St Audry’s Hospital







‘To heal sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always’

– St Audry’s Hospital Motto


St Audry’s Hospital began life as the Suffolk County Asylum in 1832. When St Audry’s closed in 1993, its museum collection and archive went to the Museum of East Anglian Life, Felixstowe Museum  and the Suffolk Record Office. St Audry’s Hospital was pioneering in its treatment of mental illness. Dr John Kirkman, who was the Hospital’s Medical Superintendent between 1829 and 1876, believed that ‘No restraint can be employed which is so powerful as tenderness.’

St Audry’s Timeline


1765-1826        Melton House of Industry for the relief of the poor

1829                   The Suffolk County Asylum for Pauper Lunatics opens

1832                    Dr John Kirkman appointed Medical Superintendant

1876                    Dr W Eager takes over as Physician Superintendent

1896                    Dr Eager retires and Dr J R Whitwell takes over

1902-1904        Period of expansion with new wards, isolation hospital, farm buildings,

                               bakehouse and mortuary

1906                    Hospital renamed Suffolk District Asylum – a name that lasted until 1930

1917                      Asylum became known as St Audry’s Hospital for Mental Diseases

1924                    Dr W Brooks-Keith replaces Dr Whitwell as Medical Superintendent

1930                    Mental Treatment Act enables patients to be voluntarily admitted

1934                     Occupational Therapy starts for some male patients

1935                     Patient numbers reach a peak of 1200

1940-5                 Part of the Hospital serves as Emergency Medical Service Hospital during WWII

1947                      Occupational Therapy starts for women

1948                     NHS act brings St Audry’s and St Clement’s under central control of Suffolk Mental 

                               Hospital   Management Committee.

1950                     Dr Brooks-Keith retires and Dr I J Davies appointed

1960                     Open days introduced

1963                     Dr Davies retires and Dr Rixon appointed

1972                     Amalgamation with St Clements as part of East Suffolk Health Authority

1974                     Museum set up for visitors in old dormitory

1993                     St Audry’s Hospital closes and the last 100 patients are transferred