Hill End Stories

Sheltered Housing in Harpenden

By Betty Turner

Emergency Call-out

Working as Warden in Sheltered Housing in Harpenden, I was called out to one of my residents on a regular basis. This lady would, at certain times of the year, take off all her day clothes, put on her nighty, and stand out on her balcony just waiting nervously for the firemen to come to set her alight.

I would then call her doctor, who would call for an ambulance to bring her to Hill End, where she would stay for a length of time receiving treatment until she was well, and safe enough to come home to her flat at Breadcroft.

This event used to happen frequently, mostly at special times of the year, when the same pattern repeated itself. She seemed to have something in her past, which she believed she was going to be punished for when she seemed to get low.

Hill End

She was very secretive about the whole thing, of her past, but very frightened, and resigned at these times to what she considered her punishment. After she was admitted, I would visit a couple of times a week, and notice a gradual improvement, and have meetings with her doctors and carers, until she was well enough to come home.

I was also a friend of the legendary priest Father John Woolley, who brought comfort to many at Hill End in the 80s and 90s.

This page was added on 26/11/2009.

Comments about this page

  • I spent 2 long periods in Hill end hospital ( then a part of Barts hospital ) in 1947 To 1949, having 2 bone graft operations carried out by Surgeon Mr Chris Coltart from Barts. Always treated with great care by everyone, can still remember it quite clearly.

    By Ray Seymour (15/10/2018)

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