In 1741 Edward and Mary Parson moved to Little Parndon and rebuilt the local manor, Upper House. This house was located where Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) now stands. The family had paid servants in the house alongside enslaved persons. Notably Hester Woodley was the only enslaved person in the family buried in a marked grave. Hester House in Little Pardon is named after her, as is the Woodleys.
Towards the rear of PAH still stands Parndon Hall, a historic Grade II listed red brick mansion which was built in 1867. The mansion was designed by Joseph Clarke who also worked on the nearby parish church St Mary’s. The landowner of the Hall was Loftus Wigram Arkwright, who’s family name was later used as the title of a nearby neighborhood. The mansion had lavish features including a stone porch, large oak staircase and beautiful paintings which were painted by Elizabeth Arkwright.
Princess Alexandra Hospital
The area of Little Parndon has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. More recently the area is most well known as the site of Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) which serves Harlow and the surrounding areas since the 1950s. Newspaper records at Harlow Museum & Walled Gardens show the notable events that happened at the hospital such as the opening by Princess Alexandra (the hospitals namesake) and the first births on the maternity ward. Seventy years on the hospital continues to offer critical services to the local community.
New Town Development
The neighbourhood of Little Pardon was constructed as part of the New Town between 1955-1957. One of its renowned features was a high-rise tower block in Spring Hills which was designed by architect William Crabtree. The block dominated the skyline and could be seen when travelling into Harlow by road or rail, it was the first indication of Harlow which could be seen.
What to see at Harlow Museum?
Harlow Museum & Walled Gardens features the Parish Gallery, which provides details on the early history of Little Parndon, Hester Woodley, Parndon Hall and other local parishes. Details on the development of the neighbourhood centres and Princess Alexandra Hospital can also be viewed throughout the New Town Gallery and newspaper archive.Learn more about Harlow Museum here