Welcome to aturnofthekey

 Memories of Old St.Georges Hospital 1818-1995  and Coton Hill Hospital 1854-1976 Stafford
A shared record of the Life and Times of these once-proud Old Hospitals. 25/02/2012

Copyright © to All Material on the Site is acknowledged as being Retained by the Donor/s – Permission for Use – Is Required



Some Terms used, to describe Psychiatric Patients, their Illnesses and Treatment  etc, have changed considerably over decades.
They may appear to many of us now, as somewhat derogatory and non politically correct.
However they were  thought in their time to be appropriate and, reproduced here, simply reflect historical use.
Some of the Humour expressed on the Site may seem somewhat  “quirky” or “inappropriate”. However it is often just a way of
dealing, with some of the difficult working circumstances found in all Institutions, like the Prison and Police Service etc.
–  It is Not meant to offend  –

Your Remarks, Impressions etc. can be published in the “Comments” section on the “Home” page.
Please – Read  “Notes About Comments” at bottom of the page.

Your more detailed Stories and Experiences are recorded on the “Anecdotes” page, reflecting a variety of
Individual Memories about these old places and people.

There is a facility on the “Contact” page  where people can try Reconnecting – Privately – to those who
they may have lost contact with or misplaced details for.

All other Private – Enquiries may also be made, via the “Contact” page, Direct to me
I will try to reply to them all – as soon as possible.

Supplemental to the Page-Top Menu, there are other conventions, to help navigate through the Site – Click on to them to use.
Links, both On and Off the Site, identified in Blue as HERE – New Images, identified temporarily in Red as HERE or NEW

A Turn of the Key  –  A Work in Progress

THIS SITE IS FOR ALL who have been involved in providing and/or accessing, the facilities of these Old, Local Hospitals,
including  all  Ex-Staff, Volunteers, Ex-Patients and Relatives etc.
Many people contributed to the rich and varied histories of these old places, and this site attempts to reflect the work they did,
through words and images, from the people who experienced them.
It is also for all those People of the Stafford Area and beyond, who are interested in their Histories.

The Old St Georges and Coton Hill Hospitals in Stafford started and ended their lives at different points in time. Despite this they were linked strongly together in many ways throughout their long lives. From very early in the 19th century to nearly the end of the late 20th century, they served a Community need for 177 yrs at St Georges and 122 yrs at Coton Hill.
These two Old Hospitals, like many of their type, experienced some problems during their lives. Despite this they did achieve a generally recognised positive reputation, which spread beyond Stafford and the surrounding area, and in the main have served the Community well.

Coton Hill closed in 1976 transferring it’s function to the Old St Georges. This released ground to be used for the building of a new General Hospital which, though opening in 1983, worked in tandem with the Old Stafford General Infirmary until it’s eventual closure in 1996.
The Old St Georges closed in 1995 transferring its function to the New St Georges Complex on the southern edge of the Old Hospital site.
Though the extensive grounds of St Georges were earmarked for modern development there have been a number of different Development Proposals, many having fallen by the wayside. However the current ongoing  Development, to build a variety of dwellings in the grounds of this huge site, appears to be the best of any of the previously proposed plans.
The Old Historic-Main-Building, the heart of the Old St Georges where the links to Coton Hill sprang from, having achieved Grade 2 Listed Status from English Heritage to protect it’s future – was now going to stay – Protected within the terms of it’s new Status.

Over the years since the above events, I like many others have watched with growing horror and disgust, an obvious and continuing deterioration to this Main Building, the Hub of the Old Hospital. Local-Press and Eye-Witness reports about Criminal Vandalism and Arson, leading to a subsequent increase in the deterioration of the Main Building, was utterly appalling.
On-line investigation of the many Urban-Exploration Sites on the Internet, See HERE showed the full, graphic reality of their internal and external degraded condition, and very little seemed to be done to address this.
It looked as though we could sadly, through Indecision and Neglect, lose this Old Place and it’s memories for ever.
All of this despite now having the recognised Status of a Grade II Listed Building and the generally perceived – protection of English Heritage!
The Good-News is that despite being closed for 20 years and all that has happened to it since, as described above – the old Landmark is virtually rising from the ashes. As from May/June 2015 work has now commenced on the old Main Building. Plans  by Shropshire Homes Developments are to sensitively restore and convert it into 1, 2, and 3 bedroom dwellings in a parkland setting – See “Archived” page.

I believe that the Stories of these Places and their People should be told. Their History and Memories preserved before being lost permanently. However, related Documentation about them where it even exists, is fragmented in a variety of locations and not very easy to access.
This task would probably be better suited to a younger more energetic person, rather than someone approaching decrepitude like me, but no one having yet done so in this form, I attempted it myself. Over twelve months later I eventually Registered and Published this Site in 2012.
It was and still is, a gathering together of material relevant to our two Old Hospitals, to preserve and present in one place, an easily accessible record  for All who may be interested. This to be through Photos, Comments, Anecdotes, Snippets of History and whatever else can be found.

Describing a Hospital’s life and care of it’s People throughout it’s long history, on an Open, Public-Access Site, can raise some Sensitive Issues.
We also have very Individual perceptions of these Old Places and People. Some of them may be Positive, some of them may Not always be so.
The Site will always attempt to reflect – these Issues and Differing Viewpoints –  in as Acceptable a way as possible.

In recognition of the above, please, try to be – Respectful of it’s People –  if I have missed anything untoward please  Contact  me.



 If You have anything to Donate Contact Me  

Peter Anthony, Anne Appleby, John Aris, Sue Astle, Kath Cox, Trisha Hayward, Tony Lakin
Chris Peet, Beryl Sandy, Roy Shirley, Bill Sim, Brian Simms, Ian Ward, Jeanette Watson
Kevin McConville, Phillip Warelow, Eddy Hood, Mary Balahura, Geoff Dewsbury
Margaret Dooley, Mark Melvin, The Staffordshire Newsletter, An Anonymous Donor
Dave Plant, David Johnson, Philip Locke, Doug Endean, Martin Garvey

Many Thanks to You All for Your Contributions – Without you there would be no Site.


Explore – Reminisce – Participate – Share The Memories – Send in Your Donations – Tell Others About It  – Thank You – Brian Simms.



Notes About Comments  –  etc.

Comments – Related to the Site and it’s Contents – are for Recollections of Your Personal Experiences and or Perceptions.
Hopefully they will  bring more Variety and Colour to the Site. – They are Very Welcome and Much Appreciated.

It’s OK to say Hello or for a Quick Catch Up –  but   Please  Do Not use the Comments Facility for  “Longer-Personal-Conversations”  See the  Contact  Page



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