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  • The County Asylum at Hanwell, also known as Hanwell Insane Asylum, and Hanwell Pauper and Lunatic Asylum, was built for the pauper insane. Hanwell was the first purpose-built asylum in England and Wales, and it opened in 1831. Some of the original buildings are now part of the headquarters for the West London Mental Health Trust. Its first superintendent, Dr William Charles Ellis, was known in his lifetime for his pioneering work and his adherence to his "great principle of therapeutic employment". Sceptical contemporaries were amazed that such therapy speeded recovery at Hanwell. This greatly pleased the visiting Justices of the Peace as it reduced the long term cost of keeping each patient. Under the third superintendent John Conolly the institution became famous as the first large asylum to dispense with all mechanical restraints. The asylum is next to the village of Hanwell but parochially belongs to the suburb of Southall. It is about 8 miles or 13 km west of Central London and 6 miles south-east of Uxbridge. The building lies on a gently sloping river gravel terrace, a common feature of the Thames Valley.

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