St Mary’s Hospital – Stannington

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St Marys Psychiatric Hospital

St Mary’s Psychiatric Hospital was originally known as the Gateshead Borough County Lunatic Asylum when it was officially opened in 1914 in the rural village of Stannington.

The construction of the red brick  asylum had commenced four years earlier in 1910 to the designs of Architects George Thomas Hine and Hallam Carter and used the popular compact arrow corridor plan.

Sadly for Hine this would be the last asylum built to his specification that he would ever see for he died soon after in 1916.

Almost immediately after it had opened the asylum was requisitioned by the war office for use as an emergency hospital for the war wounded.  Upon the conclusion of hostilities the institution was returned to Gateshead who added a further nurses home in the late 1920’s.   The isolation hospital was also modified to create a sanatorium for patients suffering from the consumption (TB).

During the 1930’s a union was formed with the neighbouring counties of West Hartlepool and South Shields which resulted in St Mary’s Mental hospital as it had become, to initiate an expansion program which was completed in 1939.

The wards were as always segregated between the male and females patient population further each ward was occupied by a different medical class of patient, to include the  sick and infirm, recent and acute, and the epileptics as well as the Chronically ill.

The exercise areas or airing courts were arranged adjacent to the wards as in earlier 19th century asylum designs, and the parkland, including a large kitchen garden, enclosed the building and courts.

When the hospital was taken over by the newly formed National Health Service in 1948 it was renamed St Mary’s after the Parrish Church.

After closure in 1995 the old hospital remained abandoned for many years before many of the original buildings were demolished to make way for the new community of Stannington Park, a Bellway housing development.