Old Manor Hospital
The Old Manor Hospital, situated on Wilton Road, Salisbury started out as a private asylum. Fisherton House, in the ancient parish of Fisherton Anger, was purchased by Mr Charles Finch from his uncle as a ‘mental institution’ in 1813. When Fisherton Asylum first opened it took private and pauper patients. By the 1850s it was the largest private mental hospital in England, licensed for 672 patients. Between 1850 and 1870 the Fisherton Asylum accepted criminal lunatics before Broadmoor Hospital was established.
Looking at the 1861 census returns it shows evidence of the institution. The staff recorded are 50 in number and include a doctor, many attendants and nurses, a night watchman, laundresses, cooks and a housemaid. Interestingly, like the patients, they are only identified by their initials rather than full name. Patients numbered 386, 242 male and 144 female, most aged 30-50 but ranged from 14 years as youngest and 80 years as oldest inmate. The list also seems to separate patients from wealthier background (gentlemen/women, clergy, medic) and those of poorer households or professions (labourer, servants, washerwoman). Find out more about the Fisherton Asylum in the article ‘A visit to a Convict Lunatic Asylum’ written by William Gilbert.
In 1954, by which time it had become known as the Old Manor Mental Hospital, it ceased to be privately run and was absorbed into the new National Health Service. It was then run by Knowle Hospital Management Committee, Fareham, Hampshire. Two new wards, Nightingale and Crane, were added in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1974, the hospital was again reorganised, coming under Salisbury Health District and some years after that became part of Salisbury Health Care NHS Trust. Around this time, there was a move away from providing institutionalised care and to finding patients appropriate care and support in the community. By the 1990s, many of the wards had closed. Scroll down to watch our video showing images of Old Manor Hospital taken after closure and during demolition works.
In the early 2000s, the Old Manor Hospital saw a change of management to Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. New hospital buildings replaced many on the Old Manor Hospital site. The hospital became known as Fountain Way and continues to provide mental health services in the area.
Old Manor Hospital closure and demolition works
Watch our video showing images from our archive of the Old Manor Hospital after closure and during demolition works.
- Read about Fisherton Asylum through the eyes of William Gilbert, who visited and wrote an article in 1864
- Find out about the tunnels under the Old Manor Hospital
- The Old Manor Hospital League of Friends leaflet makes an interesting read
- We also have an Old Manor Nurse Recruitment brochure in our collection dating back to the 1970s, containing images of the facilities available at the site. A fascinating glimpse into the past
- Take a look at the Old Manor Hospital guide for patients and relatives circa. 1980s
- Take a look at the panels from the Old Manor Hospital chapel