Formerly known as RAF Headley Court, The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court, (DMRC Headley Court) is an 85-acre United Kingdom Ministry of Defence facility in Headley, near Epsom, Surrey, England.
It was used as a rehabilitation centre for injured members of the British Armed Forces between 1985 and 2018.
Headley Court was an Elizabethan farm house bought by the Cunliffe family, from Tyrrell's Wood, Leatherhead. They later sold this farm house and built in 1899 the imposing mansion at the centre of Headley Court to the north, namely under Lord Cunliffe, who was Chairman of the Bank of England. Its architect was Edward Warren.
During World War II, it was used as the Headquarters for the VII Corps and then for the Canadian Corps. Since the war, it has been used as a Royal Air Force and Joint Services medical rehabilitation centre. During the war, nearby Headley Heath was used as a training ground for engineers building airstrips and trench systems then demolishing them again.
Purchased after that war with money from the Royal Air Force Pilots and Crews Fund, a public collection as a tribute to the deeds, including the Battle of Britain efforts of the RAF, Headley Court lost its social club focus to expand its medical and rehabilitation credentials and become the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC), which aims to return all those service personnel injured or seriously ill to full fitness.
Rehabilitation staff averaged around 200 per year from all three services' medical and nursing branches, the longest established being Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service. These comprised of specialist medical officers, nurses, remedial instructors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, a cognitive therapist, social workers, engineers, and administration support staff. Not only did the centre deal with patients with new physical disabilities but it also dealt with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The rehabilitation areas of the unit consisted of hydrotherapy pools, gymnasiums, and workshops for prosthetics. The high, wooded countryside setting and grounds of the unit welcomed both staff and those recovering.
During the 2002 UK Firefighter strike, two Green Goddess fire engines were based at RAF Headley Court. If called upon, the crews would have had to wait for Surrey Police to escort them to a fire.
In November 2005, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the centre. They met Major David Bradley of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment who had been given a five per cent chance of survival, after coming under fire from a Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher (RPG) in Basra, southern Iraq in 2004. Other notable patients in 2006/2007 include Sgt Mark Sutcliffe, The Royal Anglian Regiment, Sgt Stuart Pearson, 3 PARA and many others.
Headley Court was in need of further facilities, particularly a full size swimming pool, as patients had to share a leisure centre in Leatherhead. The charity Help for Heroes was set up in late 2007, with a first objective of raising money to build these facilities. A new gym, swimming pool and lower limbs treatment area opened within two years.
The 28 bed Peter Long Ward had single showers and nursing staff on call 24 hours a day, internet access and a kitchen area with washing and drying facilities for clothing. A further large ward opened in September 2010 of 30 beds, rest areas and equipment.
In July 2014, the Minister of Defence, Philip Hammond, announced that the services provided by Headley Court would be transferred to a new centre to be developed at Stanford Hall. The opening of the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre by the Duke of Cambridge took place in June 2018. The centre at Headley Court ceased operations in September 2018. The future of the buildings at Headley Court is in the hands of the Headley Court Trust.
The site is currently being sold with all the external housing by Knight Frank
Well I can’t really take the credit for this one as it was @Rapid_Ascent’s find. You see back when she worked as a nurse for the army she often sent soldiers in the direction of Headley for their rehabilitation. When she heard through the grapevine it was being closed we headed down for a nose.
This was back in July 2018 and it was still is use although being wound down and guarded by Ghurkha’s.
Yeah best we didn’t try it then lol
We kept an eye on the online news and it eventually closed and all services were moved in October 2018. We had a few other things on at the time and kept promising to head back to Headley and this weekend finally made it down there.
Headley is located in the middle of nowhere and finding somewhere to park was a mission.
Once we had dumped the car in a “sensible” location we headed off to find a convenient way into the grounds.
As you can imagine with 85 acres to play with we soon found somewhere.
Now Headley isn’t my normal kettle of fish and a little too English heritage for me but it was enjoyable all the same.
Let’s start with the gardens eh
The place is still near on perfect, the gardens are awesome and very well kept. As you would expect really. We did on one occasion almost bump into a guy who appeared to be a gardener who was aimlessly wandering around checking on the fish and various plants.
After wandering through the lower gardens the first building we encountered was the rather modern and out of place swimming pool and Battle of Britain Gym, along with the lower limb rehabilitation centre.
It’s a bit nice in there, and well as the water was heated it would have been rude not to lol
After using the facilities to dry off we has a butchers around the rest of the pool building.
Then we headed to the next building on our way towards the main house.
This appeared to be another of the rehabilitation buildings housing the hydro therapy and mental health departments
The walls adorned with a fair few inspirational quotes, although these were a little better than the coke snorting single mum Facebook posting type ones.
We then headed to the main house,
The main house was used as the officer’s mess and living quarters but it is sadly stripped of everything. Well apart from some awesome wood panelling, some fantastic ceilings and the world’s largest pool table.
It was while we were in the house we heard voices outside and had to hide from the MOD Security guard who was showing a couple of guys the main house.
We hid upstairs for a while and decided to make our way out once we saw the guard head back to the guard house.
On the way back out of the side we checked out the stripped out wards on the older rehabilitation block, along with it’s stripped out gymnasium.
After leaving this block we headed to the very bottom of the site and had look at the prosthetic workshops which were pretty much stripped, as can be expected everything went to the new site at Stanford Hall.
Once back outside the main site we had a quick look at the other remaining buildings.
The junior accommodation, this area was pretty secure and in full view of the security hut.
So we didn’t try too hard here
Finally on our way back to the car we had a quick look at the Military accommodation that now lies empty
All in all not a bad explore and something a little different for us