Fair Mile Hospital

Berkshire had its county asylum— the Fair Mile Hospital at Moulsford near Cholsey, itself near Wallingford — opened in 1870 as the County Lunatic Asylum for Berkshire and operating for over 130 years before its 2003 closure.

Helped by a further grant from The Wellcome Trust, Berkshire Record Office has made the Asylum's archive available to researchers.  A gallery on the Record Office website provides an illustrated history of Fair Mile Hospital

The County Asylums Act, 1845 required all counties to make residential provision for treatment of the mentally ill. In the early days, this obligation could be contracted out. In 1847, Berkshire's justices, with the Berkshire Boroughs of Abingdon and Reading, entered into an agreement with Oxfordshire to use that county's Littlemore asylum rather than build their own.

Between 1847 and 1870, Littlemore's records may prove another unexpected but useful source of information for those seeking Berkshire ancestors during that period.

The Moulsford Asylum , as it was known from 1867-97 (later the Berkshire Lunatic Asylum, 1897-c1915, Berkshire Mental Hospital, c1915-48; Fair Mile Hospital, Cholsey, 1948 – 2003) opened in 1870 to care for people with mental health problems. The site was bought in 1866 for £8,317, and the asylum built for £68,000. The architect was Charles Henry Howells, to a corridor-plan design. The hospital closed in 2003, and the site has been redeveloped. The archives are held by Berkshire Record Office under the reference DH10.

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