|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
City of London Police Hospital
182 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NP
|1866 - 1947
The City of London Police Hospital opened in June 1866, despite much opposition from all sides. It was located behind the Bishopsgate Police Station which had been built in 1861.
The Hospital had been established by the police surgeon Mr Borlase Childs, F.R.C.S., (1814-1888), who also financed it. Its nursing staff consisted of a Matron and several nurses. A surgeon was also in attendance. Officers who had been posted to the Hospital for light duties acted as porters and wore a special saxe-blue uniform.
Policemen who had reported sick and were likely to be absent from duty for more than a few days were obliged to attend the Hospital for assessment. The Hospital also treated those who had been injured in the line of duty. On admission, all received free medical and nursing care.
Within two years of the opening of the Hospital, the mortality rate in the City of London Police force (some 697 men) had decreased from an annual rate of 1.7% in the previous two years prior to opening (June 1864-June 1866) to 0.8%, although it was still higher than the Metropolitan Police force (0.5% in 1867). The admission rate for sickness had also decreased from 100% to 61% over the same periods (78% for the Metropolitan Police).
On his retirement in 1885, the popular Mr Childs (who was also instrumental in designing the combed helmet) was presented with a sterling silver claret jug and salver, and a huge Bible which had been especially printed for him (these objects are on display in the City of London Police Museum).
The Hospital had a mascot - a tabby cat called Big Chap (and he was, weighing some 21lb 7oz - about 10 kilos).
In 1936 the building was demolished. A foundation stone was laid in 1937 for a new 5-storey building on the same site.
The new Police Station opened in April 1939. It had cost £13,750 to build. The Hospital was located on the top floor of the building, which also contained accommodation for single and married policemen, and a rifle and revolver range in the basement.
During WW2 the Hospital's Matron was killed by a bomb in Bishopsgate during an air-raid.
The Hospital closed in 1947 on the advent of the NHS.
Present status (March 2011)
The Bishopsgate Police Station remains in operation.
Looking down Rose Alley towards the site of the original Hospital on the left (left). The site of the original Hospital is straight ahead, looking down a passageway from New Street (right).
The Hospital was on the top floor of the 1930s Art Deco police station.
(Author unstated) 1868 Health of the City Police. British Medical Journal 2 (401), 257-258.
(Author unstated) 1888 Obituary. George Borlase Childs. British Medical Journal 2 (1455), 1138-1139.
Holmes T 1890 Sickness and mortality of the police force (letter). British Medical Journal 1 (1530), 982.
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