Promoting visibility for Mad people
"Echelon Plan Institutions"

"Echelon - 1880 - 1932. Largely superseded the Pavilion plan of Asylums in all but the Metropolitan and Lancashire Asylums Boards. Its sudden rise in popularity being the arrangement of wards, offices and services within easy reach of each other by a network of interconnecting corridors. Typically forming a triangular, trapezium or semi-circular format."

- Asylum Projects


Mae West and Cary Grant in I’m No Angel (1933)


Mae West and Cary Grant in I’m No Angel (1933)

"Pavilion Plan Institutions"

Standard Pavilion:

pavilion-designed asylum diagram

The Royal Herbert Hospital, London, England

 (Not a mental asylum (x), but a great example of the Pavilion design.)

The image above is a labelled diagram of this hospital. There is a central building (kitchen, library, and dining rooms) intersected by a long hallway. This hallway extends out on either side and is itself intersected by 6 symmetrical, separate wards, three on each side. There is also a central administrative building, parallel to the long hallway, in front of the aforementioned center building. Behind the hospital, connected to the 6 wards, is a large terrace. This hospital was designed by Florence Nightingale and is inspired by her idea that more windows, fresh air flow and natural light would contribute to patient health, which proved to be true!

Corridor Pavilion:

hair comb-shaped hospital

Terrell State Hospital, Terrell, Texas, USA

This institution was originally housed in a Kirkbride building (an asylum design we’ll study later), but only an outdoor water fountain from this period remains.

This is an aerial photograph of the asylum. Again there is a central building intersected by a long hallway, attached to 6 symmetrical wards. But in this case, the wards jut out from the hallway on just one side. With the six wards and center building extending back also, the general shape is like a hair comb with 7 giant perpendicular prongs.

Dual Pavilion:

big operational asylum

Selinsgrove Center, Selinsgrove, PA, USA

This is an oblique aerial photo of a large greyish tannish hospital which isn’t at all dilapidated because it’s still open. In terms of its architecture and design, the same Pavilion Plan motifs repeat. Big center building, hallways with wards coming off them. This time the hospital layout is shaped more like a lobster: a small body with two major arms extending out. In the previous examples the central building is intersected by one major corridor, off of which the wards branch. This time, there are two major corridors, each intersected by many ward buildings. These buildings would be separate if it weren’t for the center building at the front, connected by four of the inner wards. Some edges and corners of walls appear rounded. The campus is green with some trees and there are cars in the parking lot. There’s a street which surrounds the hospital and there’s parking along the whole thing. There are also two small lots, one in front of and one behind the center-front building (between the back inner wards).

Radial Pavilion:

giant radial asylum


Cane Hill Hospital, Coulsdon, England, UK

Here is an overlay of an old Cane Hill map onto a photo like the one above.

Here’s another aerial photograph from a different perspective.

This one is absurd! It seems enormous. A long, curving, segmented hallway stretches to almost the length of half a circle. Many large wards radiate outward off of it. In fact, these buildings actually do surpass the length of a half-circle perimeter, due to additions off the back of the left side. Within the half-circle are an assortment of buildings which fill practically the whole middle, minus some green outdoor courtyards. These center buildings extend way out in front of everything. The extreme curve of that main hallway, the extensive number of buildings found running through the wide middle of the complex, and the many small hallways which connect these buildings all contribute to this striking image. There’s a small forest of trees behind the hospital, speckled with a couple individual buildings. A tree-lined road, some houses in a development and planted fields are visible in the photo as well. 

Irregular Pavilion:

The Manor Certified Institution (at Epsom for London CC) was a large structure consisting of temporary pavilions arranged around an L- shaped corridor, with a pre-existing mansion as its hub and offices. Darenth Park 2nd Annexe consisted of two groups of five y-shaped pavilions linked by corridors. (Andrew Roberts)” (links added to excerpt.)

Source for most photos and links: Asylum Projects

As Black people we have played an active role in America’s History. We were here long before Columbus. It has been reported that while enroute to the New World, members of Columbus’ crew observed Black men sailing East, returning from the New World. It has been said that Alfonso Pietro Nino, the captain of one of Columbus’ ships, was a Black man. Early records refer to him as a man of color.

Dr. Van Sertima indicates that Columbus wrote in his diary of the second voyage that when he was in Haiti, the native Americans came to him and told him that Black people had come from the South and Southeast in large boats. They came to trade gold-tipped metal spears called guanine. Scientific examination of these spear tips by the Spanish revealed that they had the identical ratio of gold, silver, and copper alloy as spears forged in Africa. In addition, the presence of American cotton in Africa as well as other findings all provide evidence that Africans indeed came to America before Columbus.

Harry X. Davidson, Ph.D.

from the book, Somebody’s Trying to Kill You:  The Psychodynamics of White Racism and Black Pathology (Chapter 6, Denial of Historical Achievement)

"Pavilion became a term of hospital architecture in the mid nineteenth century. It means a detached or semi-detached block or building in a hospital complex. The PAPHE glossary defines a pavilion as “a building or a main building with a block plan”. However, PAPHE uses the term ‘Pavilion Hospital’ in an extended sense for ‘an edifice consisting of independent buildings (completely isolated or linked to each other through open galleries), irrespective of the layout’.

The first Pavilion type hospital was the Royal Herbert, on Shooters Hill Eltham, a military hospital opened on Jan 11, 1865. The second was St. Thomas’ in London, which opened in 1871. These were designed on principles recommended by Florence Nightingale. The Architect of Royal Herbert being her nephew. Therefore all pavilion and corridor-pavilion types should post-date these.”

- Asylum Projects (links added to excerpt)

decoration attached to wall

"Fruit on the rear wall of the old nurses home, compliments the fruit pots on the roof, must have used a quality paint as this has been here for many years." - [Sir Pete’s]

A cool wall decoration, kind of like a carving or a plaster-thing.  It is built into the wall, as if it had a flat back which was glued, but the side facing us is textured and beautiful.  An overflowing basket of individual colorful fruits with a rose on top (or maybe a cabbage!). 

Denbigh Asylum (nurse’s quarters) in North Wales, UK

fruit bowl statue on roof

"As the old nurses quarters is a long way from the road, a lot of people haven’t noticed the pots of fruit up on the roof, from the distance they just look like chimney pots." - [Sir Pete’s]

A small adorable statue of a bowl overflowing with fruit sits inconspicuously atop the roof of the nurse’s building.

Denbigh Asylum (nurse’s quarters) in North Wales, UK

winter photo stone buildings


fire remnants, thousands of bricks


North Wales Hospital Historical Society Website

Timeline of North Wales Hospital

aerial photos of Denbigh Asylum

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

A photograph of a large grey stone building on the extensive Denbigh asylum campus. Bricks scattered here and there on the ground, some red trim on the roof, multiple chimneys, a small tower with design nods to the main clocktower at the front of the asylum. Surrounded by one story buildings of similar stone or red brick.

A second photograph shows what might be a courtyard, but filled completely with a layer of maybe thousands of red bricks - the result of a serious fire. There are brick walls which are still crumbling and a large sandy colored asylum building with many windows and chimneys. A couple familiar rooflines and the clocktower are in the background.

huge stone asylum


white rectangular nurses' quarters

"Denbigh Lunatic Asylum aka North Wales Hospital – Nurses Block"

The pictures above are of two major buildings on the grounds of the former North Wales hospital in Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales.  The first photograph is of the outside of the castle-like hospital building.  Grey stone, big clocktower in the middle, and I can see like 20 chimneys sticking up from the many buildings on this campus which are just out of view.  The second photo is of the nice, simple white building where the nurses lived, looks more contemporary (not like a castle).  In the background of both these pictures are rolling hills of fields and farmland in rural Wales.

picturesque asylum in rural Wales

[Sir Pete’s Pics]

Cute fluffy sheep grazing in green farm fields in front of former Denbigh Asylum and the nurses’ house.  Beautiful blue skies, big trees.  The asylum looks like a grey stone castle.  The nurses house is closer in view, it’s a bright white building which looks like a nice hotel from the early 1900s.

October, 2014

Denbigh, North Wales

Gardener’s shed at former Denbigh Asylum
Denbigh Mental Asylum

front of asylum in snow

"The U-shaped Tudorbethain style hospital was built due to the spreading word of mistreatment of Welsh people in English asylums; The North Wales Hospital would be a haven for welsh speaking residents to seek treatment without prejudice or a language barrier."


"North Wales Counties’ Lunatic Asylum at Denbigh was built by public subscription, primarily out of concern for the welfare of Welsh-speaking patients who had previously been sent to asylums in England. The original core of the hospital was an impressive U-shaped range in Jacobean style with a central clock-tower, designed by Thomas Fulljames of Gloucester and opened in 1848. The principal benefactor, the local landowner Joseph Ablett, was commemorated by a bust in a niche in the entrance hall. The original building housed 200 patients, but there was progressive enlargement.

By 1908 there was a self-sufficient ‘village’ of 1,000 patients and staff with a chapel, a farm, workshops, and private water and electricity supplies. Significant inter-war developments included schemes for dispersing patients and staff: six detached villas for patients were planned (though only two were built), a substantial nurses’ home was added and a reception hospital for voluntary patients (the ‘nerve hospital’) was established in an adjoining villa.”

- Asylum Projects

Denbigh, North Wales

purple tones asylum clocktower


Denbigh Mental Asylum clocktower

Denbighshire, Wales

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