Harperbury Hospital

Harper Lane near Radlett

By Bob Houlston

I remember playing with a rock ‘n’ roll band at Harperbury Hospital staff social club on a Sunday lunchtime in the mid 1970s. We were there on a hot Summer’s day and through the windows of the club where we were playing you could see bathers in the swimming pool.

Harperbury asylum is only a few miles from Shenley asylum and Napsbury asylum which are both now fully converted into flats and houses.

The original layout of Harperbury Hospital was mainly of small villas, with large open areas of grounds surrounding them and no corridors joining them.

Harperbury is rumoured to have had two padded cells.

Recently, a brand new psychiatric secure unit with two wards, Beech and Oak, has been built and there is a lot of activity for training staff at Harperbury Hospital.

This page was added on 04/11/2009.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I worked at Harperbury from 87-89 as an Assistant Psychologist. It was my first work experience after leaving University. Looking back on it now I recall the school with very fond memories. As AJ said, they were extremely innovative and did some excellent work with people who had very challenging behaviour. The psychology department was also very good and led by the excellent and very warm Dr. Dick Mein. I look back on my time their with great fondness, especially as I approach my own retirement.

    By Richard Kerry (05/04/2021)
  • I was teacher at Harperbury Hospital school for several years from 1982.
    We had few resources and were working to help and support some of the most disabled, damaged and disturbed young people you could ever imagine.
    I could tell stories to make your hair curl.
    We were young and perhaps a bit naïve but we cared passionately about those in our care. We introduced some pioneering techniques to break through barriers to learning and I hope we brought some joy into the lives of those forgotten people.
    I only wish I knew what happened to them after the school closed.
    Thank God times have moved on and that the most vulnerable in society are treated so differently now.

    By AJ (21/01/2021)
  • I was a student nurse at Harperbury from 1967 until 1971. I sympathize with the lady that her late uncle could have had a better life if he had lived in a supported living environment, but that was the care given in those days, when the community in general was not prepared to have persons with intellectual difficulties living in close proximity to their homes. But I have to emphasise that our patients were never abused or suffered from “horrors” as the lady mentioned.

    By Tony Mifsud (05/03/2014)
  • My Uncle spent most of his life at Harperbury. He was born in 1907 and went there just as it opened. I visited him there until he died in Barnet General in 1975. I am very upset that his life was so poor – especially as these days he would have been able to be in a Supported Living Service as he was small, dumb, quiet and must have suffered many, many horrors which he tried to describe through actions….

    By Pauline Griffin (19/10/2011)