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Report - Napsbury Asylum, London Colney - January 2013

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Session9, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    History

    The Middlesex County Asylum was founded in 1898 with the hospital designed in a country estate style by architect Rowland Plumbe in 1900, who also rebuilt, to his designs, the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel in 1897. The hospital was designed for 1,205 residents, and the grounds were designed by William Goldring. Napsbury opened, following the construction of the numerous buildings and extensive grounds on June 3, in 1905. According to Middlesex County Record, the initial cost, including land and equipment, was £545,000, or £473 per bed. In 1908 Plumbe designed an extension to accommodate a further 600 patients.

    During the First World War, Napsbury was used for and known as the County of Middlesex War Hospital, which tended for soldiers wounded at the Front. Following this, in the late 1920s a nurses home was also added to the site, further adding to the variety of different buildings and facilities at the site. Although Napsbury suffered some bomb damaged in the Blitz, it was in continuous use as a hospital until its closure in 1998. Due to its largely untouched parkland, Napsbury was listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden in 2001.


    The explore

    Today, the entire Napsbury site has either been redeveloped or demolished, except for two buildings - a 1960/70's patient block (which we will come to at the end of this report) and of course, the main attraction, the Nurses Home. As mentioned above, the home was built in the 1920's, complete with a canteen and various common rooms and would have catered for up to 140 staff. A fire extinguisher with a fire label expiring at the end of 1993 would suggest it met its end in the early 1990's, at a time when patients were being moved on and an increasing number of staff were living away from the hospital.

    There has been some attempt at building work here, but into what remains a mystery. The sleeping quarters are tiny and the building is reinforced concrete throughout. A fire(s) has not helped matters in the main building taking with it part of the roof and the canteen/kitchen area is in a sorry looking state.

    Its not an epic explore by any stretch of the imagination, but i enjoyed this one - probably confirmed by the fact that i was here for over three hours including a wander around the pleasant former asylum grounds now home to middle managers and idiots. It was a bit of a tourist hot spot on this day, bumping into a couple who appreciated local history and from a top floor window viewing an entire family of all ages making their way out!

    I think the corridor action here is rather good!
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    The kitchen/canteen area is far left.
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    One more click of the shutter and i'm sure those walls will be over.
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    The author hangs his head in frustration - he's run out of bloody snacks!!
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    The other remaining derelict building at Napsbury; which is grim inside to say the least. In better days, it was some form of patient accommodation, judging by the remaining fixtures. There was nothing worth pointing a camera at in there!

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    That's all folks, thanks for looking!
     

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