A recent newspaper article about the apartments notes how they have become an attraction for pop singers and reality TV stars.
The Princess Park Manor website lauds the historic buildings but has a history section that completely avoids the fact that the building was an asylum – Europe’s biggest no less.
But this attempt to distance the local area from associations with mental illness is not a new phenomenon. In fact, this area of London has been uniquely affected by trying to dissociate itself from the hospital.
The asylum was so named because it was located in a historic area called Colney Hatch.
As the hospital became infamous in London (it housed almost 3,500 patients at one stage so became well-known), the Colney Hatch name became irreversibly associated with madness. Being called a ‘Colney Hatch case’ was a standard insult.
As a result, simply being associated with the area was stigmatising and house prices began to be affected.
The solution was to rename the whole area to New Southgate. The train station was similarly renamed – originally called ‘Colney Hatch and Southgate’ and then ‘Southgate and Colney Hatch’ but finally the mention of the feared name was omitted entirely, settling with just ‘New Southgate’.
Eventually, the hospital itself was renamed to ‘Friern Hospital’
In fact, the only reference to Colney Hatch that remains in the area is the road Colney Hatch Lane which can also be called the B550 if you prefer.
Curiously though, the hospital had its own cemetery on site although I could find no trace of it on my explorations. Presumably it has been built over as the rest of the estate was sold off.
Link to piece on the history of the area.