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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H61/DA
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1875 - 1988
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.25 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Darenth Adult Asylum


Administrative/Biographical history:

Darenth Asylum for 'imbeciles and school for imbecile children', was erected in 1878 by the managers of the Metropolitan Asylum district (Metropolitan Asylums Board), and constituted one of the largest establishments of its kind. The buildings, at a cost of ten thousand pounds, and were designed by the architects Messrs C and A Harston, of London in the Gothic style. A new wing was added in 1888 at a cost of fifty thousand pounds, to hold 400 'imbecile' children, and a smallpox convalescent hospital was built in Darenth wood, at a cost of sixty-three thousand pounds, for a further 600 patients. The school was used to house nearly 1,000 'imbecile' children and the asylum accommodated 1,500 adults. The grounds and farm comprise about 170 acres, including a small part of Darenth wood. The asylum had its own gas works and the water supply was derived from a well 250 foot deep, the water was then pumped to the two tower tanks at the rate of about 100,000 gallons per day; sewage was disposed of by irrigation on the farm land. One acre of the ground was set apart and consecrated as a cemetery.
The Asylum was one of the first to attempt to train and develop mentally disabled children, by offering schooling and industrial training. So that this training should not have to be stopped at age 16, and trained children return to general asylums where their skills would not be used, the Darenth Adult Asylum was constructed on land adjacent to the school and opened in 1880.
Name changes:
Darenth Asylum and Schools (1878 - 1913)
Darenth Industrial Colony (1913 - 1920)
Darenth Training Colony (1920 - 1937).
In 1937 the name changed to Darenth Park Hospital.
With the creation of National Health Service (NHS) the hospital came under control of South East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board (1948-74) and was managed by Dartford and Darenth Hospital Management Committee (1948-74). From 1974 it came under Dartford and Gravesham District Health Authority, part of South East Thames Regional Health Authority. The hospital closed in 1988. The successor authority as of 2010 was Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.
See also website managed by Francine Payne: (correct as of August 2010).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Darenth Adult Asylum, comprising Medical Superintendent's instructions, visitor's book, correspondence, weekly wage books, monthly salaries books, admission, discharge, transfer and death registers, Chaplain's interment registers, plans of the hospital buildings, photographs of officers and staff, documentation of entertainments laid on by patients and staff and an oral history of the visit of a former patient to the hospital.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged according to a classification scheme for hospital records: General Hospital Administration (A), Patients' Administration (B), Finance Office (D), Endowments (E), Related Documentation (Y) and Prints and Photographs (PH).

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although under section 5(4) of the 1958 Public Records Act administrative records are closed for 30 years and patient records for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information see: Payne, Francine: A history of the Darenth hospitals (2000) [LMA Library reference: 26.15/(DAR)].

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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