n South African Medical Journal - Medicine and the environment : a sensory garden : forum

Volume 101, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Town Hill Psychiatric Hospital in Pietermaritzburg was built in the late 1870s and opened in 1880. It was designed and built in the grand fashion of Victorian mental institutions; most of its buildings are now listed historical monuments as examples of Victorian colonial architecture. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was almost a self-sufficient community, with vegetable gardens, a piggery,quarry and permanent residences for many of the staff, gardeners and workmen. The first medical superintendent, Dr James Hyslop, planted the trees, many of which still remain and must be up to 100 years old. There are groves of bamboo, yellowwood, cycads, enormous azaleas and avenues lined with jacaranda and London planes in the grounds, which give it the atmosphere of an English country estate in a condition of mild decaying colonial splendour.

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