Shenley Hospital

An elegant Art Deco interior

S Williams

Elegant art deco interior
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Shenley Hospital near Radlett (Middlesex County Mental Asylum) was opened by the King and Queen in 1934 and was the last hospital of its type to be built in the country.  This art deco interior probably dates from the opening. It closed in 1998.  Surviving records are held at The London Metropolitan Archives.


This page was added on 13/05/2009.

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  • Only memory of my nan. Mothers mum, Mrs Green, admitted on Husband Leonard Greens request. Think I must have been 5, and the picture above took me back there. Sadly can’t remember my nans Christian name. She passed away in there.

    By Jane Biggs (03/12/2023)
  • So nice to read everyone’s story, my auntie Daisy Pointer worked as a mental health nurse 1944.

    By carol Scott (05/11/2023)
  • What a place of loneliness and sadness for the unlucky people who ended up there. Shame on those who helped these places run and ruin lives for so long. Thank god they are all gone now and abuse and neglect is harder to perpetrate.

    By Katie (05/11/2023)
  • I did my three month psychiatric module from St Mary’s in Paddington at Shenley in 1978. I remember on the wards tea was made for patients by putting the tea, milk and sugar altogether in a large metal teapot. I named it Shenley tea and still call it that today!

    By Anne Carter (04/11/2023)
  • I am wondering if anyone remembers my dad who was a patient here in the 1960’s?
    And how would I be able to access any records pertaining to him ?
    It’s all been a long time since he died – but I have many questions about him – his illness – and his death .

    By Gaelle Hammond (11/09/2023)
  • My gran was treated at Shenley for schizophrenia. I’m not sure exactly when, but she was roughly in her 40’s.

    By Jacqui D (27/08/2023)
  • My mother was a nurse at Shenley in the 1940,s. I am trying to fine the correct spelling of her surname! So I can get an irish passport. We think it was Kathleen Mary Donnellan. She then married and changed her name to Kenny. Can anybody help please?

    By Eileen Naughton (22/02/2023)
  • I sang in Chandos Secondary School choir.and we did a concert in a large hall for the patients. Only a handful turned up though and we had learned a song in french too. It took ages. Afterwards we were shown around a bit and I remember seeing a room with only a single mattress on the floor for someone . Nothing else. It was pretty frightening. This was in the 1960s aged13.

    By Malcolm Godfrey (25/01/2023)
  • When I was a student nurse I did my three month psych rotation at Shenley (1980). I remember the grounds being beautiful, but the hospital was hideous. I was in an acute unit (A1 or A2, maybe?). The thing I most remember was how awful the patients’ food was. I recall on Friday evenings, the staff on duty in my unit would pool our funds and someone would drive to the village to get fish and chips for the patients. Staff food in the canteen was amazing though – I think most of the food budget was used for staff, not patients.
    My other most enduring memory was of being chased up the corridor by a patient who had managed to get her hands on a pick axe (which had been left in an unlocked cupboard – carelessness at its best), which she was wildly swinging at me. I could run faster, but then I reached the locked door at the end of the corridor! Fortunately other staff heard the commotion and rescued me. Quite traumatic for a second year student nurse! Her name was Elizabeth, and when she wasn’t being psychotic, she was a charming, gentle lady who loved to sit and have a cup of tea and a chin wag….

    By Georgie Montague (05/01/2023)
  • I was an apprentice engineer at the hospital from 78 to 82. I remember john spence as the foreman. And colin winters and peter winters who were engineers. And dave can not remember his surname. Who worked in the boiler house.

    By Mark bailey (26/12/2022)
  • Hi John
    Just read your piece. Your name rings a bell. I was in the Admin offices from 1959 – 1965. I have sent in a couple of memories dated 2020. I vaguely remember a male nurse with your surname.
    Brian Butler

    By brian butler (12/11/2022)
  • I remember drinking with a close friend his name was Eric Robinson he used to work in the boiler house shovelling coal into the boilers like the engine room of the RMS Titanic.we used to go to the Railway tavern in Radlett.he was friendly with the actor sir Ian Makkelan ..we got a taxi and went on a pub crawl to the Guinea in Ridge.Then ending up in Shenley hospital social club.every one got so excited when they recognised sir Ian Meckelan drinking in the club .this was back in 1979 so he was younger then wer’nt any Hobbits with Bilbow Baggins in the club then.

    By John cantwell (24/10/2022)
  • My grandfather went to the hospital after the war until he died in 1966, is there any way I can find out about why he was there.

    By Yvonne Puddephatt (18/08/2022)
  • Hi Yvonne, the records are held by The London Metropolitan Archives

    By S Williams (19/08/2022)
  • We lived in Hendon in the 50s, 60s and 70s and my dad worked for Schweppes. He used to deliver soft drinks to Shenley and always talked about meeting patients there. We fostered a young boy, under 10, my parents wanted to adopt him, but eventually his father withdrew consent. We later heard he was admitted to Shenley long term….very sad.

    By Carol Day (now Norwell) (15/03/2022)
  • Message for Carol Elkins. I have photographs of the nurses uniforms at Shenley in the 50s. My mother Anne Casey trained there and became a ward sister.

    By Maureen Casey (03/03/2022)
  • My Grandparents Nobby (Luther) Clark and Irene Clark were nurses at Shenley in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. My Grandfather was awarded the OBE for his service to the hospital and Community for which I’m so proud. They lived at North Avenue with their only daughter Jane, my Mum, who tragically died at 25 yrs old when I was 2. They lived at Hawksmoor and when Mum died I went to live with them. I remember patients fondly greeting Grandma out and about in the village and her in her uniform doing a night shift. I went to the playgroup in 1973 at the village hall and to Shenley School. I was christened at St.Martins. They are buried at Shenleybury Church yard. Grandad, Nobby, was an air raid warden in Shenley in World War II, they had an Anderson shelter where they’d pit my Mum in her little cot. Shenley is a very dear and special place to me and is where I consider my family came from. Sadly the tragic death of my mother was so terrible and my dear grandparents loved and cares for me with such love. Would be very special to hear from anyone who knew them. Best wishes.

    By Kate greaves (10/01/2022)
  • Hi ddoes anyone have a picture of the nurses uniform from Shenley Mental Hospital , from 1950/60s . please help. Thanks.

    By Carol Elkins (11/11/2021)
  • How do i find out where somone is buried after they died in shenley hospital in 1967.

    By Gary Patrick Roy Gough (22/04/2021)
  • My grandma used to work as a nurse at this hospital, in the eye ward. I have just found letters addressed to her. So interesting, she never spoke about working here, she said she was a nurse during the war but thats all I knew.

    By Lorraine Needham (18/01/2021)
  • Since my last message I have remembered the name of the lady who ran the Tuck Shop: Mrs Rowson. Other staff names are coming back: Brian Hudson, Rosemary Davidson, Harold Place, Chris Orchard and Dr Fleischhacker, the Pathologist.

    Brian Butler

    By Brian Butler (21/12/2020)
  • I also remember Farm Villa (Rhianon Hopkins: 26.01.13). It was at the bottom of the hill on the left as you approached Shenley from St Albans. Waste food from the hospital was taken to the adjacent farm for animal feed. Does anyone remember the Tuck Shop near the Social Club? It was run by a lady from the village whose face I can clearly see but whose name I have forgotten. I see a few references to the Chapel. I remember the Chaplain, Rev W Gregory Lawrence, who failed his driving test when he went round a roundabout the wrong way!

    By Brian Butler (23/11/2020)
  • Hi!
    I worked at Shenley Hospital in the administration offices from 1959 to 1965. I boarded in the Maids’ Home. Many happy memories. Remember a lot of faces and a few names.
    Brian Butler

    By Brian Butler (21/11/2020)
  • Allo, My name is Denise Lacroux, I was a student nurse from 1950 to 1952 brought there from France on a desperate cry from the British Government to bring “student nurses” as the staff was so short of help. Many of us came from Ireland and central Europe : room and board plus studies for 3yrs to get a nurses diploma. Round trip ticket back home, twice a year. I was assigned to one of the “difficult wards” where the patients were violent and truly…But so well treated!! I was impressed how we took such warm care of our lot! Very fond memories of a unique place surviving at war’s end.

    By Denise Woods (Lacroux at the time) (22/06/2020)
  • *Help Required*
    I am seeking some information regarding a patient at Shenley Hospital up until the late 1980’s. His name is Michael Mclean and he will now be in his late 60’s/early 70’s. His parents moved around from London to Trinidad and the USA.
    Any details/memories of Michael would be greatly welcomed.

    By Kylie (12/05/2020)
  • Help Required: My auntie Daisy Katherine Wood, was admitted to Shenley Hos. in 1944 and stayed there until she died in 1980. Apparently she died at Bennets End Hos. Stories say she was buried at Shenley Hos.

    Question: Is there any way to find out if this is true, and would there be a grave to visit?

    By Peter Wood (25/04/2020)
  • The records for Shenley Hospital are held by The London Metropolitan Archives

    By S Williams (22/07/2020)
  • I think it is shocking that people are saying they have good memories from this place. #corrupt institutions (Comment redacted to comply with site Ts & Cs)

    By MeganE (11/01/2020)
  • To Mr Victor FeldmanT
    These are the answers I have just received from the facebook of the staf of Shenley H.

    “Try ringing around the synagogues and Jewish funeral directors.
    Hide or report this

    · Reply · 18h
    Padraig Ó Maolagáin
    Padraig Ó Maolagáin You could try here. They may be able to point you in the right direction
    Hide or report this
    About US Burial Society | United Synagogue
    About US Burial Society | United Synagogue

    By Maria Eugenia Bertos (15/10/2019)
  • To victor Shelman
    I think I remember Mrs Fedlman and remember when she came to de Hospital.
    I remember her very nice.
    Dark hair, a bit confuse..I was a assistant nurse could be in A1 or B1?
    I was in U.K.onky two years it was 1971 o 1972
    I will sent copy of your message to the group o”shenley hospiral I wirked there”just in case anybody knows some about you are interested

    By Maria Eugenia Bertos (14/10/2019)
  • Hi

    My parents Josie and Joe Grice worked for many years as Charge nurse and sister at Shenley. I worked in the office with Jim Gibbons on H Division 1974 to 76. It was a lovely time.

    Does anyone remember those years?

    By Fran Grice (30/06/2019)
  • Does anyone remember the 1950s and an Australian nurse called Millie Mills? She was my Godmother and I have lost touch with her.

    By Sharon Coleman (17/01/2019)
  • My mother Jean Feldman was a patient there up to the 70.s or 80.s..i.d love to know where she is buried..are there records..if so where do i find them..she was jewish.

    By Victor feldman (07/01/2019)
  • Hi.I worked in shenley hospital as a domestic. I knew a Filipino nurse named lina hernandez and her two sisters.I remember another Filipino lady called Milly who lived in the Haven acomadation block in the hospital with her niece Gloria.both worked as domestics.every Friday there was disco in the social club in shenley .we’d dance to hits “dancing Queen” Abba.and “you should be dancing” Bee gees
    I worked on Villa 11A _with my mother who was a ward sister. Chris cantwell back in 1978 . I remember the winter of discontent and demonstrating in London in January 1979. John cantwell.Attleborough.Norfolk.

    By John cantwell (24/09/2018)
  • My Dad, Declan Jacob Used Be Nurse in Shenley Hospital around 1976.

    By Laura Jacob (23/09/2018)
  • Iam looking for a student from Ghana who started his training at Shenley in 197.1His name is Emmanuel OTOO-ANAKWADoes anyone know his wherebouts I was also a student but left the UK in1977 for AMERICA

    By Ernest Tagoe (13/07/2018)
  • I trained there from 1977 – 1980, very fond memories of the place.

    By Bev Walker (28/03/2018)
  • I trained as a Mental Health Registered nurse in 1978 . Are there any other nurses from that year? I remember a scottish nurse called MArgaret.

    By Aaneta Mavani (02/08/2017)
  • Does anyone remember a staff nurse called Dave Shaw from 1950s .He came from Belfast

    By Mary cochran nee mcallister (23/12/2016)
  • Hello, does anyone remember a pt Phyllis Holsgrove. She was there 1959 ? Thank you

    By Mary (17/03/2016)
  • Hi there! Anyone remember a patient at shenley called Yetta? She was there over 30 years! Please let me know thanks 

    By Adam (29/08/2014)
  • My father worked on Shenleybury farm through the 60’s into the early 70’s. Certain patients from the hospital lived in a big white house adjoining the farm, known as The Villas, and worked on the farm, I believe it was held to be therapeutic for them. I have tried to find pictures of the farm but no luck, if anybody has any or even remembers it it would be good to hear about it.

    By Rhiannon Hopkins (26/01/2013)
  • My great-aunt Kathleen Walker was sent there, due to her step mother’s dislike of her….Kathleen’s grandfather later took her out in or around the 1950’s. If anyone has any knowledge of Kathleen (known as Kath) I would love to know more about her. The family story goes, Kathleen was only there for a short 6 weeks…I truly hope her stay there was not too painful. Thanks in advance.

    By Mem Dreha (20/01/2013)
  • Hello, my name is Dhruti Shah and I’m a journalist working for the BBC. I am hoping to speak to patients/ people with stories to tell about their experiences at Shenley Hospital, especially anyone who spent some time at the mother and baby unit. Should anyone be interested in speaking to me, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

    By Dhruti Shah (01/11/2012)
  • Now that my dad has passed away, I wonder if anyone knows anything about his stay in Shenley. It would have been mid-late sixties. His name was Paul Doyle and he lived in Edgware. He was admitted to Shenley with severe depression.

    By Lesley Doyle (01/09/2012)
  • My Grandmother Helen Johnson (Nee Emberson) was a patient from about 1960 till her death 1977. We Mum Dad and my Sister used to visit her and the picture brings back the memories. Not good for a 7 year old in 1967. The smell of urine, locked doors, was not nice and poor old Granny did not know where she was. The grounds where nice where my Sister and I could play. Also the journey by train and bus from Braintree although we would visit London as well. Happy Days Paul

    By Paul Johnson (15/08/2012)
  • Anyone remember a lady called Yetta who was a patient from approx 1946-1978?

    By danny (23/11/2011)
  • Hi Maria, I worked as a nurse in Shenley Hospital in 1969 just for one year. After I went to Luanda (Angola) where i get married, but I still remembering and having some nice souvenirs of that time. I’ve read that as from 1988 the Hospital was demolished and gave place to 900 residences.Everything changes. All the best to you. Ophelia

    By Ophelia Lopes (07/09/2011)
  • My mum worked as a medical secretary here from the early seventies and I have found memories a child, of the summer creche for employees. Sadly I think some of the patients lived their most of their lives but they always had lots of handicrafts and activities for them, some of the wares being sold at the hospital fete.

    By Marie (11/08/2011)