East End Maternity Hospital
384-398 Commercial Road, Stepney, E1 0LR
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1884 - 1968

The Hospital was founded by the writer Lady Violet Greville (1842-1932), Mrs James Stuart Wortley and others.  It opened on 6th December 1884 as the Mothers' Lying-In Home in Glamis Road, Shadwell.  It had 7 beds.  Its objective was "to maintain in the East of London a Hospital (which is entirely un-sectarian) for the treatment of poor married Women during child-birth, also for training midwives and nurses for attendance on the poor at their own homes."   It was the only maternity hospital for the whole of the East End, which contained a population of some 1,000,000.

The nursing staff also undertook District Nursing duties.  Women who were unable to enter the Hospital were attended to in their own homes, paying 3s  6d (18p) during lying-in. 

On 30th April 1889 the Home moved to new premises at 396 Commercial Road - in the heart of the East End - where it was renamed the East-End Mothers' Home; it had 13 beds.  The new buildings had cost £600.  Patients were admitted free of charge during childbirth and usually remained two weeks after delivery.  In 1897 the premises were extended and the Home then had 18 beds.

 In 1903 the building was extended again to 26 beds and it was renamed the East End Mothers' Lying-In Home.

In 1907 the Home purchased the freehold premises at No. 398 Commercial Road.  Work began to alter and improve the building, and was completed in 1908. The new wards accommodated 7 patients, raising the bed complement to 33 beds.  The ward walls were painted green and each white bed had a little white swing-cot at its foot.  The Home also had its own garden.  Staff and pupils were also housed in the building (previously they have lived on the opposite side of the road).

In 1913 another freehold property, No. 394 Commercial Road, was purchased.  Building works began and the annexe was about to be equipped when WW1 broke out and the project had to be postponed.

During WW1, as were many other hospitals, the Home was short staffed.  In 1918 the building was damaged in an air-raid, although there were no casualties.

The new building opened in 1921. The newest ward - the Pearly King Ward - was added in June that year.  It had 6 beds and had been financed by the East London Demonstration Committee, who also promised to raise enough money to pay for its yearly upkeep.  The Hospital had 38 beds at this time.

The Needlework Guild, which was connected with the Home, provided each new baby with a trousseau (at least 800 were needed each year).

Weekly meetings were held for former patients to instruct them in mothercraft and hygiene.  Generally, some 80 mothers and babies attended.

By 1925 the Home had 41 beds.  In 1926 the freehold building at Nos. 384-392 was purchased, bringing the bed total to 56 beds.

In March 1927 the Prince of Wales visited the Hospital, speaking to the mothers and admiring the babies.  During 1927 some 1,241 babies were delivered at the Hospital, which enjoyed a low maternal death rate (of the 2,061 mothers who were delivered as in-patients or in their own homes that year, only one died - the national average was 1 maternal death per 1000).

In April 1928 the Home changed its name to the East End Maternity Hospital.

The LCC took over its administration in 1930, by which time it had 59 beds.

In 1938 the weekly cost of an-patient was £3 2s 2d (£3.11), in comparison with 1937, when it was £2 10s 11d (£2.60).  In 1938 some 280 women were attended at their own homes.

During WW2 the Hospital was evacuated to Hill Hall in Essex, and then to Tyringham House in Buckinghamshire.  In September 1940 the building was damaged by incendiary bombs during an air raid.

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Stepney Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.  From 1966 it was administered by the East London Group Hospital Management Committee.

The Hospital closed in 1968.

Present status (December 2007)

The buildings survive, on the south side of the busy Commercial Road.  They are now in use as a local health centre - Steel's Lane Health Centre.
Steel's Lane Medical Centre
The former Hospital buildings along Commercial Road.  No. 396, the first site, is the one with the blue door.  No. 398 is to the left of the blue door.

Steel's Lane Medical Centre
   The buildings are now the Steel's Lane Health Centre.

Steel's Lane Medical Centre

Nos. 392-384 Commercial Road, built in 1898, was purchasedby the Hospital in 1926.   The building was listed Grade II in 1973.

Steel's Lane Medical Centre  Steel's Lane Medical Centre
The plasterwork figure with a cross is above the main entrance to the Health Centre.

Steel's Lane Medical Centre  Steel's Lane Medical Centre
Nos. 396-394 Commercial Road, the buildings with the clock, are not listed.
  Steel's Lane Medical Centre  
Steel's Lane Medical Centre
The back  of the buildings in Steel's Lane.
Ronnie Scott (1927-1996), the jazz nightclub owner, was born here in 1927.
(Author unstated) 1895 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror.  Nursing Record and Hospital World, 16th November, 357.

(Author unstated) 1896 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror.  Nursing Record and Hospital World, 21st March, 237.

(Author unstated) 1908 The East End Mothers' Lying-In Home.  British Journal of Nursing Supplement.  The Midwife, 30th May, 443.

(Author unstated) 1915 East End Mothers' Lying-In Home.  British Journal of Nursing Supplement.  The Midwife, 22nd May, 453.

(Author unstated) 1918 The East End Mothers' Home.  British Journal of Nursing Supplement.  The Midwife, 13th April, 268.

(Author unstated) 1921 Christmas in the East End.   British Journal of Nursing Supplement. The Midwife, 10th December, 376.

(Author unstated) 1927 The Prince of Wales at the East End.  British Journal of Nursing Supplement.  The Midwife (March), 74.

(Author unstated) 1928 The East-End Maternity Hospital.  British Journal of Nursing.  The Midwife (April), 104.

(Author unstated) 1928 The East End Maternity Hospital.   British Journal of Nursing Supplement (May), 129.

(Author unstated) 1929 The East End Maternity Hospital.
  British Journal of Nursing Supplement (May), 140.

Return to alphabetical list
Return to home page