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Princess Park Manor Barnet
   
Summary: Princess Park Manor is a private residential complex on the former site of Middlesex County (Colney Hatch) Lunatic Asylum, built in 1849-50. The original landscaped grounds included a tree-lined approach to the Italianate buildings, parterre-type planting on two forecourts in front of the main block, 8 airing courts between the wings and central spine laid out as formal gardens, and kitchen gardens beyond. As the Asylum expanded over the years, additional facilities included a farm, a chapel and a cemetery in use until 1873. By 1929 the Asylum comprised 165 acres and had a reputation for being run on humane grounds. In 1937 it became Friern Barnet mental hospital; land was lost to the North Circular Road and assigned to the LCC for development. The hospital closed down in the early 1990s, when a large part of the grounds was sold for development and over half the buildings were demolished. Part of the site is being converted to provide 256 'luxury apartments set in 30 acres of mature parkland'.
Colney Hatch, reproduced from Edward Walford, 'Greater London' vol. I, 1898
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Previous / Other name: Friern Hospital; Colney Hatch Asylum
Site location: Friern Barnet Road, New Southgate
Postcode: N11 3FL > Google Map
Type of site: Housing/Estate Landscaping
Date(s): 1849-50
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII: Friern Hospital, Lodge, Garden House
Borough: Barnet
Site ownership: Comer Homes Group
Site management: Comer Homes Group
Open to public? No
Opening times: private
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport: Tube: Arnos Grove (Piccadilly), Woodside Park (Northern). Rail: New Southgate then bus. Bus 221.
Colney Hatch, reproduced from Edward Walford, 'Greater London' vol. I, 1898
> Enlarge
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.princessparkmanor.net

Fuller information:

Formerly the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum, known as Colney Hatch Asylum, built in 1849-51 to house 1,000 pauper lunatics by architect Samuel Whitfield Daukes, the main building is a long central block in the Italianate style with two towers, flanked by two wings. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert. The plan and topographical view shown in 'The Builder' of 1851 shows a tree-flanked approach, parterre-type planting on two forecourts in front of the main block, and eight 'Airing Courts' between the wings and central spine laid out as formal gardens, and kitchen gardens beyond. Many additions were made to the buildings after 1857; by 1896 there were 2,500 patients, some housed in timber buildings, which burnt down in 1903. Between 1908 and 1913 a series of brick villas were built for different categories of patient and by 1929 the grounds extended to 165 acres. The grounds included gardens, a farm, a chapel and a cemetery that was in use until 1873.

The asylum, set in its landscaped grounds, had a reputation for being run on humane grounds based on a principle of 'no restraint', offering entertainment to its inmates and with its own beer cellar. It received so many visitors, including those from overseas, that a guidebook was published. There were fetes, dances, concerts, lectures and lantern shows, and patients were able to visit their relatives on their birthday, accompanied by a nurse. However, when the Colney Hatch area was undergoing residential development, it became known as New Southgate, to avoid the association with the lunatic asylum. In 1937 Colney Hatch Asylum became Friern Barnet mental hospital.

Later in the C20th seven acres were lost to the new North Circular Road and assigned to the LCC for development as a playground. The hospital was finally closed down by the NHS in the early 1990s, who sold off a large part of the grounds for development and demolished more than half of the buildings. The main building stood empty for six years during which time it was vandalised and partly burnt down. The site was purchased by developer Luke Comer of Comer Homes in c.1996 who got planning permission to convert it into 256 "luxury apartments set in 30 acres of mature parkland". The former chapel has become a swimming pool and gymnasium. In the grounds an octagonal arcaded summerhouse and water tower can be seen.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Victoria County History: Middlesex Vol VI, V; The Builder no 439, vol IX, 5/7/1851 pp415-417; The Times, 1/2/1997 p12; Bernard Byrom, 'Old Southgate and Palmers Green' Stenlake Publishing, 2008
Grid ref: TQ283920
Size in hectares: 13.5
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: Yes
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation:
   

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