|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Open Air School
(Surgical Home for Boys)
Park Road, Banstead, Surrey SM7 3DL
|1896 - 1961
The Banstead Convalescent and Surgical Home for Boys with Open Wounds opened in 1896 with 20 beds. It had been founded in 1889 and set up by public subscription as a voluntary institution.
The Home was intended for boys with a temporary physical disability, due to operation or illness, who were unable to attend normal schools.
It was located in a large house which had been built in 1894 for use as a residence or an institution. The property lay in its own grounds and had a coach yard and stable.
By 1899 the Home had 25 beds. Most of the patients had been sent from London hospitals. Many had tuberculosis and the fine, pure, dry air of Banstead proved beneficial to them.
By the late 1930s the Home had 30 beds, all in one large ward on the ground floor. At some stage during this period it was renamed the Banstead Residential Open Air School. The boys were of junior school age - from 5 to 11 years.
During WW2 the boys were evacuated to Reigate and attended South Park School.
The Home did not join the NHS in 1948 but came under the control of the Ministry of Education as a voluntary institution.
In 1948 the average weekly cost of each child was £3 5s 4d (£3.27), compared to £2 13s 8d (£2.68) in the previous year. The children remained on average for about 87 days.
By 1950 the average length of stay had increased to 105 days, by 1951 to 125 days, in 1952 to 242 days and in 1953 to 293 days.
In 1953 the average weekly cost of each child was £3 5s 9d (£3.29), compared to £2 14s 5d (£2.82) in 1952.
By 1956 the average length of stay was one year, although 20 of the 30 children went home for the school holidays (the remainder stayed at the School). Most of the patients suffered from physical illness - debility, bronchiectasis, asthma, enuresis - or were recovering from polio, and physiotherapy was provided for them when necessary. Some had been admitted for social reasons; they were children from broken homes. Parents and relatives were allowed to visit every other Sunday.
All the children had been referred by local education authorities from all parts of the country, but the weekly charge of 4 gns (£4.20) did not cover the actual cost per occupied bed of £5 4s 8d (£5.23).
In 1957 the Home was modernised at a cost of £885, although by this time a trend had developed for such homes for delicate children to close and be replaced by special schools for educationally subnormal children.
In 1958 the charge to the local educational authorities was increased to 5 gns (£5.25). The average occupancy of the Home was 25 boys.
In 1960 the children admitted suffered mainly from heart and chest conditions or malnutrition.
In 1961 the weekly average cost per occupied bed was £6 6s 7d (£6.33).
The Home closed at the end of 1961.
Present status (January 2009)
In 1962 the premises became the Edith Edwards House School, a residental home run by the Invalid Children's Aid Association (now renamed I Can), with places for 21 autistic and highly disturbed children. The staff consisted of a headmistress, three teachers, six child care workers and a permanent volunteer.
The Trustees decided to close the Home in 1984.
The building and driveway on Park Road.
The Home as seen from the southwest.
19th September 2013)
(Author unstated) 1899 Untitled. British Medical Journal 1 (4th March), 560.
to alphabetical list
Return to home page