West Cheshire Hospital

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West Cheshire Hospital
Opened 1829
Closed 2005
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Corridor Plan
Architect(s) William Cole Junior
Location Chester
Alternate Names
  • Cheshire County Lunatic Asylum
  • County Mental Hospital
  • Upton Mental Hospital
  • Deva Hospital
  • Countess of Chester Hospital


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 annex. was built. In 1921, the name asylum' was dropped and the name, County Mental Hospital, was adopted.

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 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.