The Legacy of St Audry’s Hospital

Although the hospital was influential and pioneering in improving healthcare for its residents at a very early date, the stigma that was associated with asylums and mental health lingered.  Victor Burrows, a former nurse at St Audry’s, said: “If you went to Melton (St Audry’s) they looked down their nose at you in the village.”

Very little of the hospital can be explored today as it is mostly private housing.  The administration block with the main entrance has been a listed building since 11 June 1985, and the South Entrance Pavilion has been Grade II listed since 14 November 1997.  Both were tastefully restored.  People find the site a pleasant place to live, and if you know where to look, the history lives on in roads named after former members of staff, and in buildings like the chapel and mortuary that have been converted into homes.  By contrast, the burial ground is now overgrown and the church is boarded up.

Alongside the positive legacy of the hospital – where people struggling with difficult and acute mental health problems were often able to find help and friendship –  the former churchyard is a place where the sadness of the untold story of the hospital comes to the fore.