The London/Surrey boundary. Banstead prisons

TQ 26 62

The London/Surrey/Sutton boundary. Goes up Fairlawn Road and then Downs Road as far as the edge of Banstead Downs, when it turns southwest, and then reverts to the same trajectory and carries on forwards.

Who would have thought that a respectable and moderately upmarket town like Banstead would have had so many prisons!  These are partly on the site of an enormous London County Council mental hospital and their other institutions in the area, most notably the out-of-town extension to the Royal Marsden Hospital.  These places replaced farms and windmills and common areas. A tramway supplied the original Banstead Hospital

Post to the west Banstead Downs
Post to the east Oaks Park

Sites on the Surrey, Banstead side of the boundary

Banstead Hundred Acres Mill – stood by the gates of the hospital and was still there in 1873. Millers were William Ashby in 1819. Demolished in 1877 when the hospital was built. Probably built around 1800.

Banstead Hospital
Built on the site of a farm called Hundred Acres
Banstead Hospital. London County Mental Hospital a prominent landmark, for nervous disorders, founded in 1877 as a Lunatic Asylum. Built in the double pavilion plan. It had its own water supply with a pumping engine by Easton and Anderson - a single cylinder A frame Beam engine 15" bore 3' stroke for a well 295' deep – this is now in the museum at Bressingham. The Hospital was transferred from the Metropolitan Asylums Board to the London County Council. It was reached by a side road and built on an elevated plateau on the Downs over 500 feet above sea-level. It was built of white brick consisting in blocks with a chapel, and accommodation for 2,484. Closed and the site is now a prison. The porters lodge and main gate remain, as dies the superintendents residence, the stewards residence and an administration block with a pediment with arms, etc shown there is also a commemorative plaque to the hospital 1873-1986. Nurses home and extensions.
HMP Highdown on the site of Banstead Hospital opened in 1992 and serves the Crown Court at Guildford, Croydon and local magistrates courts. Holds 1103 and is a category B/C mens local prison
HMP Downview. Closed prison for women converted from former nurses homes for Banstead hospital. Opened 19189 as a category C male prison. And became for adult women and 16 bed juvenile prison (Josephine Butler Unit) for young female offenders. In 1992 it had the first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre opened by Sir Anthony Hopkins
Tramway. To build the hospital stone was brought in by the railway and a stone tramway was laid to the hospital to bring the carts from Chelsea Wharf

Sites on the London, Sutton side of the boundary

Banstead Road
The Downs Hospital for children. Transferred from Metropolitan Asylums Board to London County Council. It was opened because of the pressure on Sutton Schools - the South Metropolitan school sites – part of the poor law provision. Based on a pavilion block layout for 400 infants by the 1890s just a girls school and with 6459 girls of eight or over. Schoolrooms, dormitories etc, girls prepared for service. After 1902 it became the Downs School and then the Downs Hospital and has since been taken over by the Royal Marsden and most of it demolished.

Downs Road
Royal Marsden Hospital

Fairlawn Road
Golf Course

British History Online. Web site
Industrial Archaeology of Reigate and Banstead
Penguin Surrey
Pevsner and Cherry. Surrey
Surrey Industrial Archaeology
Surrey County Council. Web site


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