Garrow Hill House and Estate, 20th century

Scope and Content

The Retreat bought Garrow Hill Estate (comprising the House and two fields) when it came on the market in 1927. It was bought in order to increase its space and privacy. The Retreat Annexe at Millfield (see RET 7/2) was sold by The Retreat in 1928, to meet the cost.
Between 1929 and 1931, Garrow Hill House was adapted and equipped to house 40 patients, and to be a Home for the treatment of mild and early cases of mental illness, convalescent cases and rest cures. Its opening was delayed through the 1930s, however, until there were better economic conditions, and until the Retreat could cope with the large amount of extra work which the addition of a nursing home would entail.
At the beginning of the Second World War York Corporation wanted to use it as a clearing house for child evacuees but when it was decided that York would not be an evacuee clearing centre it was instead requisitioned as staff billets for the RAF bomber squadron stationed at Heslington Hall. In 1944 it was hoped that when de-requisitioned it might be used for housing senile patients, and as a place for the Occupational Therapy Centre. It was de-requisitioned in 1953.
Although The Retreat then considered using it as an ‘Eventide Home’ for elderly people who only needed a little supervision, it was not able to find the capital for conversion. Between 1957 and 1965 Garrow Hill House was used as ‘buffer ward’ (ie temporary accommodation) for patients temporarily displaced from other wards in the Retreat which were successively being upgraded and refigured: so men from The Lodge were housed at Garrow Hill House between 1957 and 1963, and women from West Centre between 1963 and 1965. It then had a 42 bed capacity. A room at Garrow Hill House was also made into an Art Studio in 1957.
It was intended that after this temporary use for patients it would then become permanent accommodation. In 1965, the Retreat Nurses Home [Fairfax House] was leased to the University on a 99 year lease. With the money from this, Garrow Hill House was converted, between 1965 and 1966, to a staff dining block, and rooms for resident staff.
After this use ceased, it was used for various purposes, including a base for the Alzhiemer’s Disease Society in the 1990s.
In February 2009, Northern Pathways, a joint venture between the Retreat and Turning Point (a national health and social care provider), converted Garrow House to be a 12 bedded unit for women with complex needs who need help to move forward in recovery. This service was commissioned by local Health Trusts in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Alternative Form Available

Much of the Retreat Archive has been digitised with funding from the Wellcome Collection. Copies of digitised records can be viewed online where available by following links provided within the catalogue.

Related Material

See also plan of Garrow Hill Estate at RET 2/1/25 and photographs at RET 1/8/2/6 and RET 1/8/3/22.

Additional Information