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Essex Asylums

1st February 1868 The Builder
088 Colchester - Essex Hall Asylum for Idiots

In consequence of an outbreak of fever a new hospital or infirmary has just been erected in the grounds of this institution built of wood interlined with felt and match boarding. It has this recommendation that it can be occupied immediately, whereas had the structure been of brick a delay of some months before it could have been used must have taken place. The building is slated upon two open trussed roofs a layer of felt being placed between the slates and roof boarding.

It is 46 feet long by 33 feet wide, and contains four wards, each 17 feet by 15 feet. There are a nurses day-room, and dormitory, kitchen and two of Moules' patent earth closets. The rooms are lighted by windows and lantern lights, the latter ebing made to answer as ventilation.

The hospital has been sanctioned by the Commissioners in Lunacy. It occupied one month from commencement to completion, fit for occupation, at a cost of about 450. Mr Joseph Grimes of Colchester was the builder.

9th May 1868 The Builder
335 Great Maplestead - Houce of Mercy for fallen women

The House or Mercy here has been opened. It is provided for "the reception and protection of fallen women, with a view to their reformation and ultimate safe establishment either in some respectable calling in which to earn a livliehood or otherwise. Such inmates to be received from any part of the kingdom." The institution owes its origin entirely to Miss Elizabeth Barter, who has given the site, erected the buildings at her own sole cost, and endowed the wardenship with a stipend of 250 per annum. She has conveyed the site and buildings for the purpose to trustees. The foundress herself is a sister. The maintenance of the institution is committed to the Christian liberality of the public at large.

It is calculated that it will require a sum of about 750 per annum to maintain the work in completeness and efficiency; of this all but 200 is unprovided for. The buildings are from the designs of Mr H Woodyer. The contractor was Mr. W Z Rogers, of Colne. The material is red brick with stone facings and mullions. Though plain, the design is varied, and the effect quiet and picturesque. The plan of the buildings is a quadrangle; on one side are kitchen, offices, dining hall, and class-rooms, and over them are dormitories for the penitents and sisters. On another side is the chapel, connected with which is the infirmary. A covered way or cloister surrounds the quadrangle, giving access to the several rooms, and affording communication with all parts of the building under cover. The whole is calculated to accommodate some thirty penitents and the sisters. The chief point is the chapel. The style is Early English. The east end is lighted by a triplet window, and the west by a circular window; the side walls by single lancets with foliated heads; the roof is of lofty pitch, composed of stained fir. The two easternmost side windows are filled with stained glass. The actual fabric is completed, and the lady superior and foundress resident in a part of it, preparing the internal arrangements for the reception of penitents. The ground around has been laid out and planted.

Note - Methuen's Little Guide to Essex by J C Cox states that the Diocesan House of Mercy was erected in 1867 and extended in 1897; it is under the care of the Community of St. John Baptist, Clewer.

Source: The Builder 1868 Vol XXVI 952 pp
Submitted by Alan Longbottom

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