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Featured Article Of The Week

Seaview Lunatic Asylum


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Prior to 1869, when Seaview Asylum began construction, those with mental health issues were sent to the nearby Sunnyside Hospital in Christchurch. When that became unavailable for the locals in the surrounding region, they started construction of their own asylum. It began accepting patients in 1972.

In the beginning, Hugh and Winifred Gribben, respectively the superintendent and matron of Seaview from 1872 to 1904, started programs inline with other asylums. These included recreation and work programs. Gribben was also noted for not using restrains. However, by the end of his tenure the institution had become a much more custodial hospital.

By 1921 when Buchanan took charge the buildings were in a state of disrepair. His lobbying resulted in a furor in parliament and money was allocated to rebuild the hospital. A central services block, admission and administration blocks were built along with villas to house the patients. The new buildings, Buchanan's changes in the way the hospital was run, and the use of qualified general and psychiatric staff resulted in better therapeutic and custodial care of patients. Buchanan also improved the relationship with the nearby Westland Hospital and had a road built between the two institutions. Click here for more...