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Strong Dress

1890 - 1930

Tunic-shaped dress made from a heavy-duty white cotton material without fastenings, worn by patients to prevent self-harming.

This dress was used at Prestwich (Asylum) Hospital, which was a prominent local institution and the major employer for a considerable number of years in Prestwich, near Bury.

In 1842 an application was made to the Lunacy Commission for permission to build a lunatic asylum in Prestwich, which could accommodate 350 patients. The site chosen at Prestwich Wood enjoyed a leafy, semi-rural aspect which would be therapeutic for patients and was conveniently close to nearby workhouses from which pauper lunatics would be transferred.

Prestwich Asylum was opened in 1851 for 500 patients. The site was developed over the years until it became the largest mental institution in Europe with a population of 3,000.

In 1923 the institution was renamed County Mental Hospital, Prestwich, and the term asylum was abandoned.

From 1948 until 1994, the hospital was known as Prestwich Hospital. Since that time the Hospital has been scaled down substantially.