Our heritage

We are proud of our rich heritage in the provision of mental health care. Our history as a charity begins in 1838 with the opening of a hospital at Northampton offering 'humane' care to the mentally ill.


St Andrew's was one of four Registered Psychiatric Hospitals that did not join the National Health Service in 1948, maintaining our charitable status. Only St Andrew’s and the Retreat in York now remain in the charity sector.



The Main Building in Northampton was purpose designed by Mr George Wallet of the Bethlem Hospital, and funded in large part from the reserves of the by then disbanded Northamptonshire Yeomanry, through the good offices of Sir William Wake Bt.

The original architecture is still appreciated by patients, who enjoy the interiors of our Main Building and the parkland which surrounds it. The 106 acre estate at Northampton includes the Chapel of 1863, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, famous for The Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station and the Albert Memorial.

Our newer buildings focus on the need for a healing environment which supports recovery, including outdoor spaces and provision of therapy spaces, sports halls and gyms.


Prominent people

St Andrew’s best-known past residents was Northamptonshire-born John Clare, England’s greatest rural poet. He died in 1864 after more than 22 years of care, having written many poems at St Andrew's.

Joseph Hassid, a pre-war Polish violinist compared with Heifetz and Menuhin, stayed briefly. Amongst other artistic residents have been Sir Malcolm Arnold, perhaps the greatest English composer of the twentieth century, who agreed to an adolescent facility being named after him.

Our Board of Governors have all supported the charity, often through fundraising, and through giving their time generously, enabling the heritage of the benefactor families to continue.


Recent developments

We continue to develop our sites with fit-for-purpose buildings dedicated to patient care. We have brought many of our men’s services under one roof in William Wake House in Northampton, named after one of our benefactors. We will be replacing our two separate buildings for adolescent care with a new build, planned to open in 2016. We continue to upgrade our older estate to ensure that it meets the standards for good patient care, and our investment in our sites in Birmingham, Essex and Nottinghamshire have provided care closer to home for patients from those areas.