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Cotford St Luke Parish Council

Before 1995 – The Psychiatric Hospital

Photo supplied by Jane Hinton

The opportunity to develop Cotford St Luke arose from the closure of the NHS Tone Vale Hospital in 1995.  The following is a brief summary of the hospital’s existence.

Under the name Somerset and Bath Asylum, it admitted its first patients in 1897.  It continued in various ways as a psychiatric hospital for patients across Somerset until March 1995 when it was closed as a result of the policy  ‘Care in the Community’.


Over time it developed into more than simply a hospital – it comprised a working farm, landscaped grounds with an impressive collection of trees, with homes for senior administrative staff; a home for the nurses; a staff clubhouse; large ball room used for major local events; and a chapel.   There is also a burial ground, today marked by an engraved stone placed there at the request of the Cotford St Luke Community Association.

Photo supplied by Jane HintonThe main hospital building comprised a central administrative section with two wings, one for male the other for female patients – keeping the sexes separate.  This segregation extended to the chapel; attendance was compulsory with segregation imposed by separate entrances for men and women.  At its peak the hospital cared for over 1,300 patients.

Photo supplied by Jane HintonThe hospital is remembered today through Cotford St Luke’s roads that are named after its staff.   Its first medical superintendent was Dr Henry Aveline whose names appears in Aveline Court; others are remembered through Venn Close, Bethell Mead, Stutts end, Needhams Patch and so on.


The book The Tone Vale Story: A Century of Care,[14] edited by David Hinton and Fred Clarke gives an account of the hospital’s history.  A more personal and unflattering account is to be found in The Light in My Mind, the memoir of Joyce Passmore.  There is also a detailed entry in

Photo supplied by Jane Hinton