Highlights – Hospitals


The Royal Bucks Hospital

This is a listed building, built c1860-62 by David Brandon. David Brandon (1813 – 1897) was a Scottish architect who worked mostly in the Gothic style.

Originally called the Buckinghamshire General Infirmary, this hospital was one of the first pavilion plan hospitals in England and the first civil pavilion planned hospital to be finished and in use. Florence Nightingale was personally involved in the design which she published in the third edition of her Notes on Hospital Design, 1863 as an exemplar. The building is listed primarily for its significance in the development of mid-C19 hospital planning.

It is believed that King Edward VII, while still Prince of Wales, broke his leg during a visit to Aylesbury and was treated at the hospital. In recognition he granted it the title “Royal”. It was renamed the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital as part of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1887.

Bucks Mental Hospital, Stone

The former St John’s Hospital was built in 1850-1852. This building was also designed by David Brandon. In 1868-1869 a new chapel was added and it was enlarged in 1902-1904. Here the chaplain would perform the Church of England service every Sunday, Christmas Day and Easter.

The hospital was originally built as the Buckinghamshire County Lunatic Asylum which it remained until 1919. The focus was on work, preferably out of doors. For the men it was gardening and husbandry, for the women ‘occupations suited to their ability’ such as light hoeing and sorting potatoes.

It then became the Buckinghamshire Mental Hospital until 1948. Under the National Health Service the site was renamed St. John’s Hospital Aylesbury (or Stone) after the local parish church in the village.

The building was closed in 1991 and later was demolished. All that remains of the original building are the staff houses and the asylum chapel, now a listed building.

A history of the hospital, Asylum History: Buckingham County Pauper Lunatic Asylum – St.John’s, was published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1990.

Potterspury Union Workhouse

The building on the right was originally the Potterspury Union Workhouse.

Yardley Gobion was the chosen site for the workhouse building within the Potterspury Union, which comprised eleven parishes in Northants and three in North Buckinghamshire. The boundary resulted from lobbying by George Henry, Duke of Grafton, for all the lands that formed his estate to be in the union. The land for the workhouse was bought from him and the initial buildings were erected in 1837.

Accommodation was prepared for around two hundred inmates, but the number in residence never reached that figure. The 1841 census shows the number of inmates to be just seventy-four, together with the Master, Matron and the Schoolmistress. Later census returns suggest that the number of residents never reached one hundred.

Several additional buildings were added to the workhouse during its lifetime, including a hospital at the top of the yard where 13 to 16 Mount Pleasant now stand.

In 1904 it changed its name to The White House. This was to avoid the word ‘workhouse’ appearing on children’s birth certificates.

The workhouse closed in 1917 and the buildings were used to house German prisoners of war who worked on local farms. After the war the buildings remained unused for some time and eventually they were sold and converted into private residences.