Overcrowded psychiatric asylums in London at the end of the 19th century resulted in the construction of a handful of hospitals just over the Surrey border to help ease pressure on the capital. Known as the Epsom cluster, the five hospitals were active in the west part of the town for decades until the buildings were eventually redeveloped into homes.
The sites were built and managed by the now-defunct London County Council before they became part of the NHS after it was founded in 1948. The 1,060-acre land cost £35,900 (around £3.7 million in today's money) and, initially, there were meant to be six large hospitals built, each holding 2,000 patients.
Over the following 30 years, only five were constructed and their combined population of patients and staff ended up being greater than the entire population of Epsom , which was then around 9,000. By the turn of the Millennium, the vast majority of the buildings had closed down after a policy during the 1980s that saw many patients released from hospitals and instead cared for by local facilities.
READ MORE: The lost Surrey railway station that was site of World War II tragedy
Below is a breakdown of the history behind each individual hospital within the cluster.
It was the first to be built and opened in 1899 after being designed by William C. Clifford Smith. It initially had many huts located near the derelict Horton Manor and by 1909 there were 10 permanent buildings that had been added to the hospital.
The hospital treated military casualties between 1916 and 1919 and returned to being a psychiatric hospital from 1922 onwards. It was primarily used to look after patients who could be improved and rehabilitated and also attempted to modify learning and behaviour patterns in adolescents.
The hospital closed in 1994 and was redeveloped into a housing estate, known as Manor Park, with the Manor House being converted into private apartments.
It was the second of the hospitals to open, in 1902, and played a key role in the development of induced malaria treatment used as a cure for general paralysis, a type of advanced syphilis. By 1995 the site was used to treat sex offenders, including convicted child ex-offenders, and became known globally for its effective treatment of them with high non-reoffending rates.
The hospital closed in 1997 although the Wolvercote Clinic (for sex offenders) and one small psychiatric unit remained open. In 2002 most of the buildings were sold for development and by 2009 they had been turned into homes and an arts centre.
St Ebba's Hospital
The third site opened in 1903 and had eight villas to begin with that housed people with epilepsy. Between 1918 and 1927 it was used to treat ex-servicemen suffering from neurasthenia brought on by post-traumatic stress.
By 1995 the hospital had just 484 beds and many patients were being rehoused into community homes. The site has since closed and many of the buildings have been developed into a housing estate.
However, a small section to the north-east of the site is still being used by the health services and is part of Surrey Heartlands, While in 2008 a purpose-built therapy suite with a new hydrotherapy pool was opened by the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell.
Long Grove Hospital
This was the fourth hospital to be built and opened in June 1907. The building accommodated a total of 2,149 patients and received many Polish patients, including violin prodigy Josef Hassid, with 300 remaining by 1951.
Perhaps its most famous patient though was Ronnie Kray, one of the infamous Kray twins, in 1957. The site closed in 1992 and was derelict until 1998 when it was converted into housing. The hospital itself was replaced by a smaller unit at Tolworth Hospital, managed by the Kingston and District Community NHS Trust.
Most of the buildings were demolished and the ones that remained were converted into apartments in Clarendon Park and part of the surrounding grounds form a section of Horton County Park.
West Park Hospital
It was the last of the five hospitals to be built and was in service by 1924. It opened as a psychiatric hospital for people living with mental health disorders and held around 2,000 patients of mixed class.
By 2003 the main hospital closed down and just a few buildings were in operation for administration and laboratory tests. The site, which included a padded cell, became popular with urban explorers looking for derelict buildings.
The Great Hall was burnt down, also in 2003, during an arson attack and the site has now been developed into housing and renamed Noble Park.
Get more Epsom news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox for free here.
Looking back at the Surrey Christmas 2013 floods that caused havoc for thousands
Heartbreaking story behind Guildford tower where experiments took place
The Surrey steps that helped a blind bishop walk to his home unaided
The Surrey church with a 'stolen' witch's cauldron hidden inside