‘I’ve been very interested in the gardening side of things and the therapy side of things…’

Oil painting of the greenhouses, Administration Block, and garden at St Audry’s, painted by a patient at the Hospital – Bernard Haken – during the 1950s.

Fred has had links with agriculture and the countryside for most of his life and has researched aspects of St Audry’s farm and gardens.

‘I’ve been very interested in the fact that they used gardening as therapy and also to make themselves more self sufficient. One thing I have noticed is things have gone full circle so the idea of using gardening as therapy and using care farms etc has come round to 2012 and is a common idea again now.

What interested me in the project was to learn a little more about the history of St Audry’s and also learning more about some of  what went on in those times and generally how people were treated and  various ways that they were treated.   I’m a little bit surprised by some of the photographs of how the wards and things were laid out, but I do wonder if some of those were staged.

The graveyard I find is a bit of a shocking thing in some ways.  Especially as there was lots of rows of metal crosses that represent somebody’s life and nobody knows whose life – just numbered – a life is represented by a number.

It’s been very interesting and very educational and quite enlightening to see what went on in the past.’

Despite the challenges of archival research, Fred has compiled some fascinating facts and statistics about the St Audry’s Hospital farm and grounds.

1898-1899 A total of 44 Acres, 3 Rods, and 1 Pole of land were purchased for Asylum purposes

1900 Auction for the “Rental of the Ufford Town Lands”, held on Wednesday 25.4.1900, at 6 in the evening punctually

1933 The Asylum purchased land adjoining St Audry’s, from “Brooke Trustee’s” Also “Ufford Glebe Land” and land from “Mills Trustees” The acreage is not recorded, but the total spent was £1124 15S 10D (£1124.80p)

1957 83.16 acres of Grove Farm, Ufford, owned by St Audry’s, were rented out to Mr L.Rolfe of Washbrook, for £265 for 4 years

The Agricultural Census of 1917 shows St Audry’s Farm having:

1 Light Horse

9 Heavy Horses

50 Cows

123 Pigs

1 Corn binder

1 Cake Crusher

1 Chaff Cutter

1 Corn/Seed Drill

5 Toothed Harrows

1 Set of Chain Harrows

1 Horse Hoe

1 Horse Rake

4 Horse Ploughs

1 Ridger Plough

1 Potato Digger

3 Turnip Cutters

2 Reapers

4 Rollers


Crops grown in 1921 were:

Wheat, Barley, Oats, Picked Beans, Harvested Beans,

Picked Beans, Harvested Peas, Picked Peas, Potatoes, Turnips, Swedes,

Mangold’s, Savoy Cabbages, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Tares, Lucerne, Carrots, Parsnips, Onions, Maize, Clover and Permanent Grass.


Produce grown on the Farm and in the Gardens during 1957-1966 and supplied to Hospital included:

Potatoes, Carrots, Cabbages, Turnips, Onions, Sprouting Broccoli, Parsley, Swedes, Headed Broccoli, Spring Onions, Rhubarb, Beetroot, Savoy Cabbage’s, Broad Bean’s, Pea’s, Runner Bean’s, Cauliflower’s, Cucumber’s, Black Currant’s, Red Currant’s, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Horse Radish, Grapes, Apples, Flowers and other Plants.

The Farm also supplied the Hospital with: Milk, Cream, Eggs, Poultry, Pork and Straw


Some of the patients worked on the Farm and in the Gardens, as part of their therapy, but little is recorded about this.

The value of this type of work, as having a benefit to people’s recovery from Mental Health Issues, has recently been recognised again, with the setting up of “Care Farms” These give people the chance to spend time doing therapeutic work with animals and growing produce etc, while enjoying the outdoor life and doing gentle exercise in a supported environment.


Interesting facts about the staff accomodation in Upper Melton Terrace:

In 1902, the properties in Upper Melton Terrace were let to St Audry’s staff for 2/6 (12.5p) a week. This was raised to 3/6 (17.5p) in 1909.

There were strict rules in the rental agreement.

Houses must be open to inspection at all times.

Houses must be kept scrupulously clean.

Grounds must be kept neat and tidy.

Only pets allowed are Cats.

Earth Closets (Toilets), to be regularly emptied – Contents to be dug in or covered with dirt.

Water consumption was gauged. Waste or excessive consumption, would lead to limited, timed supply to all residents.

No washing of others belongings.

No Lodgers.

Children to be kept in order and not allowed to breakdown and destroy Fences, Trees, Shrubs or Creepers etc.

No erection of Buildings, Sheds, or Poles without permission.

Fire Brigade Cover

We would welcome more information and any memories of St Audry’s Farm and Gardens, so please get in touch!