Hearing Healthcare Practice has operated from a permanent base in Harpenden, Hertfordshire–we first opened in 1981 in a humble two-room property in the Southdown area.
Unlike many contemporary competitors who spread themselves too thinly, too quickly, expanding and eventually forced to cease trading, ours has been a carefully planned organic growth, moving premises only four times and expanding with the needs of our clients.
We’ve weathered many storms, whilst remaining true to our ideology and professional ethos. We’ve never rented space in someone else’s property… we’ve never operated part-time hours, coming and going and only appearing on certain days of the week… and we’ve been open every weekday, 9-5.30, come what may, a dependable source of audiological guidance and hearing healthcare advice.
And so, as we embark on our 42nd year, we thought it would be fun to highlight our journey so far.
Harpenden Home No.1
Southdown Road 1981-1993. Pic courtesy Google Maps
Where it all began.
Harpenden Home No 2
Southdown Road 1994-2002. Pic courtesy Google Maps
We operated from this lovely property for nine years. The cottage was next door to our previous premises and allowed us to grow considerably. We were able to open two consulting rooms, a meeting room, two admin offices, a workroom and a stunning reception area which featured wooden beams reclaimed from an Elizabethan ship and a beautiful inglenook fireplace. Here, mixing traditional features with cutting-edge technology, we became established as Hertfordshire’s leading hearing experts. Our cottage was a happy place where we were able to develop our hearing treatments and special approach.
It was also here that launched our hearing conservation program for musicians, welcomed visitors from around the world and became involved in research, whilst growing our clinical audiology services.
Harpenden Home No 3
Wellington House, Leyton Green. 2002-2013. Picture courtesy Google Maps
Harpenden Home No 3
In 2002, we moved into Wellington House on Leyton Green in the centre of Harpenden. A Grade II listed building, it provided a brilliant base to further develop our unique brand of hearing healthcare. We grew into the extra space and built a clinic which was unrivaled in the UK. Wellington House provided the foundation for our new direction and helped to elevate our reputation as a premier centre for hearing care. We were fortunate to be custodians of this remarkable building which boasted grand spacious rooms where our clients and patients could feel relaxed and confident to share their hearing challenges and to find the best possible solutions. Wellington House provided the launch pad for the first of the many numerous accolades we’ve received including European and UK Audiologists of the Year Awards.
Harpenden Home No 4
They say all good things come to an end. And so it was for our custodianship of Wellington House when our lease was abruptly canceled. In January 2013, we were served notice and given six months to relocate. So the search for a suitable new home began at speed!
The challenge: to find a new home that would provide long-term security whilst allowing us to further develop our unique brand of clinical hearing healthcare. We had long harboured a desire to build a practice that was like nothing else, a place where we could invest our creativity and design skill and which could generate a real feel-good factor; premises which would make our patients feel relaxed, aiding wellness and well-being. We saw this as an opportunity to create a completely new clinical environment, to rebrand without losing the identity we had built over the previous 31 years. Expert audiological guidance was already a given, that’s what we’re known for but we wanted to create something that was entirely new.
Nothing suitable was readily available but we kept returning to an empty site in a new development at The Foresters, a quiet cul-de-sac off Harpenden High Street. On first viewing, we were presented with a bare shell: concrete floor and ceiling, no walls, no lighting, no heating. Just an empty dull space.
It wasn’t an obvious or easy choice. But the longer we searched the less we saw and we kept being drawn back to The Foresters.
And so in April 2013, we agreed terms and within twelve weeks, we designed, sourced materials, hired contractors and worked night and day to turn our dream into a reality. Our aim was to close our doors at Wellington House at 5.30 on Friday 12th July 2013 and open the doors at our new state-of-the-art practice on Monday 15th July at 9am. Everything went to plan and we opened as scheduled. The first visitor, our client, Dean, simply said, ‘Wow, I feel I should be checking in to stay, it feels like a spa boutique hotel.’
Over the years, we’ve been praised for the look and feel of our premises and how they exude peace and calm. People react to different elements, whether it’s the floor covering, the walls, the changing artwork, the lighting details, or the furniture. It’s been interesting to watch as people discover and enjoy our space. The practice environment has become a personality in its own right conveying, we hope, the message that if we put so much effort into how we present ourselves, it’s a given that the same degree of effort will be put into caring for our clients. Even though our 10th anniversary at No 26 is not far away, our client’s reactions remain as strong as ever!
No. 26 boasts three fully equipped, dedicated consulting suites, a bespoke soundproofed room, a work room, admin area, and an open, airy reception space.
Harpenden Home No. 4
26 Burgundy House, The Foresters. 2013 – present – future. Pic courtesy Hearing Healthcare Practice