Knowle Farm stood on the north outskirts of Fareham, lying halfway between the town and Wickham. It was bought by the county in 1852 and became the site of Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum. The hospital buildings were within well landscaped grounds which covered a 100 acres area. As a long-stay institution for people with mental illness, it was built to cater for more than 1,000 patients. It was an extremely large building which was considerably enlarged over the years to cater for male and female patients from all over Hampshire. The wards were spacious and the inmates had considerable freedom, with some carrying out simple duties in the kitchens and gardens. As it was in an isolated spot, it presented travel problems for visitors and patients.
As part of the Government's Care in the Community programme the hospital is closed for the most part, although Ravenswood, a regional secure unit operates as a self-sufficient unit on the north-east side of the site. The old hospital has been developed by Berkeley Homes as Knowle Village. The company has already built most of the 500 homes on the 53 acre site. More than 150 luxury apartments are being developed in the listed part of the old hospital. The properties, with one to five bedrooms, are intended to attract a cross section of buyers.