Repton Park (former Claybury Asylum)
George T Hine
- Original design
- George T Hine, 1889
- Crest Nicholson, 1999
The site was originally known as Claybury Hall, a landed estate with its grand house looking south-west from an elevated position towards the City of London. The grounds were landscaped by Sir Humphrey Repton and to this day still retain many of the original features including tree-lined drives, paths and planting.
In 1791 the original house and its outbuildings were demolished and its new owner, James Hatch had the new Claybury Hall built to reflect his wealthy status.
The Georgian Claybury Hall still stands today enjoying those deliberate Central London views, albeit today far more striking. The main house is now apartments and the Stable Block provides further homes.
After the Local Government Act of 1888 which transferred responsibility for asylums to the newly created London County Council, Claybury Hall and 269 surrounding acres were acquired to allow the building of a new and very progressive asylum to serve the boroughs to the north-east of London.
George Thomas Hine, an Architect experienced in designing asylums won the competition to design this new self-contained development and in 1889 construction commenced using red brick, Bath stone, slate and clay plain tiles. During construction Hine and his Clerk of Works lived on site in the newly built North & South Lodges at the entrance to the site and together they oversaw the work of E. Cabbutt Builders who constructed the entire development in around 3 years, partially with the assistance of a goods train on a specially extended temporary rail track from Woodford Station in to the development.
The asylum was home to 2,500 patients and over 500 staff, many of whom also lived on site. It had its own farm, dairy, bakery and kitchens, as well as chapel, recreation hall, chapel of rest, mortuaries and stables. Operating theatres and other treatment facilities ensured that those cared for at Claybury did not leave during their term as “patients”. The landmark water tower can be seen from over 7 miles away and was used to store and pump water around the vast hospital site.
During both World Wars the hospital was used to look after badly injured or shell-shocked returning troops and in 1948 after the creation of the National Health Service, its management and practices changed again, with more emphasis on recovery and return to the community.
Change in patient treatments and care took place again in the 1970s with many more patients being treated in the community by outreach teams, or as day patients. The residential numbers fell to below 1,500 and buildings started to fall into disrepair. By the 1980s the Thatcher Government forced yet more patients out in to the community, and by 1991, the number of patients at “Claybury Hospital” dropped below 400.
The entire hospital site including its original buildings and grounds were given Grade II Listed status by English Heritage and Conservation Area status also followed, protecting the ancient woodland including its many very mature trees and shrubs.
In 1997 the hospital site and its Georgian Claybury Hall were sold to developer Crest Nicholson who as part of the “deal” were granted planning consent to convert former hospital buildings and to build new dwellings to provide a total of 414 luxury homes for private sale. They were also obliged to hand over a substantial part of the surrounding woodland and open space to the London Borough of Redbridge after creating Claybury Park, for use by the public.
The former chapel and recreation hall were converted to a gym and swimming pool, and are now managed by Virgin Active. The water tower is now a single eight-storey luxury dwelling offering amazing panoramic views.
The gate lodges, secondary water towers and West House are individual dwellings and larger original houses used by hospital management and doctors have been converted to apartments, as have the many three-storey Ward Blocks. The chapel of rest and mortuaries are also now homes.
“Repton Park” is now home to around 2,000 people and offers spacious and tranquil living on the edge of London. Residents benefit from good security with concierge controlled access, beautifully maintained grounds and the adjacent Claybury Park and woods. Repton Park is managed by First Port Bespoke Property Services and has an active Residents Association who arrange community social and fundraising events as well as representing the interests of Repton Park’s freeholders and leaseholders.
The Open House London weekend provides members of the public an opportunity to join guided walks around Repton Park to view its beautiful buildings and landscaped grounds. Starting at the main entrance to the park, the tour will allow visitors to view the exteriors of many of the originally asylum buildings including the lodges, administration blocks, water towers, chapel and recreation hall, as well as the parkland.
Visitors are asked to report the Gate House upon arrival where refreshments will be available before and after each of the 45 minute tours.
More information on Repton Park will be made available on the tours or visit the Repton Park Residents Association (RPRA) Website www.reptonpark.org