Napsbury Military Hospital

Photographs by Ricardo Studios, St Albans


The Napsbury Asylum became a military hospital in 1916 and Ricardo Studios, of London Road, St Albans, regularly visited the hospital and took (and sold) pictures of the patients, usually in the wards, at least until May 1918.  This collection has been arranged in negative number order, to help people who have other pictures date their pictures. If you click on the larger images with blue edges you will get an even  larger image and/or more information. In same cases higher resolutions are available on request.

If the large thumb has a blue border click on the picture to get a larger image kindly been provided by Peter. The other large thumbs (thin black border) are reduced resolution images of post cards advertised on ebay, and are reproduced here for record purposes only and larger images are not available. Some of these cards may still be available for sale



Can you identify anyone in these pictures or can you provide information and/or scans of other pictures taken at the Hospital?



Napsbury Military Hospital, Near St Albans, 1916

6351 - The military hospital opened in 1916 - trees suggest summer

6172                  6224


6367c 6443

Some cards have the same number but are followed by a letter. They were almost certainly taken on the same day and possibly the same ward.

Xmas 1916

6664   6664a

6365b      6380   Sept 1916 6368      6380b

6670 [Winter 1916/17]

"These are some of our patients who are better - they all had dysentry, something like typhoid. 24 came in from France altogether, we had over 30 in our wards in one week."

  Patients at Napsbury Military Hospital, 1916/7 winter
Wounded Soldiers at Napsbury Hospital, near St Albans, Hertfordshire, during the First World War (1916) by Ricado Studions, St ALbans.  



The soldier with the head bandage was Albert Barlow who was sent to Napsbury after being wounded in France on 2nd September 1916.


(Image provided by nephew Nick Barlow)


Patients at Napsbury Military Hospital, April 1917

6895 - April 1917

6894A       6894B

6984   7044   7044a

Sue wrote: Two of our relatives, two brothers served with the DLI [Durham Light Infantry]. One of them was definitely gassed during service in France and this photo was found in his wallet. All the other photos in his wallet were of family members. He survived and died in 1950 with the cause being given as attributable to the gassing. We can't really identify him or his brother from the photo although he may be on there. We haven't traced his medical record yet so don't know if he was shipped home to a hospital, although we know he was in Aldershot in April 1916 when he married. The picture looks as if it had been taken in the same location as no 7481 - see the thatched hut in the background - and by the same photo studio.









7664 (From City of Vancouver Archives)


7819         7898A


No 7898


Driver Victor  Woodwards

No 825072

Royal Field Artillery

Rohan Price (rolar @t of  Gloucester provided this post card and wrote: Grandfather is in the last bed back right (with moustache) . He was in The Royal Field Artillery. He served from 21/3/1910, and was injured in France on 10/9/1917 and was returned to England 23/9/1917 and hence his hospital stay in St Albans. The injuries were a compound fracture of the clavicle and partial loss of use of the right arm .He was Honourably Discharged on 25/12/1917 Disabled, He also suffered until his death in 1953  with breathing problems from the effects of gas .   During some time in his army career he and one of his brothers re-engaged for war in the 1/3 Gloucester Battery of the R. F. A. The date of which I am still investigating.
7909   8005   8570

Mrs J Burns (pjmburns @t writes: I was trying to track the hospitals and came across your site and discovered that I have copies of some of the postcards you have on your site and I also have the following numbers (now I know what they are):    7982, 8604, 8608, 860? (it looks like a backwards 5 but could be a poor 8). 86288631, 8632 (reproduced on right). These have all come to light in a case of photos given to me by my Dad (these have come from my Grandfather who is on some of the cards).  As I have not checked the whole case there may be others.
    I know that my Grandfather, Charles Campbell, (a Royal Engineer) was admitted to hospital in Calais on 23/9/17, came home (I assume England) on 9/10/17 and discharged 12/3/18.  He almost lost his left leg and it was only saved by the insertion of a metal plate


Patients in Napsbury Hospital



Patients at Napsbury Military Hospital, early 1918

8627A [March 1918]




David Hirst supplied this image, which had the  date of 15 May 1918, The soldier seated far left [as we look at the photograph] was his grandfather, Herbert Kilfoile McDougall.   He served as a farrier and blacksmith [his civilian occupation] in the Army Service Corps. No details of how or where he was wounded, but he recovered enough to be discharged back to a regimental depot at Ripon.  There is another photograph of him there, in a group, smiling broadly - as well he might, for that photograph is dated 10 November 1918.   He knew he wouldn't be returning to active combat.


Pictures In Imperial War Museum Album

(ref 8310-14) recorded by Jon Mein for this site

8875   April 1918  

Group of 8 men clustered around beds, 3 of them in bed; inside. Annotated in album "April 1918".

8912   May 1918?   Large group of men and nurses, mostly seated on chairs or on grass; handwritten annotation next to photo in album "May 1916" (Could be 1918 as difficult to read); outside
8914   ?   Group of 7 men (in hospital blues?), 4 seated and 3 standing, outside. The first digit of the code is difficult to read: could be 3, 6, 8 or a 9. Not dated
9042   May 1918   3 nurses standing over man in bed; annotated "May 1918"
9082   May 1918?  

Smallish group of men with 3 nurses, seated and standing. Same date and difficulty as 8912; outside

Unnumbered - Appear to be Napsbury


See also Military Hospitals in World War One


If you know of other books, websites, pictures, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

June 2010   Contribution by Jo-Ann
January 2011   Contribution by Rohan
April 2011   Contribution by J Burns
May 2013   Contribution by K Warcup
May 2014   New page for Ricardo PCs and major update
November 2014   Picture from David Hirst