Gittins, Dr Diana: Severalls Hospital, Essex

  • Gittins, Dr Diana: Severalls Hospital, Essex
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Material re Gittin's research for her book Madness in its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospital, 1913-1997, London: Routledge, 1998, including tapes and transcripts of interviews with staff, ex-patients and patients, and background information on the hospital.



Physical description

4 boxes 1 oversize item

Acquisition note

Received in October 1998 from Qualidata, ESRC Qualitative Data Archival Resource Centre, University of Essex Colchester, where the material had been deposited by Dr Gittins in May 1998

Biographical note

As a result of severe overcrowding at the Essex County Asylum, Brentwood, suggestions for building a new asylum in the Colchester area were being made from 1902; the Severalls Estate was sold for the purpose by Colchester Corporation in 1903. The foundation stone for the New Asylum/Second Essex County Asylum was laid in June 1910, and the asylum was opened for patients in 1913. Substantial additional building works took place during the 1930s. Patient numbers started to decline from the 1940s and there were also staffing problems. The decision to close the hospital was made in 1994 and in 1997 patients were moved from the core asylum buildings to to other facilities in the area, although some services continue to be provided from peripheral units on the site. The interviews collected here were undertaken by Dr Diana Gittins of the Department of Sociology, University of Essex, between 1995 and 1997.

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Accession number

  • 779