Hellingly Hospital - through the ages

A photography exhibition created and run by patients and staff at a medium-secure unit is being held this week.

The exhibition is about the history of Hellingly Hospital, a renowned local landmark which opened in 1903 as the East Sussex County Asylum.

The Hellingly Centre is now a modern medium secure mental health unit offering rehabilitation and recovery to people with mental health problems who have had contact with the criminal justice system. It is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which offers mental health and learning disability services across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. 

The exhibition will chart the history of the unit, and mental health provision, from 1903 to the present day.

Staff have worked together with patients and local residents to uncover old photographs and stories about the Hellingly site and to put together the exhibition.

On the day staff, patients and former staff and residents will be available to talk about their experiences of the Hellingly Centre through the decades.

Janet Woodhouse, Occupational Therapist, said:

“There is a huge amount of interest in the Hellingly Centre and its history. We have had local residents ask what was in the place of their house before it was built and what the hospital used to do. This exhibition is just one of the ways we work with patients to find ways to support their recovery by finding the thing that sparks their interest to help them engage with treatment and prepare for life outside the hospital.”

The exhibition is open to the public on Saturday March 25 between 10.30am and 3pm on the site of the Hellingly Centre, The Drive, Hellingly East Sussex, BN27 4ER.