|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
American Red Cross
Military Hospital No. 25
Aldford House, 26 Park Lane, W1K 7LG
|1914 - 1919
Convalescent (British Military). Later, American Military
In 1914 Mrs Frederick Guest offered her home, Aldford House, in fashionable Park Lane, for use by the British Red Cross Society as a Hospital for Officers.
The mansion, which occupied a whole block, had been bought by the Liberal M.P. Captain Freddie Guest and his American wife Amy in 1912 for £30,000. It was only three storeys high, with an large airy central hall and a wide shallow staircase.
The Hospital was affiliated to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital in Millbank. It had 11 beds, which were all occupied by December 1914.
To protect them from damage, the damask panels on the walls of the wards were covered by calico stretched over them. The ceiling of the operating theatre was also covered by calico.
By 1917 the Hospital had 20 beds.
Following the declaration of war against Germany by the United States of America in April 1917, the American naval authorities requested that premises in London be provided for use as a hospital for American sailors.
In July 1918 Mrs Guest decided to allow the American Red Cross to use Aldford House as a hospital for the American Navy.
As the premises had already been used as a hospital, only part of the fittings had to be furnished by the American Red Cross Society.
The Hospital had 50 beds. Officers were accommodated on the first floor, which had a roof garden where long chairs could be set out and the view could be enjoyed by convalescent patients. Enlisted men were housed on the ground floor; one of the wards opened up onto a verandah, where chairs could be placed, overlooking Park Lane. One ward was furnished with pink quilts and screens, while in the one opposite the quilt covers were white and the screens a rosy pink.
The house had a substantial garden, and even rabbits housed in a hutch. In bad weather, there was a winter garden in which patients could sit.
The Hospital was under the command of a surgeon from the medical corps of the United States Navy, which also supplied attendant staff. The American Red Cross nurses were all qualified nurses. The Matron wore a white uniform dress and a cap with a black band and a tiny red cross, while the other nurses wore grey dresses under their white aprons. Members of the local Voluntary Aid Detachment undertook domestic and kitchen duties, but no nursing care. Most of the American sailors admitted were medical or accident cases, with some surgical patients.
The Hospital closed in 1919.
Present status (June 2010)
Mrs Guest sold the house in 1929 and it was demolished and rebuilt in 1932 as a 9-storey block, with commercial premises on the ground floor and in the basement, and with 29 apartments on the upper floors.
The 1932 building has been found to be in a dangerous state and is currently undergoing urgent repair.
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom. London, H.M.S.O.
(Author unstated) 1918 Care of the wounded. British Journal of Nursing, 29th June, 454.
(Author unstated) 1918 American Red Cross Naval Hospital. British Journal of Nursing, 17th August, 111.
Dock LL, Pickett SE, Noyes CD, Clement FF, Fox EG, Van Meter AR 1922 History of American Red Cross Nursing. New York, Macmillan.
Fife GB 1920 The Passing Legions: How the American Red Cross met the American Army in Great Britain, the Gateway to France. New York, Macmillan.
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