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Repository Cheshire Record Office
Level Collection (Fonds)
Reference ZHW
Title Countess of Chester Hospital records
Date 1825-1969
Description The records include minute books; annual reports; registers of patients; reception and admission orders; accounts; plans; photographs
Extent 199 volumes., c.100 bundles, 148 plans, 14 photographs, 117 other items
Location Please note that parts of this collection are held offsite. Please contact Cheshire Archives and Local Studies in advance of your visit if you wish to view these records.
Access Conditions Access subject to the requirements of the Data Protection Act
Administrative History Cheshire County Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1829 on a site in Liverpool Road. The original building, which housed 90 patients, was designed by William Cole, junior, county architect, and was erected under the direction of the county magistrates.

In 1855, the first of a number of name changes occurred when the asylum became Cheshire Lunatic Asylum and in 1870, it became Chester County Lunatic Asylum. In 1889, Cheshire County Council became responsible for the asylum and in 1899 the original name, Cheshire County Lunatic Asylum, was restored.

The early years of the 20th century saw significant advances in the treatment of, as well as changing attitudes towards, mental illness. These were reflected in developments at the asylum. A new pathology laboratory was opened and in 1914, an annexe was built. In 1921, the name 'asylum' was dropped and the name. County Mental Hospital, was adopted. During the early 20th century many births and deaths at the asylum were recorded as having taken place at "77 Liverpool Road".

In 1948, the National Health Service took over the running of the hospital from Cheshire County Council and it was renamed Upton Mental Hospital. In the early 1950s, it became Deva Hospital. Following the amalgamation of Chester and District Hospital Management Committee and Deva Hospital Management Committee in 1965, it was renamed the West Cheshire Hospital.

During the 1950s, there were important changes in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses, involving the use of new drugs and in consequence the number of in-patients was drastically reduced. By the 1980s, less than 4% of the patients were compelled to remain in hospital.

In 1983, a new general hospital and an accident unit were opened on the West Cheshire Hospital site and following the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales on 30 May 1984, the present name, Countess of Chester Hospital, was acquired.
Related Material Cheshire Quarter Sessions: QAX 2/1-10 include 7 volumes of County Lunatic Asylum minutes covering 1852-1924 that were deposited amongst the records of Potts and Ball, solicitors. They are in poor condition.
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