All Saints Mental Asylum, Winson Green
Please note that a substantial amount of material in this collection is being withdrawn to prevent its condition from deteriorating further. Please bear with us while we try to secure funding to conserve this very important collection, and make it available again once it is safe to do so.
The list of records in the PDF under Attachments below shows where items are withdrawn. This is indicated in individual entries by DO NOT SERVE OR SEARCH.
Prior to the opening of All Saints Mental Asylum (sometimes known as Winson Green Asylum) there was no provision for the treatment or upkeep of people with mental illnesses. Most would have been kept in the local workhouse infirmary. However, the rapid increase in the population of Birmingham in the first half of the 19th Century brought with it is associated social problems, and the population of Birmingham soon outgrew the workhouse Infirmary. This began to change with the 1845 Act to amend the laws for the regulation and provision of Lunatic Asylums. This required boroughs to provide asylums and receive patients at a weekly charge not exceeding 14 shillings.
Birmingham Borough Council appointed a Lunatic Asylum Committee on 10 November 1845. In 1847 land adjacent to Winson Green Gaol was purchased to provide the site for an institution to house 300 pauper lunatics. In June 1850 the first patients were received from the surrounding parishes. The building underwent continual expansion in the following years and additional land was purchased increasing the site from the original 20 acres to approximately 48 acres in 1866. In 1893 the Commissioners in Lunacy said Winson Green should be given up and a new asylum built elsewhere, as it is impossible to build any further extensions on the already overcrowded site. However All Saints Hospital stayed open, and by 1953 was housing 1,200 patients. To ease the overcrowding, annexes were added, some of whose records are contained in this collection. The hospital closed in 2001 and is now used by the prison.
The hospital records cover 1850 to 1974, but are not complete and much of the material is missing or has been destroyed before its transfer to the archives. There is also an additional deposit, which is currently being fumigated. Please see staff for details. The minutes and accounts of the hospital will be found in the minutes of the Visiting Committee appointed by the City Council (these are uncatalogued). They date from the appointment of the Birmingham Lunatic Asylum Committee in 1845 to 1948 when the National Health Service took over the running of the hospital.
All Saints Mental Asylum.Pdf