Sir Astley Paston Cooper who was a surgeon on the staff of Guy's Hospital was knighted for having had at some time performed a minor operation on George the Fourth.
His family were influential in the early development of the High Street business and when Hemel Hempstead received the status of a Borough he became the first Mayor.
He owned Gadebridge House and Gadebridge Park as well as a very large estate with many farms.
In 1826, seeing the need for medical care for the poor he founded an infirmary in some old houses in Piccotts End.
It was planned to bring the railway line through from the north via Dagnall but he refused to give permission for the railway to come through his park, even though the railway engineer Robert Stevenson himself approached him. Although this preserved the Gade valley and Gadebridge Park it left Hemel Hempstead a long way from the new trade route with London.
The Grovehill secondary school in St Agnells Lane is named after him.
In the book, Cranford, Dr Morgan invites a young man, Dr Harrison giving as his reference that he had trained under the great Sir Astley Paston Cooper.