St Francis Hospital 1859 -1995
  • Website editor

    Joe Hughes, former nurse and trade union COHSE/Unison district branch secretary based at St Francis Hospital.
    The Friends of St Francis site has a sister site on facebook, both edited and administered by Joe, where you can post your news, photos and articles.
    Contact Joe on 

  • Sister site 

Welcome to the Friends of St Francis 

St Francis Psychiatric Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex opened its doors to patients for the first time in 1859. Built to house 400 patients, at a cost of £46,531.16s.10d, it carried on its work uninterrupted for 136 years until November 1995 when it closed to make way for modern advances in the community based care of the mentally ill.

Three factors decided the fate of St Francis Hospital : it was a bracing location in the centre of the county and was accessible to the new railway which came to Haywards Heath in 1841.

Designed in the Lombardo-Venetian style, by the architect H E Kendall Jnr., it had to be self supporting and its buildings included a farm, a brewery, a laundry, a bakery, a chapel and burial ground and a well and settling pool. The water tower, built in 1908, is still in use today.

At the time of its opening in 1859 it had to compete for financing with Lewes jail and, like the jail and railway, employed many Irish labourers who married local girls and settled in the area.

Known for its high standards of care, its spearheading of new and innovative methods of treatment in the care of the mentally ill over the decades and its international mix of staff of all disciplines, the friendships and camaraderie continue to flourish through regular staff reunions, social contact and social media contact.

The Friends organise regular reunions for all staff.  To make sure you receive an invitation please EMail your full land address to me at

The Friends of St Francis committee currently consists of Cathy Barnett, Chairperson. Joe Hughes, Secretary. Jessica Appleford, Treasurer. Eileen Curran, Database Secretary and fellow committee member Gill Harrison.

(The St Francis Hospital badge, featuring on this page, is the work of the late Bill Golunski)

 Joe Hughes. Website editor and administrator