buildings are easy to cope with, it is a consequence of leaving buildings empty. What I do find unacceptable are the documents strewn about the place, why were these not removed or destroyed when the property was vacated. The thought that there may be paperwork or records relevant to my sister lying around is quite distressing. That said I hope that the building is purchased and renovated. It is a grade II listed property and deserves to be returned to some of its former glory. The use to which it is put is of no consequence, apartments, hotel, private residence, spa, golf course but it is a shame (and wrong) that it is allowed to deteriorate in this way.

    • pete says:

      22/11/2011. hi. this may be of interest to all that watch/read this site. early morning news report of a fire at sandhill park mansion. 3 floors and roof burning. have not yet seen any film coverage on news.

    • Rowland says:

      I feel I need to post this comment on here as some people seem upset about files and records lying about in former NHS property. The paper work left lying about in the derelict buildings at Sandhill are not from the days when NHS ran it but much later from subsequent tenant – computer software co who went bust and just walked out leaving office furniture and paper work. Office furniture was not very good as within two days it appears to have melted and ‘disappeared’ leaving papers behind. The outlying buildings are now completely trashed by people who are really clever and can break things that are already broken, not only once but many times over.
      PS there are no ghosts any were on site and I am better qualified than any of you wheeze board monkeys to say that.

  41. Tracey says:

    I worked at Sandhill Park from 1987 until 1990 and I have a very many happy memories of working on several of the wards including Clark and Farrant. I don’t remember it ever bing haunted although I remember stories that the main mansion house was

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