With its own farms, telephone exchange, post office, reservoirs, gas works, orchestra, brass band, butchers and brewery – plus railway station – Whittingham was the epitome of a self-contained asylum. It also pioneered the use of EEG, the recording of the brain’s electrical activity.
The military took over the asylum during WWI and II, before large institutions like Whittingham fell out of favour with the Mental Health Act of 1960. Allegations of abuse against patients in Whittingham also led to a public inquiry and staff were dismissed. Patients were given new therapies and relocated during the ’70s and ’80s, and the hospital was at last closed in 1995. Since then, this massive site has been derelict and in a bad state of disrepair, one section has been flattened, and plans are underway for redevelopment.