Sunday, 28 April 2013

River Colne - Napsbury

River Colne
The Colne flows west and south. A tributary to the Colne flows southwards

Post to the east London Colney
Post to the south Springfield Farm
Post to the west Radlett Aerodrome

Azalea Close
Site of the admissions hospital
Admissions building. There was a separate, admissions hospital close to the main entrance to the site. This had been designed by Plumbe in 1900, for the reception of new patients and to house short-stay patients. It included ‘airing courts’ with a thatched shelter and mature trees. The southern part was demolished in the 1990s.

Beningfield Drive
Water Tower - Napsbury Hospital included a water tower topped by a turret, with wrought iron railings around a viewing platform This 100 tower has been converted into housing. 
A boiler house chimney is behind the water tower
The main asylum building. The main building was like a country house and it was near the centre of the site, in red brick.  There was a stone porte-cochère below a brick clock tower at the centre. It was surrounded by other buildings in a mix of architectural styles.
Accommodation pavilions lay either side of the main block linked by long corridors. Male blocks were to the east and female to the west

Napsbury Hospital 
When the new London County Council was established Middlesex County Council found that some institutions were now closed to them.  They therefore decided to build their own asylum and, in 1898, purchased the freehold of Napsbury Manor Farm, for a county mental asylum.   It was thought to be a site with a lot of sun and no cold winds, beautiful views and picturesque settings, as well as beautiful trees. It was designed by Rowland Plumbe for 1,205 patients and opened in 1905. The designed was based on Scottish asylums, some of which had been developed in a plan based on the continental colony system. Plumbe's design was innovative in England and included detached, villa-style wards for private and pauper patients scattered in the grounds, with the main complex laid out in a dog-leg form  In 1908 Plumbe also designed a 600-bedded extension, In the Great War it became the County of Middlesex War Hospital.  Entertainments were laid on the troops, including cinema shows, and theatrical and musical performances. In 1918 it was renamed Napsbury Mental Hospital. It closed in 1998.  Crest Nicolson bought the site and restored and converted the disused ward buildings to housing called The Arboretum
Drive. This was lined by a single line of red horse chestnuts. It curved west, passing to the north of the admissions hospital. A spur south encircles the building, giving access to a villa ward standing 100m south-east of the admissions block. The main drive, here flanked by mature trees and shrubs, continues west, past a villa to the north, to the main asylum. A carriage sweep off the drive enclosed a semi-circular lawn planted with mature trees including a copper beech. The main drive then ran west past a clump of Scots pines and more villas.
Gardens. The Asylum was surrounded by gardens designed by William Goldring, in 1902.  In 2001 English Heritage listed the grounds as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden.  They consist of the old 'airing' courts with L-shaped pavilions. There were lawns, with many mature trees and serpentine paths, and thatched wooden shelters, octagonal or rectangular with ornamental iron railings with gates these were laid out incorporating recommendations made in the Commissioners in Lunacy's Suggestions and Instructions.  In front of the main asylum was a grass tennis court flanked by mature trees. Beyond this was the cricket pitch, again with mature trees and a thatched cricket pavilion at the east side.
Nurses' Home. Built in the late 1920s this was on the west side of the site enclosed by trees. The site had originally been a sports ground. A further sports pitch occupies the open space to the east of the cricket pitch.

Pegrum Drive
Sport and recreation area maintained and operated by the Parish Council with cricket, football, tennis, netball, tennis and other activities. There is also a Multi-Use Games Area and a modern sports pavilion.

Siding Way
This reflect the line of the connection to the Midland Railway main line and used for the transfer of patients and for bringing supplies into the hospital. It ran to the yard of the administration block.

Sources
English Heritage. Web site
London Colney Parish Council. Web site.
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Middlesex County Council. History of Middlesex

No comments: