Shenley Hospital

The Staff Social Club

Shenley Hospital Chapel

I remember playing in an Irish rock ‘n’ roll band at Shenley Hospital staff social club in the 1980s. We were called The Sean O’Reilly Trio – there were four of us! 🙂

The club was overflowing with an audience of staff, mainly nurses. The hospital, like many other psychiatric hospitals, was in a remote location so the staff social club was the main venue for entertainment for the nurses and therefore we had a full capacity audience.

It was great! 🙂

This page was added on 12/01/2010.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.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

  • Does anyone remember Stanley Humphrey? He was my great uncle, and a patient at Shenley hospital from 1939 until his death in 1991. I’d be interested to know anything about him or generally what life was like for patients at the hospital.

    By Karen (14/11/2021)
  • Good to see one name I remember from the 70s, Thiru , Vincent Thirupathy. All those names Craig Lim, Fred Jacob’s, Vince John’s many times I have wondered whatever happened to them. I was there same time as Thiru, same set I think 70-73. Lots of the Irish lads like Mick Delahunty, Gerry Streete, Mick McCormack (rip). Many happy days and memories.

    By Alan Kolin (29/09/2021)
  • I completed my RMN training at Shenley from July 1980-1982, leaving in September 1982. A great experience, I remember the mother and baby unit, the villa with long stay and acute patients, Woodside? and the Therapeutic community villa. I recall working with
    patients with such severe and complex psychiatric histories (catatonic schizophrenia for example) and I also remember working with so many nurses from different cultural backgrounds. I loved the Social Club and Shenley village.

    By Shirley (12/09/2021)
  • I worked as a kitchen porter at Shenley Hospital around 1985-1986. I stayed in the Jubilee. I remember some good corridor parties. The chef in our kitchen was Clive. I remember Kathy and Brian there. [I also recall recall] friends getting hitched and going to Borehamwood where we stayed at some trainee nurses’ digs for a couple of days. We also had some good times in the social club. I remember the doorman at the time was called Bob. Unfortunately I returned to Middlesbrough due to my father’s illness and never returned. Good old days.

    By Andrew Lemmon (25/04/2021)
  • My mum was one of the people that came over from Portugal to train. She met my father there and the rest was history. My mum Fernanda used to work on Coombwood and also some of the villas. I have fond memories of Mama Nelson.
    The social club, well what a amazing place. It had lots of family fun and entertainment. I met my husband there when we were kids, Marc Devonshire. We lost touch for a while but 22 years later we got talking again and yet again the rest is history.
    My dad Jim Smith was widely respected but used to annoy Derek if he dropped the jackpot out of the fruitie, which was quite often.
    I used to love the swimming pool and feel that was one thing they should of kept.
    Lots of happy memories. I sadly lost mum in 2019 but I know she was a very proud lady who loved and lived for her work.

    By Marie Devonshire (25/03/2021)
  • I lived there as a university student from walk hall in radlett. 1989 to 1990. Students rented some rooms in the nurses accommodation block. We would sometimes drink in the social club. At night we would go wondering around. I remember Morse being filmed there and the occasional patient would also wander the grounds.

    By Jo such (10/12/2020)
  • I worked at Shenley as a psychologist in the early seventies.
    Was a special place and I loved my time there,
    Would like to hear from others especially those who knew Rex benjamin who now lives in France
    He’s about to be 91 and recently had a heart attack .
    Pleased to hear from anyone ..

    By Bridie Walsh (23/09/2020)
  • I visited Shenley yesterday for the first time since leaving in 1986 ish ! I trained as a pupil nurse &; lived in Oakdene. It was so emotional going back – many happy memories . Although the hospital has gone , wonderful to see the mansion , chapel , water tower & one of the old villas . Would love to be in touch with old pals. I trained with the lovely Joanne Grace & was great friends with Claudia Fullalove, who has sadly passed away .

    By Lyndsey ( Nesbit) Smith (30/08/2020)
  • Lovely to read such positive comments about a hospital. I am doing some geneology research and found the person I was looking listed in the 1939 Census. I appreciate its a very long time but wonder if anyone is still living that remembers being there at that time. The lady listed was called Irene Gatehouse and was 29 at the time (born 1910) – any information about her would be greatly appreciated.

    By jenny shaw (11/08/2020)
  • Hi Everyone, I’m Thiru. Was in Shenley hospital from 1970 August till February 1978. Made friends with many including Craig Lim, Pat McCool, John Carolan, Ronnie Lopez, Mick Delahunty, Gerry Streets, Michael Lai, Elsie Lim, Linda Chow, Sherman Chew, Fred Jacobs, Vincent John, among many others. Many good memories. Sad that Maggie Thatcher placed costs before value with psychiatric hospitals.

    By Thirupathy .V (19/04/2020)
  • Just read all of the comments about the Social Club, As a teenager, a friend and I always went to the club to dance on a Friday night. I spent my years roaming the wonderful grounds Of Shenley. Lyn and Len Perkins were the Stewards before moving to Stopsley near Luton to run The Wagon and Horses pub. Moly Barnet, Betty and Ray Halliday, had the pleasure of knowing Stanley Lord, he employed my Dad as a gardener. Freddy Gosling, now there’s a name attached to the hospital, and of course the Devenshires, the Griffins, the Frosts, the Kings. Mr Carson… A name I recall from the Laundry, Jimmy Carhill…why that name springs to mind, and the Charles Terry band. Who knew while dancing to the tunes, many years down the line I would marry one of the band members. 34 years later two children and two wonderful grandchildren. Stephen Ellis now there’s a name that’s sounds familiar.

    By Sharon Cooper (06/02/2020)
  • My father was the catering manager at Shenley Hospital from around 1964 to 1981; for me age 3 to 20. We lived in North Avenue – just in the grounds of the hospital. Went to school at Shenley and then Nicholas Hawksmoor in Borehamwood. My own grandmother had a spell in the hospital when she developed Alzheimer’s in her late 70s. When a University student, I used to work the holidays in the hospital stores. Happy and crazy memories.

    By Mark Bennison (05/04/2019)
  • I did my pupil nurse training at Shenley from 1986 to 1988, some of the best days of my life. I think the Senior Nurse was called Sam and I remember him saying ‘Most of you who train as SEN’s will train as RMN’s , how right he was! I would like to get in touch with anyone who remember me (although unlikely) FB me by looking for Gerard Ged LC

    By Ged Campbell (26/12/2018)
  • I was a Student Nurse at Shenley Hospital from 80 – 83, lived in the Mansion with Susan Smyth and Kate, who married a fellow student called Lim (from Malaysia). Anne Marie Foley was also a Student Nurse….seems like a lifetime ago….great experiences, fabulous memories. Great environment to rehabilitate, train and live; we were often in Borehamwood (saw The Shining there). Staffed on FA6, Female Long Stay Rehabilitation Ward…….where are we all now? Was so sorry to hear it had closed, been demolished; sad for those who need psychiatric care.
    Carol H-M

    By Carol Hazelwood-Morris (16/11/2018)
  • I lived in Shenley from a baby in 1975 till I was 17 when my family moved out . My mum ran brownies and I helped as I got older , my brother sister and I went to local school and my mum also worked at physio dept in hospital. Best place ever to live

    By Joanne Alexander (28/10/2018)
  • My dad worked in the kitchen through late eighties early nineties until the hospital closed,, I know he loved it and still says to this day if it was still going he’d still be ther for sure. For The best part of ten years me and my sister would be looking forward to any school holiday just knowing we were most probably going to see my dad and the wonderful hospital grounds which we could explore to our hearts content, my dad ( tommy) lived in a few places round the hospital, I’m not sure but think he started off in the lawns, then jubilee staff block, I think it was called gateway a little further up from jubilee and ended up living in the cottage on the corner facing the black lion.. absolute wonderful times,, remembering many times playing pool and snooker in the club while mum (Joan) and dad had a drink, remembering Molly, Derrick and the rest of staff, Devonshire family too and many many others who I could name but the list would just go on. Writing this is bringing back my wonderful memories of the hospital… and the village it’s actually bringing a tear to my eye. Been back a few times and sad to see just a few places still there from the original hospital, I will always get back when I can And say hello and thank you for so many beautiful and fond memories. On behalf of my dad, mum, sister ( Sarah) and myself (tom jnr— tucker) thanks again Shenley x

    By Thomas campbell (22/09/2018)
  • Hi.i remember a Filipino nurse her name is Lima hernandez.she had 2 sisters Lita and yola.yola married ray rosalez a domestic supervised.they were nice friends.I remember having a picnic on the cricket field in the hot summer of 1976.with them .great discos In the club back then. Dancing to “heaven must be missing an angel” tavaras. “You should be dancing”’t it fun. Other people I knew Steve Ellis.john draper.sue price.Charles bactawa.and
    Milly banta.would love to hear from you. Take care.John cantwell

    By John cantwell (21/09/2018)
  • I was bought up in Shenley village, and later trained as a nurse in the school of nursing in 1975/6 – 1982. I have many fond memories of both staff and patients , I even learnt to drive around the winding little roads! The social club was the centre of the universe as a student nurse 🙂 Many a dance and drinking session held with friends! Have been back to the hospital site since and it’s sad that it’s no longer there but it’s spirit lives on.

    By Teresa Stevens (11/01/2018)
  • My grandmother worked at Shenley, as a Sister. She retired in 1980 and I remember her being involved in rehabilitation such as painting and bookbinding. I do not know what she started work at Shenley, but she did her nursing training around war time. She didn’t want to talk much about her experiences, for obvious reasons, but I am interested to know more. She died in June, so I feel ready to find out. Her name was Hilda Young, may have liked to be called Mary?

    By Nicola (15/11/2017)
  • I trained at Shenley Hospital . One of the happiest times of my life. My training in Villa 10 will live with me to the end.
    I will be happy to write an article about my life at Shenley.

    By Dzingirai Vutabwarova (13/10/2017)
  • Hello Dzingirai, yes please do contribute to the site. Anyone can write and upload an article for publication and we would love to hear your story.

    By Emma Pearce (10/11/2017)
  • I was Born and grew up in a house in North Avenue belonging to Shenley Hospital in the 70s and 80s. Were both my Parent worked as Nurses. I have fantastic memories growing up there. As I child I often visited the Swimming Pool with my friends and enjoyed many an evening in the Social club. I always Cycled around the Grounds of the Hospital. It was a complex of little Roads as it was obviously built in the early 30s. As a little boy my little legs remember every steep hill and not so steep hill. It was very Hilly. The Grounds and Lawns were immaculate. The Bushes and flowers were pruned to Perfection. The Avenue I lived in and the Service Road to the Hospital had Pink, White and Blue Blossom Trees lining there length. It was Beautiful. My Dad Hired one Patient as a Gardener and was a very nice Man. My Mother remarried in 1979 to Jack Hall. Who was the Hall Porter in the main Centre who held that position for 40 years and Retired in the 80s. He was presented with a Omega Presentation Watch by the Hospital.

    By Roy Anderson (02/09/2017)
  • I worked in shenley as a domestic in late seventys.i knew a filipino nurse named lina she fell out with me. I also knew millie a filipino domestic who worked on villa 2a .my mother worked on the same ward chris cantwell.does anyone remember me john cantwell.

    By john cantwell (09/08/2017)
  • Worked at social club with Derick in 1991 to 1993 enjoyed love working with molly and Anne and Diana also mark and Phil devenshire and their mum and dad lots of friends Helen Allen and daughter Orla and many more would love to hear from you all.

    By Andy sharp (09/05/2017)
  • Hello one and all I worked at Shenle as a secretary . It was my first job after leaving college. Starting at the Centre and then moved onto be secretary in the Psychology Department

    I lived in The Mansion which was the teaching Center.

    Do not get me started about the Social Club. Best years and times.

    If I knew then, what I know now😎👍

    By Mary Wallace (30/03/2017)
  • Hi there , I am trying to trace information about my dad, Sidney Fredrick Fogg, who was an inmate at Shenley probably between 1964-1971??? He committed suicide that year. I see that the patient records are inaccessible for 100 years? Is this the same for relatives? I would like to know why he was there. Any of the people on here who have worked there remember the name? Thank you.

    By Jayne Thomas (05/07/2016)
  • I was a student nurse at Shenley 1976-1979. Absolutely loved it! Time of my life! I was sad to hear of its closure. Psychiatric nursing died with the closure of the big hospitals.

    By Mike O'Donoghue (24/01/2016)
  • I met a filipino nurse in Shenley social club in May 1976, [Name redacted] and another Filipino lady worked as a domestic on villa 2a [name redacted]. She lived in the haven, my mother [name redacted] sister cantwell worked on 11a. I have fond memorys of Shenley social club with dirty tricks disco Peter Codey and Stephen Ellis making a prat out of himself pissed on the dance floor. Oh and not forgeting winter of discontent, me and Mick Macormick left our placards outside a london pub during the march and downed a few scotches.öū

    By john cantwell (29/11/2015)
  • Hi. Having been raised in the village and with both parents working in the hospital, I had an idyllic life and have the fondest memories. The hospital was our playground and our first workplace. I would love to go back.

    By John Butcher (12/05/2015)
  • I moved into the mansion after it was converted into 6 houses at the end of 1990’s. I am trying to research the mansion’s history. Can anyone remember if there was a tennis court or something else in front of the house. Only part of the hedge remains now. Can anyone remember the inside of the house. I would really appreciate any information.

    By Maureen ashman (25/01/2015)
  • I trained at Shenley in 1982-1984 and have many memories. The Social Club and swimming pool, learning how to score a cricket game (which I still have a love of), trips to Walsingham shrine, visits on the Underground to the theatre and to St George’s, Tooting. But most of all the high standard of care and compassion staff gave to their patients. Taking them on holiday to Cliftonville, Hotel Leslie, and taking them to France for the day, obtaining one day passports in Margate. Friendships with people from all around the world and experiencing their culture and different foods – some dishes remain a staple in our home. If you remember me a big Hello and thank you for sharing our time together, you know who you are!

    By Kathy James McFadyen Biram (10/09/2014)
  • I did my RMN training from 1982-1985. Fond memories of great nights in the social club and taking the Tilly to Borehamwood to run the gauntlet of striking miners outside Tesco! Long since lost contact with Karen Jackson, Ian Bacon and all others in my set….happy days though…

    By Mary (02/11/2013)
  • My father, Bob Papps, worked there for a number of years as a psychiatric nurse (I think he trained there) and we spent many happy days during the school holidays at the pool, the social club (which had a brilliant children’s party every Christmas) and in one of the villas, which was a summer club for children of staff working at the hospital. My sisters and I would go to the farm early in the morning and spend time with the patients, and have breakfast there before going to the summer club. My father died last November (2012) and I miss him so much. It would be lovely to hear from people who knew him.

    By Karin Papps (06/09/2013)
  • Does anybody remember a lady named Violet who died there in 1983? I don’t know how long she was there before she died.

    By Jane (18/05/2013)
  • I went to Shenley School from 1963-66. During that time my dad, Pat Morris, ran the Sports & Social club for the staff. I believe it was the Duchess of Kent that opened it. I remember playing table tennis at the club and, as a treat, playing records on the jukebox.

    By Jackie (01/04/2013)
  • I started here as a Nursing Assistant in 1981. About 30 of us came down from Middlesborough. We caused a fair bit of havoc to start with. I began my training as an R.M.N in 1981 and qualified in 1984. Looking back, and compared to today, the standard of care given to the patients was generally excellent. Staff cared more about the patients than targets, and the standard of training under the ‘apprenticeship’ was, in my opinion, a hell of a lot better than today’s ‘degree level’. I remember Chris R and Mick McC. Also Shelley, Chris P, Gertie and many, many others – both staff and patients.

    By Sharren Walsham (13/03/2013)
  • I lived here for one year in the nineties as part of the University of Hertfordshire’s overflow. We were housed in a large block on three floors. I remember the hospital was still operational in some parts (if I recall correctly). My memories of the place are really positive. It was a cheap place to live for one year and the views from the accommodation block were great! Not sure if the local pubs felt the same way about the students though.

    By Lawrence Ward (22/01/2013)
  • Hi all. Just looking to see if any of you old Shenley workers remember the names John Byrne (Irish) or Angela Elliott – would love to hear from you.

    By Phil (08/11/2012)
  • I trained in Shenley, qualifying in 1985. Left there end 1986, Many happy memories, Social Club, colleagues such as Mick McCormack (RIP)…sad that it’s gone now.

    By Chris Rowan (13/09/2012)
  • Parts of the hospital (old inmate cells I think) were used as student accommodation during the early nineties by Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire). The buildings were in a sorry state of repair at that time and there was at least one patient still resident in one of the blocks that was to be used when I went there to do a safety inspection for the student union.

    By Alfie Cooke (09/09/2012)
  • I was a pupil nurse at shenley hospital 1982 to 1985 I have fond memories of shenley.I lived in the nurses quarters and my classes were kept in the mansion.I cant beleive its been demolished.

    By sophia whittaker (03/06/2012)
  • anyone remember a patient called yetta stayed there for over 30 years discharged 1978?

    By danny (29/11/2011)
  • I am currently coordinating a project at Mind in Harrow called ‘Hidden Minds.’ Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are training 30 volunteers in heritage skills so that they can uncover the history of Shenley; by speaking to people that were patients of or worked at Shenley and look at local and national archives. If you have your own experience of Shenley, please get in touch on 0208 515 7871 and check out our website: Thanks

    By Josie Hinton (02/11/2011)

    By SUSAN cURTIS (16/03/2011)
  • I remember Shenley social club. Many an hour spent there. I worked as a pupil nurse from 1987 to 1989.

    By michael acaster (07/03/2011)
  • I worked there from 1985 – 1991. The photograph you have there is actually the chapel – the social club would have been behind the photographer. Many a night at the social club.

    By neil johnston (04/03/2011)
  • I worked in that hospital from approx. 1970 to 1974

    By Frances Murphy (17/12/2010)