The Epsom Cluster
Voices from Europe's Largest Psychiatric Hospital Complex
- Kirstie Arnould
15th November 2019
The Epsom hospital cluster was the largest group of psychiatric hospitals in Europe – and possibly the world. Built to house 10,000 of London’s ‘pauper lunatics’, it was like having another town on Epsom’s doorstep. An extraordinary undertaking, the five planned asylums were almost self-sufficient and employed tens of thousands of people over the years. Some patients lived in the cluster for almost their whole lives while others stayed for only a short time, and each of their experiences were unique. Treatments were pioneered here, careers made, and daily lives were lived. The hospitals were closed in the 1990s and replaced by housing, but there are still traces of this unique history in Epsom’s landscape today.
The Epsom Cluster: Voices From Europe’s Largest Psychiatric Hospital Complex captures memories and images from a way of life that lasted almost a century, affected thousands of people, and shaped today’s Epsom.
Proceeds from this book will be donated to Horton Chapel Arts and Heritage Society, going towards the redevelopment of Horton Chapel as an arts and heritage centre.