Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Fairfield


 Three Counties Asylum Z1130-2-40a

Three Counties Asylum c.1906 [Z1130/2/40a]

Fairfield is a new village and civil parish in Central Bedfordshire. It was developed on the site of a former psychiatric hospital and utilises some of the original hospital buildings and amenities. Formerly in the civil parish of Stotfold, Fairfield became a new civil parish in its own right on the 1 April 2013. 

Excavations carried out in 2002 found evidence of an Iron Age hill village. 

The Three Counties Asylum was built in the late 1850s to provide an asylum for 600 patients from the counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Huntingdonshire. It opened in 1860 with 308 patients being transferred by railway from Bedford Asylum to the new site in April that year. The hospital formally opened on the 18th June 1860. Bedfordshire Archives holds extensive records about the hospital site, administration, patients and employees under the reference LF. Please note that there are restrictions on access to some records under Data Protection legislation. 

The hospital was located on agricultural land to the south of the village of Stotfold. To the west of the site was the parish boundary with Arlesey and much of the vehicle traffic – including a tramway and a station on the main railway line – accessed the site from Arlesey. The postal address for Stotfold was for many years Stotfold, Arlesey, Beds. These two factors mean that there has often been a misunderstanding about which parish the hospital was in. 

The hospital was a large employer in the area. Although many of the nursing and administrative staff came from further afield the farm and domestic staff were drawn from Arlesey and Stotfold. 

In 1927 the name was changed to The Three Counties Hospital, which in turn changed its name to Fairfield Hospital in the 1960s. During the Second World War a hutted emergency hospital was built on the site to allow for the evacuation of hospitals from London, notably the Royal Free Hospital. After the war the huts housed the London Chest Hospital from 1947 to the 1950s. The hospital continued until 1998 when it was closed and the site sold for redevelopment. The book ‘A Place in the Country: Tree Counties Asylum 1860-1998’ tells the story of the hospital and includes accounts by people who lived and worked there in its last 40 years. 

Fairfield site sale catalogue

Sale Catalogue for Fairfield Hospital Site 

Redevelopment of the hospital site was initially for 900 houses and 100 apartments. The village continues to grow. 

Fairfield Park lower school was opened at Dickens Boulevard in September 2007. A pre-school facility was added in 2009 and the school was extended in 2013. The school opened a second site at Ruskin Drive in 2018.