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1884 – Convalescent Home, Clacton on Sea, Essex

Architect: Fred Chancellor

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Essex Convalescent Home, in what became Coppins Road in Magdalen Green, Great Clacton, built to the designs of Fred Chancellor, opened in 1884. It was funded by private subscription as a memorial to the chairman of the Essex Quarter Sessions John Perry-Watlington and was therefore sometimes known as the Perry-Watlington Convalescent Home. It accommodated ten patients of each sex. Additions costing £2,000 doubled patient provision in 1892, and provided a new smoking room and lobby in 1898.

However, there were only eight males and four females aged from 14 to 44 present in 1901. New rooms were erected at each end of the home in that year at a cost of £564, allowing a total of 24 female and 20 male patients. Other additions included another male ward c. 1904 and ground-floor rooms and first-floor bedrooms c. 1931. Accommodation had increased to 30 beds for each sex by 1937. Annual patient numbers rose steadily in the earlier 20th century, from 475 in 1907 to 569 in 1913, reaching a peak of 884 in 1938. There were 365 patients in 1955.

In 1959 the home became Barker House, a holiday home for mentally handicapped male patients from the Royal Eastern Counties’ Institution Turner Village, Colchester, Bridge Hospital, Witham, and Brunswick House, Mistley.In the early 1970s there were 58 beds in total, including a children’s unit of 19 beds for permanent residents. In the mid 1980s Barker House became a community unit with 18 places following the closure of Royal Eastern Counties’ Institution, Essex Hall, Colchester.

The lodge, built 1887, is the only original building that remains, as Barker House was demolished and replaced by housing in the later 1980s.