Ref NoS22
Catalogue LevelFonds
TitleIsle of Man Ballamona Hospital
DescriptionThis collection contains the records of the Isle of Man Ballamona Hospital from the 19th century to the middle 1990's when the service, as a formal hospital, was closed by the Department of Health and Social Security, giving space to the new Noble's Hospital. The records of Ballamona Hospital provide an important source of information for the history of mental health care on the Island. The records include minutes, accounts, patient records, staff records, visitor records, correspondence, estate management records and plans, photographs, publications and press cuttings.

The collection is an important tool for family history research, as the entirety of the patients' case files appear to have survived and have been transferred to the Isle of Man Public Record Office (IOMPRO). From these records, it is possible to know where and with whom the patient was residing before entering the Hospital, for what reasons they entered the Hospital, how many times they were institutionalised, if they had visitors and additional medical care, such as blood tests or dental procedures. Among the records, it is also possible to find personnel files from members of staff, which can provide details of the hospital's nursing staff, their qualifications, where they studied, their previous jobs, as well as information on the doctors and psychologists that worked and developed their practice in the institution.
NotesIn this catalogue you may find terminology or language included in historical record titles and descriptions that are today considered offensive or pejorative. These terms have been retained in the catalogue in order to reflect the historical accuracy of the record. All such terms will appear in inverted commas and they are in no way representative of views or opinions of the Isle of Man Government in the 21st Century. The only exception where inverted commas have not been used is for administrative bodies that carried the expression 'Lunatic' in their title, as this was the formal name of the institution itself. We apologise for any offence that our inclusion of these words may cause.
Administrative HistoryThe Isle of Man's care for people experiencing mental health problems was called to the attention of the public in 1794 when David Robertson, author of 'A Tour Through the Isle of Man, to Which is Subjoined a Review of the Manx History' published his book. Only much later, in 1865, limited mental health care provision was made on the Island, converting and reserving a space in Castle Rushen. At the time, the castle was being used as the Island's prison. This provided a place to house people whose family could not care for them, but it did not offer the medical treatment, conditions or attention that was seen as needed and was increasing throughout the United Kingdom at the time.

The Lunatic Asylum Act of 1860 established the legal basis for the construction and operation of a publicly-funded residential asylum on the Isle of Man to care for the mentally ill. Land was purchased in the Strang area of Braddan for the construction of the main asylum, which was designed by architect J. H. Christian. It opened to its first patients in June 1868. In the interim, a temporary asylum had been operating in a former farm building in Oatlands, Santon, since 1864.
This provisional asylum was assessed and, based on this visit, recommendations were made on how to improve the patients' quality of life and the conditions that the new building should have in consideration to its structure. It would be the first of various assessments made through the institution's life that targeted improving the buildings to provide better conditions for people with mental health problems.

Changes were made to the building throughout the 20th century and the institution changed name twice to adapt and reflect the changes in how mental health was perceived. The Lunatic Asylum became the Isle of Man Mental Hospital in 1934 and Isle of Man Ballamona Hospital in 1955.

The Asylum was managed by the Lunatic Asylum Board from its establishment until 1948; during this time, it was funded by rates raised from Island residents. In 1948, the Manx National Health Service was launched and it assumed responsibility for running the Mental Hospital while it continued to be funded from the revenue of Government-levied taxes.

In the 1960's the Hospital saw its last major alterations with the construction of new wards. A new Medical Superintendent, Dr W. R. Costain, brought patient care up to date with the medical practice of the time, prompting changes in the way patients were treated and cared for.

In 1992, Tynwald approved the principle of using the Ballamona Hospital estate as the site for the Island's main hospital. Accordingly, in 1998, the original main block of the Asylum was demolished to make way for the new Noble's Hospital.
By this time, changes to the way in which the Mental Health Service treated many conditions enabled the majority of patients to live in the community instead of a specialised centre.
Custodial HistoryThe records were transferred to the Isle of Man Public Record Office in a number of consignments from 1996 to 2011 under section 3(8) of the Public Records Act 1999. Most were received directly from Ballamona Hospital or the Isle of Man Mental Health Services. The records were fully transferred to the Isle of Man Public Record Office under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1999 on 5 August 2015.
Arrangement of SeriesS22/1 - Minutes: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/2 - Foundation and Early Papers: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum
S22/3 - Patient Admission and Registration Records: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/4 - Patient Care Records: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/5 - Visitors Records for the Isle of Man Mental Hospital and its successors
S22/6 - Correspondence: Isle of Man Ballamona Hospital
S22/7 - Financial Records: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/8 - Staff Recruitment and Employment Records: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/9 - Plans of Sites and Properties: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/10 - Deeds, Leases and Tenancies: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/11 - Farm Management Records: Isle of Man Mental Hospital and its successors
S22/12 - Building Management Records: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/13 - Photographs: Isle of Man Mental Hospital and its successors
S22/14 - Publications: Isle of Man Lunatic Asylum and its successors
S22/15 - Press Cuttings: Isle of Man Ballamona Hospital
AccessPartially closed
Access ConditionsParts of this collection are currently closed to public access under the Public Records Act 1999 and Public Records Order 2015 as the records contain sensitive personal information (categories B2, C2). Please contact the Isle of Man Public Record Office for further information:
Extent492 boxes; 4.58 cubic meters
Alternative Reference NumberC17
Accession NumberA35
Related MaterialUnder the Lunatic Asylum Act 1860, a one-off tax on all Manx property owners was levied in order to build the hospital. This resulted in a survey of the Island and a series of plans of land ownership were created. These plans were collected in 30 volumes and form the 'Asylum plans', an important collection for the knowledge of land ownership on the Island. These plans are available to view at the Isle of Man Public Record Office. A guide can be found here:

Show related Authority records.

DS/IM/30Isle of Man; Ballamona Hospital; 1868-1998?1868-1998?
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