Former staff, volunteers and patients are set to be brought back together in July at a reunion of one of the largest employers in the area.

From when it opened its doors in 1870 to when they closed for the last time in 1995, the Leavesden Asylum/Hospital employed thousands of staff who came from as far away as Mauritius, Ireland and Liverpool to work at what was then, a state of the art medical and mental health facility.

This allowed for several generations of families to work at the hospital while raising their families in the nearby communities, many of whom still live in the area today.

Watford Observer:

Aerial view of Leavesden Hospital c1937, with names of buildings

The Leavesden Hospital History Association is planning to bring together former staff, volunteers, patients and anyone who had connection to the hospital, for a reunion on Saturday, July 2 from 11am to 4pm at the Leavesden HIVE Heritage Centre in the middle of Leavesden Country Park. There will be refreshments, guest speakers and a Service of Thanksgiving/Remembrance for all those who are at rest in the East Lane Cemetery.

Martin T Brooks, Founder of the Leavesden Hospital History Association, who has been planning the reunion, said: "Over the last 13 years, I have spoken with many former staff and volunteers of the hospital and all of them have very happy memories of their time and experiences at the hospital and of the friendships they formed while working or studying there.

"Since the hospital closed, many of these staff members and volunteers have lost touch with their friends and co-workers and this will be a fantastic opportunity for them to meet up, take a walk down memory lane together and look at all the artifacts and memorabilia we have on display in the HIVE Heritage Centre which might spark some more memories of their work at the hospital and the people who made it such a memorable experience for them".

Watford Observer:

Visitors to the HIVE Heritage Centre 2021. Picture: Leavesden Hospital History Association

The 1901 census for the area recorded that there were 900 more people residing in the hospital's 85-acre site then living in the parish of Abbots Langley, making the Leavesden Asylum/Hospital a very large and self-sufficient community all its own.

In the early 1930s, the hospital expanded its facilities by an additional 80-plus acres and several large Victorian buildings after annexing the former site of the St Pancras Workhouse/School on the south side of what was then still referred to as Asylum Road and the size of the work force increased to accommodate this new site.

Shortly after the newly formed National Health Service took over the administrative running of the hospital in 1948, there were an estimated 3500 patients in the hospital and more than 1000 staff and volunteers either living on site or in the near-by staff housing which was provided by the hospital at the time.

Watford Observer:

The creation of one of the first Mental Health Nursing Colleges on the site of the hospital in the early 1950s brought many more people to the site in the pursuit of a career in mental health/learning disability nursing. Students, their teachers, volunteers, patients and staff formed many lasting friendships with each other during their time working at the hospital and many were saddened to have to say goodbye to their colleagues and friends when the hospital closed in 1995.

If you would like more information about the reunion, contact Martin at or via the website