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  1. ITV Report

Colchester prepares to bid farewell to iconic former hospital

The site of the former Severalls Hospital is being sold for redevelopment. Photo: ITV Anglia

ITV News Anglia has been given exclusive access to one of our regions most intriguing sites - a disused hospital in Colchester that housed people with mental disorders for over 75 years.

The site of the former Severalls Hospital has been in decay since it closed in 1997, and now the land is being sold for redevelopment.

It's a building that's been a permanent fixture of the skyline just north of Colchester for over 100 years, first opening its doors in 1913.

Anita Wightwick is a former staff member at the hospital and now runs a guided tour around the historic premises. She says that the special bond between staff and patients made for an enjoyable atmosphere.

"It was a lovely place to work. It was like an extended family. There was a lot of social events that went out and there was a lot of interaction with staff and clients. Everybody knew each other."

– Anita Wightwick, former staff member and tour guide

The building has a rich history. At the peak of its use, it was able to hold up to 2,000 patients, whilst the premises were also used as a recuperation centre for soldiers during World War One.

The hospital has suffered at the hands of the elements since its closure. Credit: ITV Anglia

However, as the years have passed since its closure, the hospital has suffered at the hands of the elements and discussions to redevelop the site are at an advanced stage.

Once the plans go through, this piece of local history will be lost for good, but the memories will surely live on forevermore.