Appeal to keep Fairfield asylum ‘alive’

AN APPEAL to help establish a museum dedicated to the history of the 19th century Three Counties Asylum in Fairfield has been issued by an amateur historian with a keen interest in the site.

The asylum, later Fairfield Hospital, was built in 1860 and over the years has been linked to a number of murders, strange deaths and ghost sightings. For instance, in 1958 the body of a 25-year-old nurse was found in a ditch near the hospital. She had been cycling home after visiting relatives in Letchworth GC when she was attacked. A patient at the hospital was found guilty of her murder.

About four years ago, Richard Wright, of Ashdown in Letchworth GC, set up a website - - dedicated to the history of the asylum.

He is now appealing for people to come forward with memorabilia in the hope that enough items can be amassed to establish a museum.

“Growing up in Letchworth I was always aware that the hospital was there,” he said.

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“I used to cut through the grounds to go fishing and was always aware of the rumours. You build up a big picture when you are kids of lunacy and a great big asylum.

“As an adult, I went to look at the site. It’s a fantastic, marvellous place and the architecture is just fantastic.”

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This visit sparked Mr Wright’s interest in the history of the asylum and, as well as setting up a website dedicated to the place, he organised an event in June 2010 to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the asylum.

“Now I need your help,” said the 51-year-old in a direct appeal to Comet readers.

“One day I would love Fairfield to have its own dedicated musuem, and for this I need a lot of memorabilia. If you have anything you could donate to us or sell to us for a good price, please get in touch.

“I know many of you have items so, even if you do not wish to part with them, please send us good quality photos.”

Mr Wright, who is a metal finisher by trade, has already collected a large amount of memorabilia associated with the asylum, including surgical instruments, nurses’ emergency whistles, and the original Radio Fairfield main jingle tape.

He concluded: “Children being brought up in Fairfield now have no idea what it was - it’s just a big building to them.

“It will just pass into history, but I want to try and keep it alive.”

If you can help Mr Wright with memorabilia or stories, call him on 01462 630192 or email him at

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