A rich heritage in mental healthcare

At St Andrew's Healthcare, we’re proud of our rich heritage in the provision of mental healthcare.

Our history as a charity begins in 1838 with the opening of our hospital at Northampton offering 'humane' care to the mentally ill.

St Andrew's was one of four Registered Psychiatric Hospitals that chose not to join the National Health Service in 1948, maintaining our charitable status.

 

Our History

The Northampton General Asylum, founded by public subscription, opened on 8 August 1838. The hospital was built on land once owned by the Cluniac Priory of St Andrew's.

Hospital architecture

The hospital building in Northampton was purpose designed by Mr George Wallet of the Bethlem Hospital.

It was funded in large part from the reserves of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, through the offices of Sir William Wake.

The original architecture is still appreciated by patients, some of whom reside in our Main Building, and many spend time in the parkland which surrounds it.

The 106 acre estate at Northampton includes the Hospital Chapel of 1863, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, famous for The Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station and the Albert Memorial.

Prominent people

St Andrew’s best-known past resident was Northamptonshire-born John Clare, England’s greatest rural poet. He died in 1864 after more than 22 years of care, having written many poems in the hospital.

Joseph Hassid, a pre-war Polish violinist compared with Heifetz and Menuhin, stayed briefly. Other artistic residents include Sir Malcolm Arnold, perhaps the greatest English composer of the twentieth century, who agreed to one of our newer buildings being named after him.

 

St Andrew's Archive

Our archive in Northampton houses:

  • clinical records and registers from 8 August 1838
  • minute books from 1814 (prior to the building of the Hospital)
  • post mortem books
  • historic photographs
  • plans and documents relating to the history of St Andrew's.

We handle requests for information from enquirers all over the world – often from those researching family history.

We also support St Andrew’s staff and post-graduate students undertaking research on a wide range of mental healthcare information.

Contact us

Please call us on 01604 616502

email archives@standrew.co.uk

or write to us at Archives, St Andrew's Healthcare, Billing Road, Northampton NN1 5DG