At full capacity the asylum was home to nearing 3,533 patients (and 600 staff) making it the largest populated in Great Britain and second largest in Europe.
The design of the red brick buildings takes form of multiple detached quadrangle blocks with inter-connecting corridors that radiate out from a central axis.
The entire site like so many others from the Victorian era thrived off of its own self-sufficiency. The asylum owned its own railway station, 500 acres of farmland, a water tower, cinema/theatre brewery and butchers and in the early years even the bricks were made from red clay that was excavated from the site. The exception to self containment from the outside world was that coal supplies used to be brought up to the hospital by horse and cart prior to the extension that was made to the railway line, this line however was shut down in 1957.