Discover Canterbury: Sunnyside Hospital

The facility formerly known as "Sunnyside Lunatic Asylum" (later "Sunnyside Hospital") was built in 1863, designed by architect Benjamin Mountfort in a châteauesque Gothic style.

Prior to the opening of Sunnyside, the mentally ill had been kept in the Lyttelton Gaol. The former superintendent of Lyttelton Gaol, Edward Seager, became the first superintendent of Sunnyside, while his wife Esther, who had been the gaol matron became matron of Sunnyside.

Lyttelton Prison. Christchurch Star - no known copyright. CCL-StarP-02726A.

An administration building designed by John Campbell was added in 1892, with other later building additions being designed by Daniel Reese.

In 1999 the hospital closed. Demolition of the last remaining Sunnyside building began in April 2007, making way for a housing development. This move was met with public outcry due to the destruction of heritage buildings of architectural and cultural significance.

Hillmorton Hospital, which operates on the former Sunnyside site, continues to operate as a dedicated mental health facility.

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Discover Canterbury

Discover Canterbury is a fortnightly blog post promoting beautiful, interesting, weird, and wonderful digital content from our Canterbury Stories and Discovery Wall collections.
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