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Herrison Hospital (Dorset County Lunatic Asylum)

Dorset History Centre holds the records for Herrison Hospital, formerly Dorset County Lunatic Asylum.

Dorset County Asylum was originally founded 1832 and was based at Forston House in Charminster. By the 1860s, this facility was too small, and the new asylum at the Herrison site was opened in 1863. Herrison House itself was opened in 1904, and in 1940 the institution became known as Herrison Hospital.

The collection contains various types of patient records. These include:

Order papers:

  • the documents issued by the magistrate which certified the patient as mentally ill and committed them to the asylum; give details of the nature and cause of the patient's condition

Admissions registers, patient registers or general registers:

  • these indicate when the patient arrived, what type of patient they were (private or pauper etc) and other basic information

Discharge, removals, transfers and/or deaths registers:

  • these indicate the eventual fate of a patient - whether they recovered, were transferred, or died at Herrison. May also give some case history

Medical journals or case books:

  • these records chart the progress of the patient's condition, with observations by the medical staff

Restricted access

Patient records are under restricted access for 100 years. There are also other records relating to the staff, the buildings and the administration of the institution.

Because much of this collection is under restricted access, and because it is not fully catalogued, it is important that you contact us in advance if you wish to use these records.

If you would like to find information about a patient who was at Herrison within the last 100 years please see our guidance for accessing hospital records. This is to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.

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