With the launch of the new Napsbury Quarters, we give you our guide to Napsbury Park
PUBLISHED: 14:49 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:56 24 November 2015
Napsbury Park is now known as one of the best-regarded and most exclusive residential developments in Hertfordshire, it's closest main city being St Albans. But it's been through many a change over time, giving residents an intriguing back-story to the land their home is now built on...
In 1898 the estate was converted into a hospital - the The Middlesex County Asylum. It was designed by architect Rowland Plumbe also known for rebuilding the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, in 1897. The grounds were designed by William Goldring (who also worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) The hospital needed to extend further when it filled its 1,205 beds so speedily, and Plumbe was asked to add room for a futher 600. This popularity contributed to the now-larger development.
Despite suffering collatoral damage in the Blitz, Napsbury was used as a medical facility through 2002, when the last of the psychiatric facilities indeed shut down. Due to its largely untouched parkland, Napsbury was listed as a Grade II Historic Park/Garden.
Cropmarks found in the hospital grounds suggests the existence of a lost medieval settlement. Early Napsbury is mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was called Absa and owned by a vassall of Archbishop Stigand. On the grounds was a house named Tylehouse which was associated with tile and brick workings. It’s known that there were people settled there with tofts and smallholdings, since tithes were payable in the 14th century. The house on the estate was at one point owned by Nicholas Bacon, father of Francis.
Crest Nicholson seized the opportunity to acquire the site in 2002, after its closure, They then began the mammoth task of preserving the architectural and botanical heritage of the site, all the while developing it into an area of outstanding property. This process has gradually matured over the past decade and what now stands at Napsbury Park is a sub-community - a residential region in itself. So successful has been the project that it’s now almost a man-made village - a microcosmic suburb of St Albans. The variety of structures that dot the area offer luxurious living for an array of residents (including several Arsenal FC and Watford FC footballers). Crest Nicholson have executed each new development by designing the properties to be sustainable. All materials are approved by the Green Guide and Napsbury Park, as a whole, is very eco-friendly, with designs that implement excellent energy efficiency.
The RSPB evaluate the Park twice a year, typically with glowing reports. In 2014, the residents introduced bird boxes across the Park, particularly in the wooded areas and meadows. The boxes have been made and donated by The Training and Education Centre in Radlett. Plans are also afoot for hedgehog boxes, possibly owl boxes and residents hope to halt the declining swift population with the introduction of swift boxes in the Napsbury Quarters refurbishment. MBS has also carried out a flora and fauna survey, which outlines the geology of the Park, identifying 84 different species of plants and trees. including Sweet Vernal-grass, Field Wood-rush and Red Clover.
Amenities and facilities
The nearest schools to Napsbury Park include Bowmansgreen Primary School, the Samuel Ryder Academy, Edge Grove, Haberdashers, Manor Lodge and St Albans Girls’ School. Colney Medical Centre is close by on Kings Road as is the London Colney Village Surgery.
There are four local Cricket Clubs and one Football Club who play some of their fixtures at the Park.The sports Pavilion provides changing rooms, a function room with kitchen facilities and an outdoor paved patio area, with adjacent car parking. When not in use for pre-booked sports activities it’s available to hire for special events such as children’s parties. For the adults, there’s a golf society, a ladies running and walking group and a cycling club (where members cycle up to 20 miles each Saturday morning from around 9am). There is an annual calendar and events and competitions such as the recent photographic contest and the jazz picnic in late summer. Most of these societies have corresponding Facebook pages/groups to keep everyone updated.
Location & Transport
Park Street is the nearest rail station to Napsbury at eight minutes away by car. St Albans City station, giving a wider choice for travel, is 10 minutes away, and can also be reached using the 658 bus connecting the estate with St Albans, London Colney and Borehamwood. First Capital Connect operates between Brighton and Bedford, with trains stopping at St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars.
Napsbury Park has good access to the M25 just over two miles away, and the A414 (which takes you to the A1(M)), at a distance of just over seven miles.
The Park has two playgrounds, playing fields, tennis courts, a five-a-side football/netball/basketball court and a modern Pavilion. Residents have come together to build a thriving community who enjoy the benefits of an active Residents Association and social clubs such as a Golf Society, Running Club, Book Club and a Baby/Toddler Group.
The association offers information about residents’ rights, helping tackle any problems they have with housing. They maintain good relationships with the council and its planning department and support local campaigns such as schooling or traffic hazard appeals. The Park works in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch and the local police.
With thanks to the winners of this year’s Napsbury Park photo competition, for the kind use of their images.