Napsbury Park shown within Hertfordshire
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST ALBANS|
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|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||St Albans|
It is near St Albans and part of the St Albans District. It falls within the London Colney Parish Council area. It is close to St Albans, where some villagers travel to work and shop. The 659 bus connects the estate with St Albans and London Colney.
The presence of prehistoric or Roman activity is indicated by cropmarks to the east of the railway in Napsbury hospital grounds; and again on the north side of the hospital. Documentary evidence suggests the existence of a lost medieval settlement. Early Napsbury is mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was called Absa and owned by Cedric, a vassall of Archbishop Stigand: it had a house called Tylehouse which was associated with tile and brick workings. It is known that there were people settled there with tofts, smallholdings or farms, since tithes were payable in the 14th century. The house on the Napsbury estate was later owned by Nicholas Bacon, father of Francis Bacon.
The Middlesex County Asylum was founded in 1898 with the hospital designed in a country estate style by architect Rowland Plumbe in 1900, who also rebuilt, to his designs, the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel in 1897.
The hospital was designed for 1,205 residents, and the grounds were designed by William Goldring. Napsbury opened, following the construction of the numerous buildings and extensive grounds on June 3, in 1905. According to Middlesex County Record, the initial cost, including land and equipment, was £545,000, or £473 per bed. In 1908 Plumbe designed an extension to accommodate a further 600 patients.
During the First World War, Napsbury was used for and known as the County of Middlesex War Hospital, which tended for soldiers wounded at the Front. Following the war, the hospital was returned to its original purpose and, in the late 1920s a nurses home was also added to the site, further adding to the variety of different buildings and facilities at the site.
Although Napsbury suffered some bomb damaged in the Blitz, it was in continuous use as a hospital until its official closure in 1998. However, until at least 2002 one building was still in use for psychiatric patients. Due to its largely untouched parkland, Napsbury was listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden in 2001.
Crest Nicholson, which specialises in creating new communities from redundant land and estates, seized the opportunity to acquire the site and to create a unique community, centred on the preservation and conservation of both the architectural and botanical heritage of the site.
Napsbury railway station was built by the Midland Railway in 1905 on its line to St Pancras station. It was never more than an island platform between the slow lines, with a siding serving the Middlesex County Asylum at Napsbury, and closed in 1959.
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