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Thomas Holloway Thomas Holloway

Holloway (1800»1883) was a man who amassed a huge fortune in the first part of his life making patent medicines. He then spent the second part contriving ways in which to spend it.

With an Italian, Felix Albinolo, he developed an ointment  - which after 1834 he marketed as Holloway’s Ointment


His advertising claimed that the ointment possessed a ‘healing genius". However, when analysed it was found to consist of nothing more than yellow bees wax resin, lanolin and olive oil. In later life Holloway became something of a recluse and died in 1883.


Holloway became interested in the prospect of building a sanatorium in 1864 after attending a public meeting at which Lord Shaftesbury attempted to raise £5000 for a ‘middle—class asylum’. Holloway, who at this time was rich, famous and looking for ways to spend his vast wealth, became committed to the concept.

Crossland House

Crossland House - the centrepiece of the Holloway Sanatorium - was the inspired creation of two remarkable men, Thomas Holloway and William Crossland. Between them they were responsible for the conception and construction of two of this country’s outstanding Victorian buildings The Royal Holloway College, Egham and the Holloway Sanatorium.

In 1871, Holloway initiated a public debate through the pages of The Builder, inviting suggestions as to `How best to spend a quarter of a million or more', a sum of money that he very soon doubled. In fact, it was his wife who was to suggest a college for women as the means by which Holloway's money might effect what, in his own words, he wanted to achieve: `the greatest public good'


ln September 1871, Holloway sought the advice of EW Pugin to whom he declared that he intended building an asylum for two hundred paying patients spending £40000 or more on the building - a considerable sum at the time. A competition resulted in thirteen entries all of which were examined for their architectural merit by Professor Donaldson and a TH Wyatt.
The winning entry was by an architectural triumvirate of Crossland, Salomans and Jones. The building was to consist of three storeys; the upper storey being exclusively devoted to sleeping accommodation, male and female patients being kept distant on either sides of the central entrance and Great Hall.


The first brick was laid by Jane Holloway in June 1873 and the building was opened in 1885 by the Prince and Princess of Wales - whilst attending the races at nearby Ascot.   By the time it was finished the cost had risen to a staggering c. £350,000 – the equivalent of c.£12m today.


Work on the building began in the spring of 1873 when a clerk of works was appointed. Crossland received his first commission payment of £300 on 2nd March 1874. Once started, Holloway was determined that building should go forward apace. When he decided on the use of Portland stone in place of ornamental bricks work was not allowed to start. Crossland had to set aside all his carefully planned working and detail drawings, hurriedly drawing up alternatives as they were required by the masons.


There was a very large workforce on the site. It is recorded in connection with the neigbouring Holloway College that there were at times as many as 900 masons employed. The building accounts of the sanatorium include costs of advertising for masons, not only locally in Surrey and Berkshire, but as far afield as Birmingham and Manchester.