The luxury of hindsight

“It’s no secret” says the promotional material “that several professional footballers live in Repton Park”, presumably unaware that one of London’s most luxurious housing developments used to be a psychiatric hospital.

Repton Park is the new name for what was originally called the London County Lunatic Asylum and was eventually renamed Claybury Hospital before the fashion for monolithic mental hospitals finally passed.

When it finally closed it stayed derelict for a few years before it was bought by a property developer and turned into luxury flats.

As you walk round the estate you can see it’s been an easy sell. Driveways are scattered with Porches and Range Rovers and there seems not a single apartment which has not been sold.

The surroundings are admittedly stunning and the place boasts its own health club. Curiously, the estate has been divided into sections with faux stately names like Kensington and Tavistock House.

If this story sounds familiar, it is remarkably similar to the history of Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, later Friern Hospital, and now Princess Park Manor, which we covered previously on Mind Hacks.

Along similar lines, neither the property developers nor the residents of Repton Park are keen to mention the heritage of the building they now live in.

The residents’ association carefully avoids any mention of mental health in their history of the estate and the property dealers mention the ‘fine Victorian facades’ but not why they were built.

Next on the redevelopment list is probably the old City of London Lunatic Aslyum, later Stone House Hospital. Currently empty, it will shortly be converted into, well, luxury flats – although credit to the local council for specifying that some will have to become affordable housing.

However, if you can look past the luxury of Repton Park, the history itself is fascinating. There’s a great account of it here.

Welcome, professional footballers.

Link to history of Claybury Hospital.
Link to previous Mind Hacks piece on Friern Hospital.

4 thoughts on “The luxury of hindsight”

  1. Why would any kind of past for a building make it less attractive? I find the approach “if it was a madhouse in the past, it means that the current inhabitants are somehow related to that”. If I lived in a place like that, I would make my apartment in “prison cell” theme.đŸ™‚

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