LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON

Stanboroughs Nursing
and Maternity Home
 Stanborough Park, Garston, Herts WD2 6JR
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1912 - 1968

General, maternity
In 1906 the British Union Conference (B.U.C.) of the Seventh-Day Adventists purchased the 75-acre Cottrell estate at Stanborough Park for £8,368.  At the centre of the estate, surrounded by woodland and parkland, was The Stanborough, a small 2-storey mansion, which served as a College for the organisation from 1907 until a new building could be erected.

The new College opened in June 1910 and, in the following year, it was decided to convert The Stanborough into a health institution.  However, much work needed to be done to the building.  By 1912 two additional floors had been added, plus a drawing room (which later became the main entrance lounge) and a sun lounge, with other rooms above.  An operating theatre was installed.  The work had cost £3,950.

The Watford Sanitarium opened to patients on 9th May 1912, with a formal dedication taking place on 3st July.  It was to be a place of rest and rehabilitation for those who were chronically mentally or physically ill, where they could find renewed hope and, perhaps, be ultimately cured.  Patients followed a strictly vegetarian diet and were offered only natural remedies, as well as spiritual care.

The Sanitarium was administered by the Good Health Association Ltd, which also ran the Caterham Sanitarium.  An American-born ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dr Charles Henry Hayton, was appointed as Medical Superintendent and a class of ten nurses enrolled (of whom only five - three women and two men - completed their training).  (Nursing training at the Sanitarium continued until WW2.)  As well as nursing duties, the nurses cleaned the patients' rooms and worked in the kitchen.  They were also required to buy their own uniforms.

At the beginning of WW1 in 1914 the B.U.C. offered its Sanitarium and College buildings to the War Office for use as a hospital but, although the inspectors were pleased with the facilities, the offer was declined.  As the staff began to be called up for military service and the number of patients declined, the Sanitarium's finances began to suffer.

In 1921 the Sanitarium was greatly extended and opened in 1924 as the Stanboroughs Hydro - a sanitarium and a hospital (the Adventists had added the extra 's' at the end of Stanborough).  Its facilities included hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, an operating theatre and a small maternity wing.

In 1926 the building was extended again.  An electric lift was installed, as was a water softener.

In 1929 the patient's bedrooms were redecorated and partially refurnished.  New recreation and work rooms were provided to provide occupation for convalescent patients.  Treatments at the Sanitarium included hydrotherapy, phototherapy and massage treatment.  A new gymnasium was built with a roof which enabled natural sunlight bathing.

In 1931, during the Depression, because of financial difficulties, two-thirds of the Stanborough Park estate was sold off.  The College moved to Newbold Revel, near Rugby, and part of its building became an annexe to the Sanitarium.

During WW2 the Sanitarium joined the Emergency Medical Service as a psychiatric hospital run by the Ministry of Health.  All the staff were retained except for the doctors and the chaplain.  In 1941 the buildings became an annexe for patients under the care of University College Hospital.

The buildings were returned to the B.U.C. in July 1945.  The rooms and operating theatre were gradually refurbished, as finances allowed, and patients were once more admitted.  A large west wing was added to the existing buildings and one floor became the Maternity Department, with its own Ante-Natal Clinic.  The Department had 18 beds in single and double rooms, each centrally heated and with a double wardrobe, wash basin, telephone and small cupboard beside the bed with a reading light.  A radio could be hired for 5 shillings (25p) a week.  There were two bathrooms and toilets for patient use.  The Nursery, in a separate unit opposite the mothers' rooms, contained 18 cots.  There was an Admitting Room (containing a bed, a telephone and a bell) for mothers in the first stage of labour and two Delivery Rooms.  Husbands were welcome to stay for the first stage of labour, if they wished, but the staff found it impractical for them to remain during the second stage.  Mothers were encouraged to stay for at least 10 days after giving birth.  The Maternity Department was extremely popular and attracted a large clientele.

In 1948 the Sanitarium was disclaimed from the NHS and continued as a private hospital.  It was renamed the Stanboroughs Nursing and Maternity Home.

In 1955 it had 46 general beds and 10 maternity beds (presumably 8 were closed due to lack of staff).

In 1960, following further extension, the Nursing Home had 55 beds and the Maternity Department again 18 beds.

During the mid 1960s maternity patients stayed on average 9 days, general patients about 50 days.

However, the Home was in financial difficulties and, despite a petition to the B.U.C. by the population of Watford to keep it open, it closed on 31st August 1968.


Present status (April 2011)

The Sanitarium was demolished soon after it closed.

The Stanborough Park site had, at one time, as well as the Sanitarium, contained the Headquarters of the British Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Union office, a secondary school (previously the College building), a health food factory (Granose Foods Ltd), a publishing house (Stanborough Press Ltd) and a farm.  All have closed or moved away, and their buildings demolished.

The Stanborough Park Secondary School survives in a new building, built in 1991.  The B.U.C. Headquarters building, erected in 1961, is now the Adventist Discovery Centre (previously the Voice of Prophecy).

Stanborough Park
The entrance to Stanborough Park from St Albans Road.

Stanborough Park

The original lodge and gates to the estate remain (above and below).

Stanborough Park


Stanborough Park

The entrance to park (above) with a map showing the locations of the schools, the church and Adventist Discovery Centre (below).

Stanborough Park


Stanborough Park

Mature trees in the park (above and below).

Stanborough Park


Stanborough Park
Stanborough School was built on 
the site of the Maternity Home.

Stanborough Park
The eastern elevation of the School, which was built in 1991.


Stanborough Park
The northern side of the School.


Stanborough Park
The entrance to the Stanborough Primary School and Nursery is in Appletree Walk, off Sheepcot Lane.
References (Accessed 21st March 2015)

(Author unstated) 1920 An Outline of Mission Fields, 4th edn.  Washington, D.C., Mission Board of Seventh-Day Adventists. Pp 40-41.

(Author unstated) 1932 Advertisement (back cover).  Good Health (October).

Bell M 1992 Health evangelism in the British Isles.  Mesenger 90th Anniversary Souvenir Edition 1902-1992. Pp. 19-20.

Griffiths H 2003 The impact of African-Caribbean settlers on the Seventh-day Adventist church in Britain 1952-2992. Thesis, University of Leeds.

McClements S 1930 The Sanitarium.  The Missionary Worker, 2nd May, 1-2.

Marshall M 2008 Commemorating the San.  Messenger 113 (13), 10-11.

Mudford RR 1967  Healing Ministry.  In:  British Advent Messenger, Union Conference Special.  Grantham, Stanborough Press.  Pp 49-50.

Phillips B 2011 History of the British Union Conference headquarters.  Messenger 116 (8), 6.

Porter D 2007 The Centenary of Stanborough Park.  Messenger 112 (22), 1, 8-10.

Porter DS 1974 Chapter 4  The Park acquired.  In:  A Century of Adventism in the British Isles.  Grantham, Stanborough Press.  Pp 13-15.

Ruble WA 1924 The medical work in Great Britain.  Missionary Worker.  Special Historical Number. Pp. 21-23


Williams HO 1965 The Stansborough Maternity Home receives a good report.  British Advent Messenger 70 (4), 8.

Williams HO 1967  Medical Ministry. In:
British Advent Messenger, Union Conference Special.  Pp 51-52.

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