Volunteers were shocked to find more than 300 gravestones belonging to patients and staff at Leavesden Hospital.

Leavesden Hospital History Association volunteers were surveying the former hospital’s cemetery in East Lane, Leavesden.

The land in East Lane used to be part of Leavesden Hospital from 1906 to 1995. The Leavesden Hospital Chapel of the Good Shepherd cemetery was consecrated in 1906 as the original cemetery on the south side of East Lane was full and the hospital needed additional space.

From 1906 to the early 1960s body burials were replaced with ashes underneath marker stones.

Records had been lost and radar surveys were inconclusive, so volunteers were expecting to find 50 marker stones. They were shocked when they unearthed row after row - eventually revealing 310 of the memorials.

Watford Observer:

Credit: Martin Brooks.

The rest of the site was inspected by the group, who now have recorded names and locations of 134 former patients and staff of the hospital.

Leavesden Hospital History Association founder Martin Brooks said: “This is something I have wanted to see done for more than 12 years now.

“Supported by and working closely with Three Rivers District Council’s leisure department, we have been planning this day for more than six months and it has all been worth the wait and effort.

“We are finally going to have a list of names and locations of those people who are buried in the cemetery so family members can come and pay their respects.”

“The cemetery can be returned to the picturesque place of rest that many who worked at the hospital remember it being.”