This undated photograph shows the south view of the male side of the Asylum. It was taken from the top floor of Block 2, Broadmoor's 'privilege' or parole block. From left to right, it shows Block 5, Block 4, the central hall and chapel (the lighter coloured structure), and Block 3. To the foreground is the Terrace, with its far-reaching views across the Blackwater Valley, to the left of this image.
Although the photograph is undated, it is possible that it was taken on the same day as the male staff group photo. Facilities for photographing patients do not seem to have been introduced until the early twentieth century, so the visit of a photographer would have been a rare event.
10 response(s) so far…
Posted on the : 9 Oct 2011
What a fascinating photo.
It seems that it was taken from the south end/west side of Block 2, possibly from the dormitory, which overlooked the Terrace. This was next door to the 2 rooms used by William Chester Minor at that time. I was lucky enough to meet Simon Winchester in c1997 when he was researching his book "The Surgeon of Crowthorne". He had obtained permission to visit the unit and the 2 rooms in question. When he arrived I took him to view the area. He said he wanted to get a feel of the place and to fix in his mind an image of where WCM had spent his years of research/study.
Block 5 was emptied and closed to patients in c1982.
Subsequently Block 7 (behind B5 at the far west end of the site) was closed in 1984. Whilst empty, both blocks were used for the practice of the then new Control & Restraint Courses for all staff. They were demolished a few years later and that area remains undeveloped to this day.
Regarding the "lighter coloured structure" in the centre, the Central Hall is the area on the ground floor, which was used for visits and shows/productions which were well attended by the public (perhaps a good subject for further research?). The chapel was directly above this and was a high area,the equivalent of 2 storeys - just like a church. When I was a student nurse I spent many hours there, having been redirected from my placement units on Sunday mornings!
Posted on the : 10 Oct 2011
Mr Tucker - thank you so much for all your comments. Please do 'contact us' via the button on the left - it would be nice to have a chat.
Posted on the : 19 Oct 2011
Further to the above, It would appear that this photo was taken at about midday and in June/July from the short shadows.
Regarding the flora, there seems to be an abundance of ivy (?) growing up the walls (as in photos 1 and 2). There is none of this now. Also the trees/bushes have changed considerably during the last century. The neat line of saplings is no longer there. Neither is the line of bushes/shrubs next to them. The area now has a smaller number of specimen trees, including two beautiful mature Lebanon Cedars.
There appear to be 2 people outside Block 3, delivering the lunch maybe. I expect they had "truck men" to push the trolleys/trucks with supplies/meals for each block. Before I started there in 1979 each block had its own truck man who, along with an identified member of staff would collect items (known as chandlery - household items and supplies - consumables and stationery - self explanatory) from the stores.
Outside Block 5 there appears to be a few more people, maybe waiting for the lunch truck to arrive. When it did there would be a shout of, "Carriers!" At least there was when I first started. The "Carriers" were patients in each ward who had the job of carrying the food tins for breakfast, lunch and tea/supper.
Finally, does anyone have any idea what the circular things are on the grassed areas? Flower beds or what?
colin stray (RMN (ret'd)
Posted on the : 19 Oct 2011
Well it sure looked different when I was there as a staff nurse in the late '70's The top terrace was changed into a lawn bowls area Would be interesting to find out when they went from being called blocks to house names; eg Kent (where I first worked),Somerset,Gloucester,Norfolk (young offenders),Cornwall,Dorset plus 2 others and of course York and Lancaster (the female houses)
Posted on the : 20 Oct 2011
Just to let you know - the numbered Blocks were all given county names from 1 January 1967, during Patrick McGrath's time as Medical Superintendent.
The full list on the male side was:
Block 1: Norfolk House
Block 2: Essex House
Block 3: Kent House
Block 4: Dorset House
Block 5: Gloucester House
Block 6: Monmouth House and Somerset House [the Somerset bit was the adolescent unit, and then later the whole house became known as Somerset]
Block 7: Cornwall House
The idea was that the House names reflected the site layout in respect of the geography of the counties themselves; York House was the old female Block 1, and Lancaster House Block 2.
Posted on the : 1 Nov 2011
Gary - re today's comment, if you send a message via the 'Contact' box in the left hand menu, I'll reply via that more private route, and then you'll get the BRO contact too.
Posted on the : 26 Dec 2011
absoutley loved the ebook and photos, I am one of a 4th family generation working at broadmoor and would like to know whether I am able to purchase copies of the pictures for my personal records? kind regards. Pete
Posted on the : 1 Jan 2012
G Tucker, you seem to have alot of info. My g-g-grandfather, Edwin Battersby was sent to Broad moor in June/July 1882 and died there in 1893 - would you, or anyone happen to know anything about him?
Posted on the : 4 Jan 2012
Just to confirm for anyone interested - we can supply copies of the Terrace, Gatehouse and male staff photos. That's for private use only - ie you can't copy or publish them yourselves. More details in the 'using us' section.
Posted on the : 4 Jan 2012
Also, if you have an ancestor who was a patient in Broadmoor, you can see what records survive of their case by asking us. Use the 'Contact Us' button on the left hand side of any page - remember that you'll need to give us your details if you want a reply.