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About this work


The Retreat bought Moorlands Estate, six miles from York, between Wigginton and Skelton, in 1940. The Estate comprised a house (which was subject to a lease in 1940), grounds, woodlands and two farms. The aim of the purchase was to ensure that after the war, the Retreat would have a farm to provide milk and provisions. Some of the house came into the Retreat’s hands in June 1942 when eight patients were initially transferred there, followed by another seven. Although the Retreat had plans that after the end of the war the house might be used as a place to treat psycho neuroses, this scheme did not materialise, and the house continued to be used as an annexe of the Retreat, housing chronic patients. The farm venture, however, went ahead. In April 1949 The Home Farm, Wigginton, one of the two Moorlands farms, was taken over to supply tuberculin tested milk and farm produce, being managed by a Farm Sub-Committee and a Farm Bailiff. Improvements were made to the farmhouse and drainage, two estate workers’ cottages were erected and a herd of Ayrshire cows introduced. The necessary capital expenditure was financed by a legacy. In 1953, as an economy measure, the Moorlands Annexe and the second farm were put up for sale. The house was purchased by Leeds Regional Hospital Board.. The twenty five Retreat patients vacated the house in January 1955 and were transferred to the Retreat main building. From 1955 Moorlands was used as an annexe of Clifton Hospital, housing women psychiatric patients. The woodlands were also sold in 1953, to the Yorkshire Naturalists Trust Ltd, and became a nature reserve. But the ownership of the Home Farm, of 168 acres, was retained by the Retreat. From 1951 it had been run by Moorlands Farm Ltd: because this was a limited company it was able to obtain grants and subsidies. The Retreat retained ownership of the farm until 1963, when it was sold.



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2 boxes

Terms of use

Open and available at the Borthwick Institute for Archives. This material has been digitised by the Borthwick Institute for Archives as part of a Wellcome Trust funded project, and can be freely accessed online through the Wellcome Library catalogue.

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