Postcards from Hill End Asylum

By Amy Cooke

Postcard by Alpha of St Albans showing Hill End Hospital with the railway tracks leading towards the hospital in the left foreground. Postmarked October 27th, 1904.
Copyright St Albans Museums
Postcard by Alpha of St Albans showing Hill End Hospital. Postmarked October 14th, 1904.
Copyright St Albans Museums

These postcards, produced by Alpha of St Albans, are from the collections of St Albans Museums’. They show Hill End hospital in around 1906, including a view of the railway line which used to serve the hospital. It might seem strange to us now to think of sending a postcard showing a mental hospital, or asylum as it is refered to on these postcards, and we can only speculate about who would send them and why.

The messages on the back of these postcards don’t give us a lot of imformation about the sender: one says “Hope you will like this for your collection“, the other “Write soon, Love from L“. Both postcards were addressed to a farm in Devon, just on the edge of Dartmoor, but we know almost nothing about the sender, known only as ‘L’. Was this person was a patient at the hospital writing to family and friends in Devon, a member of the hospital staff, or simply a visitor recording a trip to this rather unlikely-seeming tourist destination!

It would be really interesting to hear from anyone who has any thoughts about these postcards

This page was added on 16/10/2009.

Comments about this page

  • I collect postcards of British asylums/mental hospitals. The vast majority of the messages on the rear are from staff, trainees or people who were visiting the area and thought it would make an interesting curio, or was simply an impressive building to show to the folks back home.

    By Ed (15/10/2012)

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