Welcome

Welcome to SAHHistory.wordpress.com. This site is dedicated to Saint Augustine’s Hospital in Chartham, Kent, in the UK, Now sadly demolished and redeveloped as a housing estate.

Check out the Site News section for all updates to the website and Facebook group.

You can navigate our pictures and videos of the site using the menu bar, above right.

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So, Who am I, and why am I making a site about a Mental Hospital that no longer exists?

I am Stacy Leith, and my late Father, Andrew Leith, worked at the site, mainly in the boiler room, from the early to mid 1980’s, up until it closed in 1993. My Father raised me on his own, and I often went in to work with him, especially when he was on call. I have many fond memories of the site, climbing in the boilers to clean them with him, sitting in the old mess room, visiting the workshop, climbing the 100ft water tower, and all sorts of other things me and my father did there.

Recently I did some searching on the internet for pictures of the site, and came up dry. There are many photos online, but 99% are after it was closed, all of them showing dilapidated, half demolished, barely recognisable structures.

I knew my family still had a video my Father and his very good friend Doug had shot a week before they closed the door in 1993, and upon asking for a copy, was also supplied photos of the site, taken by one of my fathers colleagues, ranging from 1975 up to 1993, which also document a number of interesting events to happen late in the Hospitals life time.

I loved the hospital, as did my Father, and I know he would want this site to be made, so that everyone interested in the history of Saint Augustine’s Hospital can see the photos and videos we have. Otherwise, it may just be forgotten.

So, please feel free to have a look around, and share this site with anyone who may be interested, and get in touch if you have anything to add.

More photos could be added at any time, as I know we have many more buried in boxes, and am in the process of tracking them down!

 

This site is dedicated to my Father, who worked at St Augustine’s Hospital and moved on to St Martins Hospital in Canterbury when St A’s closed in 1993.

dad

Andrew F. Leith, 22/09/1949 – 18/01/2007

233 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Wow so many names i know, my dad worked at the hospital for 33 years, he retired in 1986, im sure lots would know him, alec hastings, my uncle also worked there, bill hatcher, my mum annie worked at the social club , me and my sisters were bought up around the hospital and hours of fun, we lived along the downs,

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    • I was in st augustins late 80s was first in oakhouse then juniper redwood was next door sleep ins stayed there .school was oposite redwood head master was brian malloy .teacher pat teacher joan tony were there doctor freestone was my sychiatrist lots of nice people jean hutchenson vicky wilkinson nurse ect ect shame she was pulled down as care system now in chaos

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    • I was in st augustins late 80s was first in oakhouse then juniper redwood was next door sleep ins stayed there .school was oposite redwood head master was brian malloy .teacher pat teacher joan tony were there doctor freestone was my sychiatrist lots of nice people jean hutchenson vicky wilkinson nurse ect ect shame she was pulled down as care system now in chaos

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      • Wow I remeber Jean too I can still hear her voice saying I’ll slap your face in the most funny accent that used to send most of us laughing on the floor I was in juniper day centre and went to beech house. Dr freestone remeber her well. 30 years later I met a psychologist she had trained at beech house he was brilliant like her. No idea what year early 80s I think and I remeber the nurse Andy he was cool like Jean who done well with us kids

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    • Hi, my Nan work there for 35 years as a nurse, Mary Cox. I spent many times there also roaming about the grounds and the wards throughout the holidays, Strangely I enjoyed it all. I have good memories of the place. My grandfather worked there also as a porter. Graham cox.

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      • I’m pretty sure that my mum, Dorothy Holmes, worked with your nan and my dad, Eric Holnes, was probably your grandfather’s boss. X

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    • I remember the Hastings family. We lived at 21 The Crescent, opposite The Fagg Arms. My dad was Eric Holmes, Head Porter for many years.

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      • I remember your family, not very well as i was quite young but i do remember coming round to pick my sistet up,

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      • Hi Ann. I remember your family. I’m the sister that Susan Morris mentions!! As I remember, you were the eldest and then your brother Mark and then Jeanette (Jeannie). Jeannie and I used to hangout quite a bit. You also had a little dog called Scruffy? Your dad was a lovely man and I have fond memories of him and your family.

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      • Hi Yvonne
        Lovely to hear from you and thank you for you kind words about my father.
        He emigrated to Canada with his wife, Lorraine. My dad died a good while back but Jeannie and I are still in touch with Lorraine.
        Jeannie remarried last year to a dead nice bloke called Pete and they live in Rayliegh in Essex. She has four children and they all live locally to her.
        If you would like to track her down she is on Facebook, Jen Mills.
        No idea where Mark is, we haven’t heard anything from him for many years. Sad really because there was no falling out.
        I hope all is well with you and your family.
        All the best.
        Ann.

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      • Hello we lived at number 6 the Crescent when your dad worked there, you were young then as we were. It was a good place to explore, climb trees and work . Maria Soltysiak

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      • Hi, I was a boy at redwood, 1972 to 74,my name is Richard pownall, my best friends were Tony Dykes, and Guy Bullock, I’ve always wanted to find out how they are, can anyone Help, Brian malloy was my Headmaster

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    • Can you ask him if he remembers a long-term patient called florance Harris ..they used to call her Florie she was there from 1936 till shortly before it closed ..

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      • Hi I remember bill hatcher. And Anne. My nan and grandad Tom and Marie Williams.

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      • I remember Tom and Marie, most of the time they had Glen Miller playing in the club, you lived down shalmsford Street
        My sisters are Yvonne and Helen,

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  2. Hi Stacey,
    I sent you a memory of my time at Redwood & Beech House’s (St. Augustine’s) 20th October 1967 to 23rd February 1968 yesterday (5th Feb ’18).
    I asked about a building that had subsequently been built on the green opposite Redwood & Beech House’s since 1968 that i referred to as Jubilee House. I have since found out that this building when built was in-fact called Juniper House.
    Please
    could you tell me when Juniper was built and what was it used for. as there was certainly no mention of plans to build Juniper House, during the period I was at Redwood & Beech House’s (St. Augustine’s Hospital) 1967-68.

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    • Hi Andrea, I have an idea that Juniper house was used to accommodate girls when the unit was no longer exclusively for boys. Do you remember Ann Jordan, the social worker? Some holidays I used to go stay with her family next door to the Black Horse Inn in Pluckley. Englands most haunted pub!

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  3. I was a voluntary patient at Beech House from September 1962 to March 1963. The head psychiatrist was a Dr Turle. I played for the hospital football team [which was managed by a professional coach named Len Kilby] during my tenure and had a 6 session course of ECT for depression in January 1963. Some of the sights I saw over in the main building weren’t suitable for a 14 year old

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    • They were still sending Beech House boys to the main building as a punishment in 1972, when I worked there – an appalling way to treat children; wasn’t even for violence, it was often boys who ‘played up’ and the senior staff couldn’t cope.

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      • I was in Redwood in 1986. I always will never say I was a patient. I was an inmate there. We all were. I was in prison for shyness. I was sexually abused there and they blamed me. A nurse told me I should be beaten up for being shy. I was bullied by nurses there even before I unpacked my bags. I was denied drinks and force fed. I was blamed for someone trying to kill me because I found a voice to defend myself for once. I was humiliated daily and that was the worst, more worse than the sexual abuse or threatening to kill me. I despise this place and the nurses. All the “therapy” centred around that my dad must have raped me and to deny it was a sign he must have. Guess what? He did not! That is actually why I said he didn’t! They just went on and on constantly. I don’t think I will ever hate anyone as much as Les Tinson and the nurses under his “control”.

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  4. Does anyone know or remember Ron Furner and Sue Stutter, Ron worked in the main building as a charge nurse whilst sue worked in the children’s ward (beech house I think).. would have worked there in the 1980’s through to its closure I believe

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  5. I was born on the hospital farm in 1947, my father was the Waggoner, there were two shire horses, Prince and Colonel. These were used to pull carts and plough the fields. Later they were replaced by tractors. Life on the farm as kid was great with so much to do, building camps, climbing trees, making bows and arrows, go carts and sledges in the winter when we had snow. My mother and gran mother both worked in the hospital, my mother in the kitchens and my grandmother on the wards. Number of hospital patients both male and female would work on the farm, the men working with the cows, pigs or general farm work, the women would be working mainly sorting and packing vegetables.

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    • Keith Levitt remembers you well.Those were the days.My brother Mark still alive and now 82.Irember your dad sister and mum and even grandad that sat on the wall.

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  6. I worked at st Agustins from 1985 till it closed I worked on pine ward an then hazel ward i met many great people there both patients and staff while working on hazel ward we had much fun we used to go out with the patients to the pub / beach I worked under a brilliant ward manager who was well respected by his team. My mother Elisebth bowman also worked at St Augustine’s when I was growing up and I have many good memories of going to the social club as they had lots of entertainment there. The patients had there own social club and shop I was young when I started and experienced seeing many things that will always stay with me. The move to st Martins hospital was a huge move for many of the long term patients as rightly or wrongly it was the only home they New St Martins had little grounds and no social club or shop.

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    • Hi Sorry must be a typo error, but there was certainty a shop, in fact you could buy most things “ON SITE” and there was a social club, my Nan and Granddad Tom and Marie Williams run the club from approx 1970 to 1978.
      I was very young at the time but remember that there was a lot of Social nights in the hall at the side.

      Used to be good friends with the Smiths Mark and Adrian, and Dad Clive and his wife, (Cath?) who lived on the crescent, happy days.

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      • I have such fond memories of evenings in the social club when I was a kid, good times. I remember the sixpence one arm bandit in the bar, £5 jackpot, big win in those days – late 60s early 70s.

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      • I remember your nan and grandad, always had glen miller playing in the club, they done some good club nights, the main one i remember is a group called the sundowners, and i remember your mum (gloria) if i got it right she used to wear a nightdress as a dress when she helped out behind the bar on these nights, great memories from way back then

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  7. What a wonderful website. I’m a KCC Community Warden for Chartham and came across your website when starting my research on the old hospital site. My idea is to get Chartham to become a Village in Bloom for 2019. I noticed that the wards were named after plants, which will be incorporated in to the future planting schemes. As there is so much history to the old site, I would like to see this developed alongside the planting. Could it be possible to get some living oral history recorded, from workers and patients? I could also help with setting this up. If you can be of help, please contact me.
    Susan Beeney
    Susan.Beeney@kent.gov.uk

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  8. My late husband Adrian Harper who passed away in 1983 and myself Jean Harper worked at St Augustine’s hospital. We made many friends whilst we were working. We moved to Australia in 1966.

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  9. My Grandmothers Brother was in there for 40 years or more, end of WW1 until he died in 1966. His name was Robert J Bliss and at one point on Elm Ward. I am researching him at the moment.
    If any one has any memories of or information I would welcome it. Thank you.

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  10. Just reading this website as I am trying to find out more about my Great Aunt who was a patient for life in St. Augustines. Her name was Lilian (Lily Kelsey) who was sent there in 1948 . She is of course deceased but I imagine there may be nurses alive who took care of her. If anyone should recall her I would love to know more. She was a sweet person who should never have been there but sad what happened all those years ago.

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  11. My mother was there in 1973 die there in 1983 her name was Sylvia Florence Driscoll I was holding that you may have pics. Of as don’t have any I am one her
    Girls. Name. Same my mother Sylvia. Ann Driscoll place of birth Ramsgate kent

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  12. Hi, my name is Dennis Brown, I worked at St A in various roles. Started in the stores with Tony and Jeff, then went to electricians as assistant, which meant I visited all wards. I then joined the transport, transporting patients and staff. One of my main jobs was taking the domestics home every day. One name I remember well is Rita Baker who lived in Canterbury with her parents. Great years spent at the hospital along with my Dad, gardens, father in law boiler house, mother in law kitchen.

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  13. My Mother Edith Matilda Croucher died at this hospital in 1979 and I am trying to find out where she was buried or cremated. Any information appreciated.

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    • My own Grandad Frank Post died here too in 1981 and my dad Nicky Nicholas Post was here in the 1970s I’m researching now finally about them because of the hereditary problem I’m worried about in old age my grandad had

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  14. Does anyone remember Lilian (lil) Kelsey. She would have been one if the oldest there. This was my great aunt. She passed away there sadly. My brother and I used to visit her. It was our treat every other week together with our grandmother. Also Dr Nesfield. He was a strange fellow!!

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    • I am trying to find out about 3 months of my life in late 1964 when I was 13 this time was spent at beech house way back from the main hospital.
      Could you tell me where I can find out anything regarding beech house around that time as I certainly don’t even know why I was there. There must be records of residence and a local secondary school that I would have attended. Hope you can help me with my research, thank you

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      • The East Kent Trust will have inherited any records, but there’s been so many reorganisations since 1964, I doubt they’d be able to find much now. I don’t know the procedure for getting access to them, sorry.
        Kent County Council would be the education authority.

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      • Hi Paul
        The school in the village was Chartham Secondary.
        No idea where you may be able to get records of your stay at St Augustine’s but I think some records are still held at St Martins in Canterbury.
        Good luck.

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      • Hi Paul, try the PALs (Patient Advice & Liaison) service for the mental health trust covering Canterbury. You should be able to get their address from Trusts website. They won’t have records but should be able to explain the process for accessing records. Until the recent move over to electronic records, a patients paper records had to be retained by the health trust/authority until a certain number of years after person died.

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  15. I worked there from 1968 as a 15 year old apprentice electrician until the end of 1971.
    Fond memories of my early working life in this wonderful hospital.
    Whatever they say, it was one big happy family where we mixed with staff and patients alike.
    Dave Hanna

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      • Terry,I remember you there, I am sure we played table tennis and football…I can recall you telephoning me when you left and you told me that you wrecked Michael Clarkes bedroom..Do you remember that name…That Michael Clarke was a nutcase and often fought with the nurses who struggled to contain him he was incredibly strong for a school boy…..

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      • Colin! Good heavens! Never did I imagine that any of the boys at Redwood would remember me.
        Did you have close cropped hair at the time? The room wreck was a tit for tat revenge act which seems rather cowardly now.
        I went back to Redwood several months later for a random visit. To my horror Michael was still there. Fortunately he was amiable and no mention of the incident was made.
        I saw that beast of a 14 year old boy lift insane weights at a makeshift gym/physio room in Oak House I think it was (no Health & Safety then!). He could have snapped me like a twig.
        Other boys I remember are: Colin Culver, Sean Kempster, Nick Waddell, Dave Barnacle, Gary Davis and ‘Giffy’ (John Gifford?). I also remember a lovely guy, Pete Mulvaney, who was a student nurse.
        Colin, I hope life has been kind to you. Thank you for remembering me.
        Strange far off days, eh!
        Gawd bless, Tel 👍

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  16. Fabulous site. Some names I recognise. Memories of my time there as a student/staff nurse and Clinical Nurse Teacher…my name was formerly Jane Hadley and latterly Bromwich…Thank you for the memories.

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  17. Good morning I am trying to find information about my Grandma who passed away in the early nineties. She was in st augustine somewhere in the sixties she was known by a few names either, her first name was either Patricia or lillian and her surname was either Lloyd or Mills. She met Bill (William) McKenzie who worked at st augustine I’m not sure what his job was I think he may have worked in the kitchen.. She later married him and went off to Australia with him and came back to London a few years later. Any information would be very much appreciated

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  18. You’ll probably remember ehen the kids at Redwood set fire to the adjacent water tower in the field then. My names Quentin. I were a resident of Redwood house and were schooled at Beech house until 1986. We were an unruly lot and played up most of the time. Most of it was fun and games bit there was also a very dark streak to this place. We would spend a lot of our time attempting escape and removing the wooden blocks from the sash windows so we could get out and play havoc. Once we stole the go carts and drove them through the main wing of the hospital and escaped in to town with them only to be rounded up by the Canterbury police. We would go cart regularly at Buckmore park in Rochester when We were allowed to. After setting that fire I were sedated, which at the age of twelve, was quite gruesome and uncalled for even though we were tear aways. We broke in to beech house a few times too. Stealing chocalate for our journey out of town on the train. My friend commited suicide in Redwood whilst self mutilating. She was only fourteen. It was a catalyst that sent a few of us over the edge after the fire. It was a pretty dark time. We would be punished by being put in pyjamas when we escaped the place only to escape again whilst wearing pyjamas. The police would stop us usually on a train as we had no money for tickets and we would tell them. We were going to a Pyjama party. Most of the time there we spent high on something or another. Most of us came from pretty messed up backgrounds so escapism was in our blood. Mike Daley, Paul Jackson, Kim, Alice are the staff names I can remember at the time. Really sorry for giving you extra work at the time. When we actually set fire to the tower we were actually all on top of it. We were totally fearless. I never felt I really recovered from that trauma and were sent to a military boarding school soon after which was ultra abusive. I realised how much of a soft touch we had.

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  19. Was in redwood she around 1980 /81 Dr title Psychiatrist. Gaye Tuna psychologist and her husband max carpe. I heard rumours a few years ago that Gaye Tuna was a frsud and wasnt quslified

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    • I was there then I can remember max carp Gaye tuna that was a very dark part my life and still plays with my mind all them years ago

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  20. Was in Redwood hse around 1980 /81 Dr Turle Psychiatrist. Gaye Tuna psychologist and her husband Max Carpe. I heard rumours a few years ago that Gaye Tuna was a fraud and wasnt qualified

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  21. Family tree researching :- Any information on Vladimir Cattley who died as a long term inpatient 28/02/1989.Nobody in the family knew he was there, so very sad that someone can be locked away and forgotten for over 50 years.

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  22. I was sent to Beech/Redwood House when I was 14 around 1968. I remember male nurses; Val Turner and Robin Hood and many others. Then went on to Chartham secondary school after that. We had a green Commer mini bus and had lots of trips out at weekends.

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    • Hi John,
      I missed you by some four years. My tenure at Beech/Redwood was 1972.
      I certainly remember Val Turner. He had a shock of black, greasy hair and loped rather than ‘walked’. I can picture him in a loose fitting grey suit carrying a shotgun! Yes, I distinctly remember us kids being taken out for a ride in that mini bus along the leafy lanes nearby while Val stopped to blast pheasants, presumably for the pot.
      I remember being quite reviled at the time but chose to say nothing.
      Steve Luc(e)y was the charge nurse at the time.
      Is there anyone else you can remember?
      I’d like to somehow get in touch with some of the kids I was holed up with as St Augustine’s is a big part of my life and as I’m not in the best of health at the moment
      it would be nice to know what became of them.
      Cheers.

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      • Hi Terry
        Sorry to hear that you are not feeling great.
        I was there f0r about eight months.
        There was another charge nurse called Bob and a really nice teacher, who always smoked a pipe. A Mr Waller, who was a social worker.
        A really nice lady who was a cook.
        I was given my own room after a few months. Which looked out towards woodland.
        I can’t remember the names of many of the the other boys. Their was one boy called David Taylor, who also came from Orpington and went to my school.
        I was unhappy originally, but then got to enjoy being there.
        Returned to my original school when I got back.
        I can still see the other boys faces, but can’t remember all their names.

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      • Hi My name is Phil Terrell and I worked at Beech House in Redwood before Juniper was built for the girls. both as a student nurse and then around 1973-75 as a Charge Nurse. I well remember having to respond to a Police enquiry about a rumour that someone from Beech House had been shooting pheasants from our green Commer Van. I denied all knowledge and advised that it was unlikely only to later be told by the boys that it was true and Val had been sending them out like gun dogs to bring the birds back to the van. I think Steve Lucy was who I replaced as charge nurse as the other charge nurse during my time was Paddy Nolan. I think I may have been to one of the camps a Pet Level as a student during Steve Lucys time.

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      • Hi Phil,
        So nice to see your comments. Given your recollections it is almost certain we were at Redwood at the same time yet I cannot remember you I am disappointed to say. Steve Lucy left for Canada while I was still a patient. Other student nurses I remember are; Pete Mulvaney, Jean Hunt and a bearded guy called Stu who hailed from Liverpool. It was such a long time ago yet not a day goes by when I do not think of my time there such was the impact on my young life. I lament the demolition of the grand old building/estate. In spite of the odd negative comment from detractors I can confirm I was well cared for and although I was unwell the hospital and its environs held a strange fascination for me which linger to this day. The care staff inc. student nurses were great in my experience. Please, never neglect to share your memories.
        All the best, Tel.

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    • I was in Beech/Redwood during 1971 (as a 12yr old) and most certainly remember Val Turner as he had the white Volvo P1800 just like The Saint did:) Charge nurse Paddy I recall and a nice guy Bob (still apologetic for my first day there – I kicked him!). Was there someone called Colin too? And yes the green Commer that would ferry us everywhere, including the daily trip to Chartham secondary school and even camping some weekends to Pett Level I think it was called. In those days the local ‘school’ was Beech House and the accommodation was Redwood, but I understand Beech was renamed Juniper when they built another building out front and called that Beech house. I had a best friend called Nick there, but lost touch since leaving there. Also remember the trolley run to get meals from Oak House (Redwood could serve, but not cook dinners).

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      • Hi Dennis
        I remember Bob, and the camping trips.
        I often wonder what happened to all the guys I got to know during my eight month stay.
        Had my own room looking out toward the woods.

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      • Was Nick my dad Nicky Nicholas Post? if so? I’m his daughter I’m 42 now! I wasn’t born when he was there in the 1970s my mother visited but she doesn’t tell me much or knows much I need to learn about what he would’ve done and why he was there for

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    • Hiya John, we must have been there at the same time. We had two commers as I recall. We went off camping in the New Forest and swimming at Tankerton where we had a beach hut. Val Turner was amazing and ‘one of the lads’ with his flashy red MGA, as was Paddy Nolan (a legend), Bob Mills, nurse Hopper, and do you recall Billy Ko and Steve Chang who taught us all the really dirty tricks in table tennis (I can till thrash anyone!). other kids i recall was Martin “Biggo”, Jimmy McGregor, Tim Hewitt and Fatty Youden. I wonder what became of us all. I’ve been a rebel my whole life but they taught m to control it a bit. Was the best family I ever had. Hahahaha. cheers mate.

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  23. Hi John
    Paddy Nolan was his name, came to me later. I’ve trawled through more comments now and saw one related to ECT I think it was called – never remembered any occurrences of that – at least not in my time there in 1971. Very interesting how some people remember the exact dates they arrived and departed there (24 Mar71 – 3 Dec71 as do i) – and it really has had some lasting effects with me. However, I did learn to play snooker, had my first and only smoke and remember vividly playing TRex Hot Love on ‘the record player’ in the small room. Also had my own room facing south towards the woods, at the Beech House end. Went there about 5 years ago and took some pics before it finally got demolished

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    • Hi John
      I would love to see those fotos, do you think you could post them on here please?
      All the best.
      Ann.

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    • Wow Dennis, that brings back memories. I can tell you the first person with the T Rex album was Martin “Biggo” who had the room next to me and Tim Hewitt was next to him. The little ones slept in the dorm. The music room was great, completely covered in pop posters and totally monopolised by Jimmy McGregor – the Rolling Stones fiend. Also played billiards rather than snooker and they sent us bigger kids out to Frank Hooker School in Canterbury where we caused a lot of shit when we were falsely accused of putting up some rude posters! Cheers from sunny South Africa.

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  24. Hi there, I used to play football for saint As,both my parents worked at the hospital as nurses, my mother Rosemary Mills and father Bob Mills, who was a nursing officer and retired when hospital closed, we lived at 19 the crescent

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    • Hello, I recognise your dad’s name, my dad is alec Hastings, we lived up the downs, he worked at St a’s for 33 years,

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      • Hi Sue
        I remember your family.
        I also remember the Bishops, Linda West, Ch-chi etc. from The Downs.
        Are you still Local?
        I live in Nottingham
        All the best.
        Ann.

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      • Hi Ann
        Not moved to far away, I’m in ashford now,
        There are so many names from our childhood, as well as the names mentioned, we used to spend quite a bit of time with the ridges, who lived in the house at the bottom of the hospital drive,
        Douglas fleetney was my primary school boyfriend, must of been about 8/9 years old at the time lol,

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      • Hi Sue
        My sister, Jeannie, lived in Great Chart for years, she now lives in Essex.
        I remember the Ridges well, I was always fascinated by their big house .
        I always drive round Chartham when I visit Kent – not very often these days. Larlkey Valley always amazes me as I remember it as a main road and now it is almost a track.
        I have very fond memories of the hospital; social club, pantomime, cinema nights, wild cats etc. Also fond memories of the village, the Vesty’s shop with the beech nut chewing gum machine on the wall and playing at the back of the houses on the Downs, specially bonfire night.
        Hope you are well.
        All the best.
        Ann. X

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    • Hello Robert
      Did your parents live further down Shalmsford Street and did your dad have quite a few siblings, including a sister called Susan?
      All the best.
      Ann.

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      • I was confused about whether you were you or your dad!!!!
        I remember hanging around with you, Stephen Price etc. I remember you had ferrets and we took one rabbiting once and lost it down a rabbit hole.
        Do you still live locally and see any of the old crowd? I live in Nottingham.
        All the best.
        Ann.

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      • Hi Ann,I’m Bob and my Dad was Bob, I remember going ferreting ,still got ferrets, I live in Elham not to far from Chartham, don’t see any of the old crowd, did you live on crescent?

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      • I lived at no.2 The Crescent but mostly at no.21. Don’t remember you living on The Crescent but I left in about 1973. I thought I had found Stephen Price a while back on Facebook but it wasn’t him. I’m in touch with some people that I went to school with but no-one from Chartham. X

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      • Hi Ann we lived at 19 the crescent until around 1970 then moved to shalmsford street, our neighbours were the passcoes, think there father Bill was a nursing officer at st As, did you go to Chartham secondary?

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      • We lived on the other side of the Pascoes. I remember their big viscous Alsatian, Andras.
        It’s odd that I can’t remember you on The Crescent.
        I didn’t go to Chartham Secondary but my brother, Mark, and my sister,
        Jeanette, did. I went to The Tech in Canterbury.

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    • I remember your dad and I did play briefly football there.Lived at 38 the downs.
      Best wishes Keith Levitt

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      • High Keith, I grew up on St A’s hospital farm, my father (Peter Sims) was the cowman and we lived at 30 Staff Cottages. I remember Derek Widows and his parents, Tom & Phyliss, they lived 2 doors away from us. When we lived there my brother and I were the only kids on the farm but we always found plenty to do, we moved to 5 The Downs in the early 70’s when the farm was closed down and my father was given a job as a porter in the hospital. My mother Kathleen Sims (Kit), also worked at the hospital, she did several different jobs at different times. She was a ward domestic, she worked in the laundry, the staff canteen, and her last job before retiring was in the main kitchens, weighing up ingredients for the cooks.
        I also remember Bob Mills very well, I worked at St A’s initially as a ward domestic then transferred onto the nursing side in 1981, I stayed with the NHS throughout my working life taking early retirement 2yrs ago. I loved working at St A’s, it was a community in itself, and as far as I was concerned the patients were cared for extremely well, not like today where support is at best sketchy.

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      • Hi
        My first job was as a domestic when I left school aged 15 in 1972. I worked at Godfrey House to start with before working on the wards when I was 16. My dad was Eric Holmes so your dad would have known him. I remember the farm, we lived at 21 The Crescent and our dog used to escape and visit the farm, coming home very smelly 🤣

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      • Hi, I worked as a domestic part time in the evenings and Saturday mornings before I left school and went full time after I left school, I did this for 2yrs before joining the nursing side. I remember your father Eric Holmes and I remember you living at 21 The Cresent, I actually recall coming to your house. I’m guessing you are Anne, but I also remember Mark and Jeannie.

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      • Hi nick, I remember you, and your brother Tim, you went to school with my sister Helen, you also lived opposite me in pomfret Road, Chartham you had a lodger, Mike Morris, who I later married, (bad mistake) but I did have a daughter by him,
        I remember having hours of fun around the hospital, the social club had some good nights too

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  25. Recognise several names here. I was a student nurse there from 1987 – 1990. Few months as staff nurse on Lavender ward before moving away. Still nursing, in Devon.
    Found memories of placements on Hazel, Aspen and Lavender wards – wasn’t fussed by ITU or art therapy. Good times in Godfrey House and social club

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    • I may be wrong, but I think that’s unlikely.
      While they were KC (Kent County), they were asylums; they became MH (mental hospitals) with the NHS, out of county control.
      Also KCMH would have been confusing, as there two mental hospitals: one at Barming Heath (Kent County Asylum Number 1, later Oakwood Hospital) and the one at Chartham, Kent County Asylum Number 2 (later St Augustine’s).
      It is possible that the administration called itself “Kent County Mental Hospitals”, possibly between 1948 and 1959, when the Mental Health Act did away with the term ‘asylums’ forever.
      … unless someone knows better?

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  26. Hello again Terry thank you for your reply….And yes,I had close cropped hair when i was there and did you live in Basildon or was it Canvey Island when you were there…?

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    • There were three Colin’s there, a more common name at the time…..One of them I can recall used to walk around always with a big grin on his face reciting many times…Tonbridge Wells cheese….A little unusual I thought….

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      • Colin, I’m impressed by your memory! I was indeed from Basildon. A few years after I left Redwood I saw Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials on TOTP and thought it was you! I just wish I had photo’s of my time at Redwood. It would be interesting to see if my memories tally with what the boys actually looked like at the time. I remember Michael Clarke as a block with a head on it! I used to have one photo taken on a camping holiday in Mevagissey, Cornwall with some of the boys but I have no idea what happened to it. That holiday was a low point for me. I was ostracized for my association with Nick Waddell and Shaun Kempster who had left but apparently bullied the other boys before I arrived. I wasn’t even a bully. The strange utterance of “Tonbridge cheese” sounds like it may have come from Colin Culver. I remember he spoke with a lisp and always seemed to be drawing on a cigarette. I often wonder how many of the boys are still with us. I was only at Redwood for six months but it has had a huge impact on my life. I expect few people outside of it could understand that.

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  27. My Aunt Mary K Ladd was there many years. I think she had her own place for a short time within the hospital grounds.
    I might have photos but as they are not annotated in any way, I have no idea if they were this hospital.
    Thank you for setting up this site x

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  28. I wonder if anyone remembers me. I was at Redwood/Beech House when I was 14 in 1968. I remember nurses called Val Turner and Robin Hood and a tall guy called Bob. Often wonder how everyone is doing now. We had a green Commer mini bus for outings. I then went on to Chartham Secondary school and later returned to school in Orpington, Jent.
    Had quite an impact on my life. John

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    • Hi John. I went to Chartham Secondary school from 1965 to 1969. Vanessa Pearson in those days. I had a massive crush on S Nicholls. My friends were Mary Mayne, who has sadly passed away, Caroline Wilson and Phyllis Moon. I loved school and have lovely memories. Hoping life has been kind to you. X

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      • Hi Vanessa, I was only there for a few months before returning to my old school in Orpington. I remember Phylis Moon and Carol Ashdown. Life has been good to me thank you, as I hope it has to you. I was very happy with the short time I spend there. I played Harold Wilson in a school play.
        Best wishes, John

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      • I must have left Beech House and Redwood just before you as I can’t remember girls being there. Val Turner was brilliant. He drove a red MG A sports car and was quite a devil with the ladies! Bob Mills was the big staff nurse (?), a lovely guy, along with Paddy Nolan, Nurse Hopper, Tim Pierce (The potter) and two Chinese guys Billy Ko and Steve Chang. We used to go to a beach hut inTankerton in the green Commer buses and once went camping in the new forest. I went to school at the Frank Hooker in Canterbury along with Jimmy MacGregor. I wonder where all my fellow guys are now. I was very happy there and the staff were amazing.

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  29. Researching 2 ancestors who died in Kent County Asylum.
    1882 child
    1910 adult
    Unable to trace burials anywhere else, so possibly buried at the Asylum.
    I know the Burial Ground was built on as part of redevelopment for new estate.

    Does anyone have knowledge of what became of the graves, were they relocated ?

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