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I worked at WPH as a nursing assistant 1986-1997. I worked on several wards including Farleigh Unit, Agnes Ward and Alice House. I lived within the grounds at the nurses home. The wards were all quite different, but there was a real ''family' feel to the hospital. Everyone knew everyone- staff and patients alike. I left to do my nurses training. I loved my time working there and met some wonderful people- staff and patients. The wards were all quite different with a lot of them being closed for several years. The grounds were huge and beautiful. A great place to find some peace and tranquility. One of my fondest memories was working on Alice House and celebrating Christmas Day. The staff and patients all made it such a lovely day at a time of year that would've been so hard for so many. I miss the place, and the people especially. WPH will always hold a special place in my heart

Anonymous

I was actually at the primary school down the road from the hospital. The hospital was always a mysterious and intriguing place to us kids. I always remember being fascinated by the building (still am, shame it's gone). On some occasions, I can distinctly remember patients 'escaping' and coming onto our grounds.

Steven

I was a patient at WPH in the mid-eighties, on Barbara House and Alice House. I thought the nurses on both units were exremely good. Remember particularly one woman nurse there, who  was the senior nurse and would run the ward rounds with Dr Harvey-Smith. She was one of the kindest, sweetest people one could ever hope to meet. Wish I could remeber her name..began with an M and was Irish sounding. Remember too a wondeful Art Therapist, Jill Barry and a lovely OT, Katherine Vaughan. I had one admission, for two months, and had ECT. Was keen to leave by the end and then, for a long time afterwards, wanted to be back! It was over twenty-five years ago now and the staff, and the hospital, made a big impression, for numerous reasons.

Simon

I worked at WPH from 1992-1999 when the hospital shut. I worked on Agnes ward, James ward and Barbara House. It was my first job after I qualified and I remember the place fondly. I lived in at Ralphs house and the nurses home. It was a great place to work, staff were like a big family and the social club was the best place to be! Even though the conditions were a bit old and worn the care was better and patients were well looked after.

Karen

I was a patient at WPH in the mid-eighties, on Barbara House and Alice House. I thought the nurses on both units were exremely good. Remember< particularly one woman nurse there, who  was the senior nurse and would run the ward rounds with Dr Harvey-Smith. She was one of the kindest, sweetest people one could ever hope to meet. Wish I could remeber her name..began with an M and was Irish sounding. Remember too a wondeful< Art Therapist, Jill Barry and a lovely OT, Katherine Vaughan. I had one admission, for two months, and had ECT. Was keen to leave by the end and then, for a long time afterwards, wanted to be back! It was over twenty-five years ago now and the staff, and the hospital, made a big impression, for numerous reasons.

Simon

Warlingham Park Hospital was a huge part of our childhood (myself and my 3 siblings). I was born in 1961 and lived in Warlingham until the age of 16 when my parents moved away to Devon.

Warlingham Park Hospital was the view from our house, and from our long garden. We lived in one of the houses in Harrow Road that belonged to the hospital, with just a green field between us and its grounds.

It was our livelihood as my parents worked as Registered Mental Nurses in the hospital. They worked hard with one doing the day shift and the other doing the night shift. They were very committed to the hospital, its ethos and their roles.

As kids we were aware of the hospital's unusual status as an open hospital where many patients were free to leave the grounds. This seemed natural to us and we were used to the sight of patients walking outside the hospital grounds, and being around the environment.

We walked through the grounds in different seasons, enjoying the beautiful trees. We were fascinated with the old buildings, and liked to walk in the grounds discovering new areas.

It was our church on Sundays - a small chapel in the grounds. On occasions after mass we would go in to visit a ward that one of my parents worked on and say hello to some of their patients - the patients seemed to love this visit from their off duty nurse and young family.

Warlingham Park Hospital was also a huge part of our young social lives - the annual staff shows (our dad took part), us kids playing around the bowling club whilst our parents played bowls on Sundays as part of hospital's staff team. The Social Club just outside the grounds where we played table tennis and my dad played snooker (and a taste of my first shandy I seem to recall!)

Our neighbours also worked at the hospital and us kids formed fantastic alliances, playing well together until dusk each day in each others’ gardens and sheds, and in the area surrounding the houses. We shared bonfires and firework nights, and on occasions we were allowed to camp in the gardens together.

The fields, commons and woods surrounding the hospital were our extended playgrounds. Later, when we were older, we would go off on our bicycles, a small group of us exploring the local countryside, and found ourselves investigating "haunted houses" (or so we imagined) and discovering new routes and places.

I look back on my childhood with such incredibly fond memories. I felt then as I feel now it was something akin to the Enid Blyton novel with our freedom and sense of adventure and quite an unusual setting. And always with Warlingham Park Hospital and especially its clock face and tower as our backdrop.

Maggie Railton