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Runwell Research laboratory (Runwell Hospital)

Visited 2004


These are the research laboratory's of Runwell Hospital in Essex The labs were built to conduct research into the diseases of the brain, at a time when there was little information about the causes of this type of disease. 

During the 1950's these bleak looking buildings were home Britain's first organized collection of Brain samples the research at Runwell was conducted under a neuropathologist called Dr Corsellis. Corsellis collected the first samples of what was to later to become the one of the largest collections of brain specimens ever established. Samples were categorized in banks by type and the medical records of each patient were collected for study and comparison. The collection was to become the life's work of Dr Corsellis who continued his research until his death in 1994. In 1997 the labs at Runwell were closed and the collection was transferred to a hospital in west London.

Many of the early samples were taken without the consent of relatives as permission to collect samples was not a requirement until the 1960's. Samples were taken from a wide range of sources Including children. Despite the controversy of this type of research pioneering work was conducted at Runwell which formed the foundation for many modern research projects.

A disturbing amount of material has been left behind: Repots, Notes, Equipment and even samples still remain It felt like the research team went home one day  and never simply never returned.




Murder in 1942,








This clinical laboratory sits trapped in time, there are scientific Instruments, bottles and logs. Shelves are filled with books on disease and the physiology of the brain.

This is one of the places where researchers would run tests on their samples,  dissect samples, apply preservatives and record their data.


The Labs,










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