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FRIERN HOSPITAL

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  2ND MIDDLESEX COUNTY ASYLUM, COLNEY HATCH MENTAL HOSPITAL, COLNEY HATCH PAUPER LUNATIC ASYLUM
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The former Colney Hatch Asylum, which was also known as the Middlesex County Asylum at Colney Hatch and the Friern Hospital, was built in 1849 and was designed by the architect Samuel Daukes. The hospital was built due to the increasing demand to house people with psychiatric problems following the successful psychiatric hospital that opened in Hanwell (the Middlesex Asylum at Hanwell).

The building was designed in the Italianate style and Prince Albert laid the foundation stone of the building in May 1849. When the building was finished it became the largest asylum, as psychiatric hospitals were then known, in Europe and the building contained six miles of corridors including the longest corridor in Britain. The hospital opened in 1851 and was superintended by William Hood. The site was self sufficient and included a farm, brewery, laundry, bakery, chapel and cemetery.

The hospital was built originally to house around 1000 patients however the demand to house more grew quickly. The site was therefore extended between 1857 and 1859 to house around 2000 patients. However by the 1860s demand for places at the hospital were still growing which led to resources being stretched and patients were often places under restraint during busy periods as there were not enough staff to properly care for the large number of people.

The hospital changed ownership from Middlesex to London County Council in 1889. The patient population had also risen again at this point to 2500 and to counter this a number of wooden structures were built to house extra patients. One of these structures caught fire in 1903 which killed 51 patients. The wards were then replaced with stone ones.

The hospital closed in 1993 and was derelict for a time. The building was then restored and is now know as Princess Park Manor. The services and extensions to the wards have since been demolished.

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