The sanatorium was founded by the Thomas Holloway (1800-1883), a patent medicine businessman and philanthropist who commissioned a grand gothic-style building set in extensive parkland at Virginia Water in Surrey to house the hospital. Holloway died before building was completed, but he left sufficient funds for the sanatorium to continue as a private charitable foundation.
Unlike the bleak public county asylums of the time, the building was beautifully decorated and furnished with elegant furniture. The Grand Hall, equipped with electricity, was used for dances, performances and other entertainments.
Some patients, as in other mental hospitals, worked in the gardens and farm, and in the laundry and kitchen. During their leisure time, they could stroll in the grounds, play tennis, croquet or cricket. A band entertained the staff, patients and visitors on summer afternoons.
The sanatorium remained a private hospital until 1948 when it was taken over by the National Health Service. It closed in December 1980 and the remaining patients transferred to Ashford Hospital, Middlesex to form the Holloway Unit, a psycho-geriatric unit.
The digital collection comprises nine casebooks with notes on patients, often accompanied by photographs. Inserted in the casebooks are temperature charts,death notices, and correspondence. Six casebooks record female patients from between 1885-1926. The remaining three casebooks record male patients between 1891-1902.
The original casebooks may be consulted at the Wellcome Library.
Explore the Holloway Sanatorium papers
The digitised Holloway Sanatorium papers are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical license; they can be downloaded and reused for non-commercial purposes, so long as attribution is given to Wellcome Library.
Browse the full list of Holloway Sanatorium papers