St. Edward's Hospital

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St. Edward's Hospital
Construction Began 1895
Opened 1898
Closed 2001
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Echelon Plan
Architect(s) Giles, Gough & Trollope
Location Cheddleton
Alternate Names
  • Third Staffordshire County Asylum
  • Cheddleton Mental Hospital


Cheddleton was the third and final county asylum in Staffordshire, built to accommodate patients from the north and supplement the existing asylums at Burntwood and Stafford. After carrying out site visits to unsuitable sites in Bramshall, Moderhall, Wetley Rocks and Wolstanton, in February 1892 175 acres were purchased for £12,750 on the edge of the village of Cheddleton. The site was located on a spur of land overlooking the River Churnet and the Caldon Canal at Cheddleton Heath just north of Cheddleton. A competition was held for the design of the asylum of which 30 entries were received. The brief requested a design to accommodate 300 male and 300 female patients, and following standard practice they would lead segregated lives from one another on opposite sides of the asylum. The winning design was by London-based architects Giles, Gough and Trollope, with construction beginning in 1895.

Cheddleton Asylum was laid out in the chevron or echelon style on a south facing plateau. At the apex of the echelon was the administration building which was flanked on either side by four ward blocks. The wards (infirmary, recent, acute, and epileptic) and within the echelon the quiet and working patients’ ward. Those wards to the right or east housed male patients whilst females lived on the west side - there were two separate keys for each side of the building, to ensure that patients never mixed.

The asylum was a typical of the time, in that it was a self-contained and self-sufficient village in its own right with farms and workshops that produced both the uniforms for patients and staff. On the male side there were the various artisans’ workshops: brick layers; brush makers; carpenters; cobblers; electricians; painters; plumbers and upholsters. These trades also employed male patients to help in the running of the asylum. Due to its location the asylum generated its own electricity via four Lancashire boilers that powered three turbo-generators to light the wards and run the electric tramway. The architectural signature of the asylum was its water tower, which at 136 feet (41 m) tall held 156 tons of water that was electrically pumped there from the asylum’s 110 feet (34 m) deep well.

In 1937 there were discussions on creating an internal currency to reward patients for their toil. A system of brass tokens was introduced with face values from ½d to 4/- each denomination varied in shape from circular, oval, hexagonal and octagonal.

After closure in 2002, the entire site was sold to Redrow plc, which developed a modern housing estate on the former grounds which doubled the size of the village, and renovated the old and now listed hospital buildings into apartments. The old hospital water tower now serves as a private dwelling.