Winwick Asylum warrington

The first public hospital for the care of the mentally ill was opened in 1766 when the Manchester Infirmary was extended to allow the admission of "Poor Lunaticks". The hospital was moved to Cheadle in 1850 and later became Cheadle Royal.
By the mid-nineteenth century, three public asylums had been built in Lancashire: at Lancaster, Rainhill and Prestwich. In 1894 Lancashire Asylums Board commissioned a new asylum to be built on the 207 acre Winwick Rectory Estate north of Warrington, Lancashire. Work started in 1896, and pending its completion it was agreed to convert Old Winwick Hall - previously home to the Rector of Winwick - into a home for accommodation of about 50 'idiot boys'. Winwick Hall opened in 1897 and Winwick Asylum - later Winwick Hospital - opened in 1902 at a cost of £383,000. About 1905 Old Winwick Hall was demolished and later replaced with a new building, also known as Winwick Hall.

By the time of the First World War the hospital housed 2,160 patients. Almost all of these were transferred to other asylums when it became a military hospital - the Lord Derby War Hospital*. Between 1915 and 1920 some 56,000 wounded soldiers were treated there, and the hospital began to resume its original purpose in 1921.

The Mental Treatment Act of 1930 revised the Lunacy Laws, replacing the term 'asylum' with 'mental hospital', permitting voluntary admission for treatment, and introducing psychiatric out-patient clinics. This marked significant progress for Winwick along with other asylums throughout the country.

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