Fair Mile Hospital: a Victorian Asylum

Twelve years after the closure of Fair Mile Hospital, this new book is 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.

Written by local historian, Ian Wheeler, this extensively illustrated account details the legislative platform that underpinned the former asylum’s creation, traces its construction, expansion and operational progress, examines the conditions under which patients and staff interacted and describes all manner of day-to-day functions that allowed the hospital—as Cholsey’s major employer—to serve the counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire over its 133-year lifespan. Copies are available from the author (details below) or through your favourite book store.

Four generations of Ian’s family worked at Fair Mile and he also offers illustrated talks on Fair Mile’s past and guided walks around the revitalised Fair Mile site for interested groups.

For further details contact the author, Ian Wheeler, on 01491-652295 or ian@cholsey.com

Fair mile book cover