In order to prevent over crowding at the existing asylums in the Somerset Area in the 1930s it was decided to build a new mental hospital in Barrow Gurney. Work began in 1934, finnished in 1937 and opened in 1938. The Bristol architect Sir George Oatley designed the the hospital made of red bricks.
In the 60's the hospital's population peaked at 453 patients but numbers began to fall as more provision was made for care at home or by community support workers. By 1970 there were about 200 patients in care at the hospital and the number progressively declined until in the 1990s.