Talks and Guided Walks                                                   St Francis Hospital

The railway came to Haywards Heath in 1841 having been

rejected by the nearby villages of  Wivelsfield and Cuckfield. In 1859 the lunatic asylum - later to be known as St Francis Hospital - opened with 400 beds and within twenty years would be too small for purpose. These were the days of moral treatment in psychiatry when religion and a disciplined working life were some of the main facets of the patient's day at the asylum.


These and many other facts are brought to life in Joe's talk on the history of St Francis Hospital which finally closed in 1995.


In taking the guided walk through the grounds of the former hospital, visitors gain a further insight into what life was like through the decades as containment of patients gave rise to successive acts of parliament allowing greater freedom for the mentally ill.


Together with the railway, the asylum forms part of the origins of Haywards Heath when the town boasted just 200 residents. 


Joe is available to give talks and guided walks of the former asylum. Contact him today via the contact page or Email him directly on