An artefact from the former Leavesden Hospital has been discovered by someone living in the area.

Peter Warner, who lives in Leavesden Court, was walking through the small wooded area that lies between the old Leavesden Hospital church and College Road when he discovered a small, white marble grave marker.

The relic has a small angel on the top and the words "Fredrick Hogben died May 24th 1941 aged 29 years" engraved on two sides.

Mr Warner said: “This isn’t the kind of thing one would expect to find in an area like this, which begs the question: is there really a grave round here?”

Mr Warner then contacted Martin Brooks, chairman and trustee of the Leavesden Hospital History Association.

Mr Brooks said: “This is one of the best parts of being involved with this area’s history, when someone finds a long-lost artefact or piece of memorabilia and we gather more information about the people and places that were within the hospital grounds.

“I cannot find anything in my research that would indicate the area in front of Mr Warner’s flat – the hospital's Recreation Hall 1891-1995 – was used as a cemetery, but anything is possible.

“Although I suspect that it was moved from the East Lane cemetery and deposited where Peter found it.”

The new find will be catalogued and added to the collection of memorabilia, pictures and artefacts held by the Leavesden Hospital History Association.

A 1.5m tall model of a similar hospital built by patients in the early 1940s or 50s was recently donated to the collection.

Mr Brooks added: “I remember hearing many stories about this scale model being somewhere in the village. Dr Peter Simmons had the model after acquiring it when the old hospital closed in 1995.

“Christine Jones, practice manager at Vine House Surgery, held on to it for so long and we have now added it to our collection.”

Mr Brooks and other history groups in the area are currently working closely with Three Rivers District Council to establish a heritage and wildlife centre in Leavesden Country Park which will house a permanent display of these and other historic items from the area.