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Former Exe Vale Hospital

A Grade II* Listed Building in Exminster, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6825 / 50°40'57"N

Longitude: -3.5041 / 3°30'14"W

OS Eastings: 293831

OS Northings: 88066

OS Grid: SX938880

Mapcode National: GBR P1.YM4R

Mapcode Global: FRA 37K8.LP0

Plus Code: 9C2RMFMW+28

Entry Name: Former Exe Vale Hospital

Listing Date: 21 November 1985

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1165495

English Heritage Legacy ID: 85462

Location: Exminster, Teignbridge, Devon, EX6

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge

Civil Parish: Exminster

Built-Up Area: Exminster

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Exminster St Martin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Hospital building Former hospital

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Former Exe Vale Hospital

(Formerly listed as EXE VALE HOSPITAL)



Former Devon County Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later hospital (converted to residential use in the early C21). 1842-45 by Charles Fowler with several periods of addition throughout the late C19 including substantial work in 1893 by E.H. Harbottle and C20 additions, including work by Mr. Percy Morris in the 1930s. Gas, heating and ventilation systems of the original design supervised by the engineer to the Hanwell Asylum. Flemish bond red brick with some local red brecchia, slate roofs, some granite dressings. Fowler's original building was a redefinition of the radiating plan adopted at the Bodmin asylum. To the rear of a grand central administrative block, "Centre House", a 3-storey semi-circular range containing day rooms gave access to 6 2- and 3-storey 18-bay radial wings to accommodate "the separate classes of inmates" (Fowler). Each of the wings was completed by a 3-bay crosswing and perimeter walls linking the crosswings provided enclosed gardens and exercise areas. Centre House was linked to the semi-circular range by single-storey corridors. A hexagonal kitchen in the semi-circular courtyard behind Centre House could be supervised from the administrative block while allowing food to be distributed "with the utmost promptitude and facility" (Fowler). Single-storey radial wings projecting from the ends of the semi-circular range provided additional services. The principles governing the plan were order, discipline and the comfort and convenience of the patients and staff. The original plan is largely intact although somewhat obscured by accretions and additions to the radial wings. The tall chimney of the kitchen block has been demolished, the single-storey radial service wings have been given additional storeys, there have been staircase additions to the radial wings, which have been extended. Later additions are in red brick with slate roofs. Centre House 3 storeys and half-basement. Hipped roof surmounted by tall clock tower installed by Ross of Exeter, 1854. Brick stacks at ends. Symmetrical 5-bay front with chamfered rusticated granite quoins, stone bracketted eaves cornice and granite string courses, platband above basement. Steps up to central entrance with round-headed granite doorway with granite pilasters. Panelled 2-leaf front door with deep semi-circular fanlight with margin glazing. Railings to basement. Ground floor windows 6 over 9 pane sashes with granite architraves; first floor windows 12-pane sashes with granite architraves and floating cornices; second floor windows 3 over 6 pane sashes with granite architraves; 3 attic dormers. Doric peristyle at the rear has been partly filled in. The arcaded corridors to left and right of Centre House have been given additional storeys in part. Interior very complete including fireplaces, plaster cornices, ceiling roses and cantilevered staircases with iron balusters. Kitchen Range Hexagonal block extended westwards. Semi-Circular Range 3 storeys. First and second floor small-pane round-headed windows in recesses, brick eaves cornice. Radial Wings 3 storeys (original design mostly 2 storeys), 18-bays in length with short 3-bay crosswings with pedimented gables at the ends. Some round-headed small pane windows with ingenious ventilation devices, other windows segmental-headed sashes.Considerable later infill and extension in former exercise yards and to ends of wings. Small single-storey buildings originally abutted the perimeter walls between the crosswings, one of these survives in an altered form.Interior some survival of the original arrangement of axial corridors/exercise areas with small rooms leading off.By 1845 the total expenditure on the hospital and extras amounted to o55,000. The first Medical Superintendant, Dr. Bucknill, was noted for his liberal views on the treatment of patients. Fowler's account of the hospital, quoted in the Builder, indicates his intention to correct the problems of asylum planning experienced at Hanwell and Bodmin. Centre House is particularly handsome. The Exe Vale Hospital is a relatively complete example of an asylum built under Act of Parliament on the most advanced principles of the design of secure buildings at the time.Charles Fowler, born in Devon, is best known for his market designs including Covent Garden Market. Sir John Summerson says "His original sense of structure places him alongside engineers like Rennie and Telford" (quoted by Taylor). The Exminster asylum was planned to be fireproof with a system of cast iron beams with layers of tiles over (Taylor).Documentation relating to the hospital has recently been deposited at the Devon Record office. A drawing by Fowler of the building and a series of Annual Reports of the Committee of Visitors are kept at the hospital.Taylor, J. "Charles Fowler: Master of Markets", Architectural Review, May 1964, pp.174-182. The Builder, IV (1846), pp. 349, 350, 354, 355. Allan, S.M., Devon Mental Hospital, 1845-1945

Listing NGR: SX9383188066

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