New book by local author: Fair Mile Hospital: a Victorian Asylum by Ian Wheeler – released in May

Twelve years after the closure of Fair Mile Hospital, a new book will be the first to offer a detailed account of how the old asylum came to be built, how it operated and how it weathered a roller-coaster of national crisis and variable fortune over its 133-year life span. Fair Mile Hospital: a Victorian Asylum portrays a typical example of the nation’s network of county asylums, drawing on official archives, local knowledge and the author’s fourth-generation connections with the hospital. Extensively illustrated, this book puts names to faces, tracks the asylum’s considerable growth and ultimate decline, and describes the caring environment that was mandated by the Victorian legislation that brought it into being.

Fair Mile Hospital: a Victorian Asylum is due for publication by History Press in May 2015. It will be officially launched at an event at the Cholsey Pavilion, starting at 2.30pm on Saturday 30th May and all are invited to view displays of photographs and artefacts and to meet a few of the people who made the book possible. Copies will be on sale at an introductory price.

For further details contact the author, Ian Wheeler, on 01491-652295 or

Fair mile book cover