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St John's Hospital

The Asylum was built in 1852 and enlarged on several subsequent occasions. It was originally established jointly by Lindsey, Kesteven, Holland, Lincoln, Grimsby and Stamford, and managed by a Board of Visitors appointed by the contributing authorities. Kesteven and Grantham withdrew from the arrangement when the contract of Union expired in 1893 (eventually establishing the Kesteven County Asylum at South Rauceby, 1897). The hospital was set in grounds of 120 acres which included gardens, farmland and a burial ground. In 1940 female patients were transferred to other hospitals, mainly Storthes Hall near Huddersfield, to make space for an Emergency Hospital, and many did not return until well after the end of the War. Administration of the hospital passed to the National Health Service in 1948. By the early 1960s it was known by its final name of St John’s Hospital. Patients were admitted from Harmston Hall Hospital when that hospital closed. St John’s Hospital itself was closed in December 1989 with the remaining patients transferred to other establishments. The site was sold for housing and most of the buildings apart from the central block were demolished.

The following names, among others, were used for the Institution, sometimes interchangeably:

  • 1852-1893 Lincolnshire County Lunatic Asylum or Lincolnshire County Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 1894-1915 Lincolnshire Lunatic Asylum
  • 1897-1898 Lindsey, Holland, Lincoln and Grimsby District Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 1903-1920 Lincolnshire Asylum
  • 1898-1902 Bracebridge Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 1902-1919 Bracebridge District Lunatic Asylum
  • 1919-1948 Bracebridge Mental Hospital
  • 1930-1938 Lincolnshire Mental Hospital
  • 1939-1960 Bracebridge Heath Hospital
  • 1961-1989 St John’s Hospital, Bracebridge Heath

Occupations of patients listed in the early 20th Century included farmer, labourer, keelman, ship’s fireman, saddler, painter, labourer, agricultural labourer, cottager, chimney sweep, mechanic, architect, master plumber, engineer, fisherman, clerk, castrator, brickmaker, boilermaker, commercial traveller, police constable… , and for females, domestic servant, housewife, pauper, shopkeeper, widow, housekeeper, pot dealer, mother’s help (formerly schoolteacher) … These occupations reflect the generally lower social status of the patients here compared with those at the Lawn.

The hospital was also used as a wartime Emergency Hospital in the period 1940-1943, and a few records of this function survive with the asylum records.

Look Out For


OPEM exhibition at The Collection

28 January - 2 May 2017

Exhibition Opening Times: 10:00am - 4:00pm


OPEM 4 is the fourth biennial open exhibition hosted by The Collection and Usher Gallery, and will showcase the work of local and regional artists who were chosen by a pair of industry experts (writer/curator Elinor Morgan and artist Brian Griffiths) based on the quality and originality of their work. Hundreds of artists from around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and more entered into the competition, hoping to have their work featured centre-stage at a professional art exhibition.


The winning artists are:

• Reece Straw

• Jake Kent

• Stephanie Douet

• Jake Moore

• Selina Mosinski

• Matthew Chesney

• Ellen Brady

• Colette Griffin


This will be the first time some of these artists have exhibited with a professional institution. By winning the competition these artists will each receive money and supplies to fund the creation of an all-new original piece of work for this particular show. Other prizes include a £3000 purchasing/commissioning prize which has been sponsored by the Heslam Trust, while another artist will receive their own solo exhibition in The Usher Gallery.


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Last updated: 15 August 2014

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