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Report - Harperbury Hospital, Shenley, Hertfordshire, February 2013

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by PCWOX, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. PCWOX

    PCWOX 28DL Regular User
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    Harperbury was opened in 1928 using converted WW1 airfield hangars and known as the Hangars Certified Institution. Male patients lived and worked there and assisted in the building of the main colony itself, which was completed in stages between 1931 - 1936. The 'Middlesex Colony' as it was known, was part of an ambitious plan which included the building of Shenley Mental Hospital nearby although the colony was never fully completed. The name Harperbury Hospital was adopted in 1950.

    The colony was designed by the Middlesex county architect, WT Curtis and anticipated becoming largely self sufficient with its own farm, gardens dept, laundry, boiler house, workshops for men and women, administrative blocks, staff housing, sports fields, a recreation hall and main stores. The villas were designed for varying grades of learning disability and some severe epileptics and were built around three loop roads which divided the site into male, female and children's departments (the last included a school block).

    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. The Kennedy-Galton Centre was moved away in 1987 and by the 1990s plans were in place to close Shenley, Napsbury and Harperbury hospitals, however, in 1995 and again in 1998, Harperbury experienced a temporary influx of patients from two other institutions that were closing. But the discharge program continued and by late 2001 there were only about 200 chronically sick patients in residence.

    Visited with bauhausgirl. Sadly, it seems that all of what is left to explore is some old damaged buildings, which are all pretty similar. Padded cells etc, appear to be long gone. Was a bit strange with boys football matches taking place on the adjacent pitches, and we spotted a couple of inquisitive lads peering into one of the buildings...
    A good mooch still, though very trashed with some dodgy floorboards here.

    Fancy a kickabout?
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    The red room
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    The blue room
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    Child's swing
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    Rooftops missing everywhere
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    Time for dinner now
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