The Metropolitan Asylum, Leavesden

Formerly part of Watford Parish

The Metropolitan Asylum, Leavesden, Watford  

The Asylum, Leavesden

Card posted Kings Langley on 16th March 1915 to Mrs Skinner, The Laurels, Dalmer Road, Enfield, MDX.

Have just sent a parcel off with a few dirty things in. Received the cash alright. Thanks very much. We go from here early tomorrow morning for So'ton. Will write again as soon as poss. love Arthur.

The first line of the 2nd London Division left Hertfordshire for France via Southampton in the second half of March 1915. A company of the Post Office Rifles were billeted in Leavesden Asylum and a rifleman wrote home: There was a final inspection: all on leave recalled: felt sorry for them. Rumours wild about imminent embarkation. Will be sorry to say good-bye to the inmates of Leavesden Lunatic Asylum, where our company has been billeted for the past few months. We got to know and much to like the inmates and their peculiar ways. Some very factual and sensible to the degree of telling us we were the barmy ones going to war never to return. [The London Gunners come to Town contains several other references to the troops at Leavesden.]

See The Post Office Rifles at Leavesden, 1914-15

See also: The Long Stay Hospitals of the St Albans area.

and web site The Imbeciles Asylum, Leavesden on The Workhouses site


The History of Leavesden Hospital

by Monica Diplock, 1990


Extract:`The first chaplain, Rev. J. Finch-Smith, left in 1872 and was succeeded by Rev J. R. B. Watson. The duties of workmistress and organist were separated in 1876 and Rev. Watson's daughter, Miss Watson, then became the organist, a position she held until her father's retirement due to ill-health, in 1902. He died in 1903: a memorial tablet was placed in the chapel and his nephew presented the Asylum with a handsome clock.'


The Leavesden Hospital Story, 1870-1995

by Kevin Brown

St Albans, 1995, (ISBN: 0952667509)

December 2014   Page set up