A film maker has created a documentary on Leavesden Asylum that looks into the lives of patients who lived there.

Andrew Wildey, from Abbots Langley, released his documentary Out of Sight, Out of Mind - The Leavesden Asylum Story on Saturday (October 31) which marked 25 years since the hospital closed in 1995.

Mr Wildey has spent a year making the documentary which focuses on the stigma of mental health when the hospital was open and present day.

He first heard about the hospital's history through word of mouth and became interest in the stories behind the patients who used to live there.

Watford Observer:

Andrew Wildey has made a documentary about Leavesden Hospital. Credit: Andrew Wildey

Watford Observer:

Drone time warp of the hospital. Credit: Andrew Wildey

He initially was going to film a vlog about the hospital but after meeting Martin Brooks, the founder of Leavesden Hospital History Association, he realised that the rich history of the hospital would be better told as a documentary.

There are two main themes in the film. The first explores the treatment of mental illness during the Victorian era compared to modern mental health care.

He said: "For example, in order to be committed to the Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles - as it was called when it opened, you would only have to be guilty of something as trivial as becoming too engrossed in fictional literature."

The second theme ventures into the misconceptions and stigma that was associated with mental illness as well as uncovering the true history of life in a mental asylum.

He added: "I wanted the viewer to feel a real sense of tangibility and that the past is all around them, so I was very keen to film real places and artefacts.

Watford Observer:

Screenshot from the film. Credit: Andrew Wildey

"This also relates to the work of the Leavesden Hospital History Association, who dug down into six inches of mud to uncover more than 500 headstones and cremation markers."

The documentary also tells the story of Mary Ann Ansell who poisoned her sister Caroline Ansell, a patient at the hospital, for the purpose of collecting money through a life insurance policy.

He added: "There is also a re-enactment of the streets of the Victorian Whitechapel, home to the Jack the Ripper suspect Aaron Kosminski, who died at the asylum in 1919."