The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh

The North Wales Hospital’s records are held by Denbighshire Archives Service. The collection is one of the most comprehensive examples of asylum records in the country.  The hospital was known by various names during its existence- The North Wales Lunatic Asylum, The North Wales Counties Lunatic Asylum, The North Wales Counties Mental Hospital and The North Wales Mental Hospital.

The collection includes administrative records such as minutes and annual reports plus a fantastic collection patient records, from 1848 when the hospital opened and until the establishment of the NHS in 1948, and which have been used to research the care and treatment of patients and attitudes to mental illness.

Included in the patient records are a large number of reception orders which are bundled in chronological sequence.  Reception orders provide evidence that the patient was ‘certified insane’ and  include details of the patient’s behaviour prior to admission.  Certification required the signature of two magistrates and the medical opinion of an approved doctor.

Patient number 5070: Reception order for Samuel Parry dated 7th March 1896

[Please click on images to enlarge]

Below are the observations of the medical practitioner describing Samuel Parry’s behaviour –

“He is much depressed and cries almost continually. He was crying when I visited him today and also yesterday. When he was asked what he was crying for he gave a very silly and incoherent answer, something about buying a penny paper and he had not paid for it. All his conversation is incoherent.”

Observations of the medical practitioner

Observations of the medical practitioner

From the reception order, we can see that Samuel Parry lived in Broughton and entered the hospital as a pauper patient funded by Wrexham Poor Law Union.  He was just 19 years old and had worked as a collier’s labourer.  He entered the North Wales Hospital on 7th March 1896 and remained there until discharged (recovered) on 22nd June the same year.

Statement of particulars showing Samuel Parry's basic information

The statement of particulars showing Samuel Parry’s basic information

Reception orders can be used along with other patient records such as admission registers and case notes to discover more about the person’s symptoms and treatment.

Unfortunately, the catalogue for this collection is not available online, and can only be consulted in our office. These records are free to view at our office, however records which were created during the last 100 years are closed due to NHS patient confidentiality regulations.  We are currently working with volunteers to create a comprehensive index of reception orders to make searching the 16,000 + records much easier for researchers.

Please contact us for further information at

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30 Responses to “The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh”

  1. lalita Carlton-Jones Says:

    My late Aunt whom I never knew was admitted to the North Wales hospital some time in the late 1920’s – her name was Phoebe Jones of Colwyn Bay. Would I be able to find out from the records what was wrong with her? Apparently she never spoke after puberty and died in her 80’s I believe, finally ending up in a council run home in Mold. Lalita Carlton-Jones

    • Denbighshire Archives Says:

      Dear Lalita Carlton-Jones. Thank you for your comment. As she was not admitted into the hospital until the 1920s, these records are closed due to NHS regulations, however you can request permission to see them. I will check to see if I can find her admission and patient records and email you instructions on how to request permission. Best wishes, Sarah, Archivist.

      • Lalita Carlton-Jones Says:

        I’d forgotten I’d asked about Phoebe Jones. As you did not further it can I take it that I am not allowed access?

        kind regards,

      • Denbighshire Archives Says:

        Dear Lalita Carlton- Jones,

        We have a string of emails between us dated April 2013 which I will forward to your email address shortly. best wishes, Sarah, Archives

  2. Anthony J Robins Says:

    I would like to find the admission date and records of a cousin (Leonard Robins) whom I never met, who was a patient in the 1950s and 1960s. Thank you. Anthony Robins

  3. Paulene Gunn Says:

    I am under the impression that my grandfather Charles Henry Owen of Whittington Shropshire was a patient probably mid to late 1950’s and would like to find out any information if possible.
    Many Thanks

  4. Sharon Alexander Says:


    I would be most grateful if you could send me instructions on how to view my grandfather’s records whilst he was a patient at the hospital during the 1950’s.

    Many thanks


  5. Denbighshire Archives Says:

    Dear Sharon, thank you for your enquiry. I will respond directly to your email. best wishes, Sarah, Archivist

  6. Lyndsay Jones Says:

    Hi, I am absolutely fascinated by this wonderful place and would be so very grateful if you could let me know where I can find out more information on Denbigh asylum? I passed there a few months back and have fallen totally in love with the place. Thanks very much!

  7. Carl James Davies Says:

    Hi I am doing some research on my family and it appears that one of my aunts was a patent here in 1978 I am trying to find some record of her i have her name dob and her date of discharge from the hospital. is there any way of finding out any more information about her time here any patient records ward etc?

    many thanks

  8. Gemma Williams Says:

    Hi there

    My great great great grandad was living in Denbigh asylum in 1871 he was 14 and classed as a lunatic. How can I get more information about him? I know he grew up in a normal family environment and had his own family eventually

  9. Stephen Lansdown Says:

    Like the other correspondents I am eager to check whether family stories are true about a relative being sent to the Denbigh Hospital. How can I go about this?

  10. lyndsay Says:

    Hi, can you please tell me where did anyone who passed away in the hospital get buried etc, is or was there a cemetery area? Thanks Lyndsay

  11. laura Says:


    How would I go about obtaining my grandfathers records? I believe he was at Denby sometime between 1940-1950?

    Thanks, Laura

  12. mandy dark Says:

    My late father Thomas Albert dark had a short stay in denbigh hospital in the late seventys would like to know why was he admitted there thank you mandy dark

  13. david owen Says:

    Been trying to Find records of my late grand mother valerie jones who spent time at denbigh mental hospital she was from angelsey could it be possible to find out any details that may be on record please , thanking you

    • Denbighshire Archives Says:

      Dear David, thanks for your comment. Please could you send details of your enquiry to our email address ( including the years you think your mother was a patient at the hospital, thanks!

  14. julie m Tolcher Says:

    Hi trying to find a great uncles records; Richard Robert Wild, Wilde, Wyld, born 24/05/1900 in Liverpool. Date addmitted to Denbigh asylum c1918 onwards, Addmitted by his stepfather William Askham. Richard was deaf and had speech impairment due to an industrial accident between 1914-1917? Can you help. thanks in advance,

  15. Janet Bevan Says:

    Hi, I am trying to find out if a person that has popped up during my family tree research is the same person as someone who is listed at the hospital in the 1939 register. Would the records of the patients have included family details? If so this would help to verify that the person is in fact my relative or not. Thanks for your help in advance.

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