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Report - Harperbury Hospital - Hertfordshire - February 2012

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by bhg, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. bhg

    bhg In Search of Lost Time
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    History (borrowed) - At the end of the Great War in 1919 when the armistice had been signed, the Royal Flying Corp's London Colney aerodrome was abandoned. In 1924 Middlesex County Council purchased the Porters Park estate, comprising a total area of 420 acres, upon which the aerodrome had been built. The area would eventually become the site of both Harperbury and Shenley hospitals. On October 25th, 1928, a new mental hospital was opened on the site utilising the old aircraft hangers as ward accommodation and it would become known as The Hangers Certified Institution .
    The first of these new buildings was opened in February 1931 and by December of the same year the institution housed 342 male patients. Various other buildings were built to service the daily routine of the complex together with proper dormitory blocks and a recreational hall which could seat 700 people. A nurse's home was built to the west of the administration building and tennis courts and an extensive sports field were laid out. The sports field is still there today and in regular use as football pitch.
    After World War Two the newly elected Labour government created the National Health Service which took over control of the colony in 1948, in 1950 the institution was renamed Harperbury Hospital. During the 1950s there was continual expansion at Harperbury, the institution had 1,464 beds and an annex at Hemel Hempstead with a further 30 beds. Four more patient villas were built together with another nursing home for male nurses, a department of clinical psychology was established, the school was enlarged, and an indoor swimming pool was built. In 1960 a cerebral palsy unit was opened which also provided services to mental hospitals throughout the area.
    The hospital farm was closed in 1973 as the first part of the scaling down operation, and by 1974 a discharge programme had begun moving patients out of Harperbury and back into the outside world.


    Visited with PCWOX on one sunny morning. Sadly, remaining buildings are badly damaged, there is not much left to see...Lots of colourful peeling paint everywhere... and some creepy pigeons...

    Pics here:

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