|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Christchurch Road, Streatham Hill, SW2 3PW
|1899 - 1943
In 1899, when the lease expired on Peterborough House, a private asylum in Fulham, the Medical Superintendent, Dr James Robert Hill, transferred its patients to Fenstanton in Streatham Hill.
Built around 1875, Fenstanton stood in 12 acres of well-wooded grounds. On the ground floor were the drawing rooms and dining rooms, as well as the kitchen and scullery. On the first floor there were five large bedrooms and two smaller ones, two dressing rooms and a bathroom. The upper floor contained 8 bedrooms. The house was lit by gaslight.
At the rear of the house were flowerbeds and a lawn surrounded by paths and trees. Another large flower garden was at the front of the house, which faced Christchurch Road, and was accessed by a double carriageway lined with trees and shrubs. Paddocks and meadows lay to either side of the building. At the north there were greenhouses and a stable block.
The house was considerably extended to become a comfortable private asylum for ladies with mental and nervous disorders. Homelike surroundings, amusements and occupations were provided. By the 1930s psychotherapy and physiotherapy were offered as treatments.
At the outbreak of war in 1939 the asylum closed, but later reopened in Hitcham Place, Burnham, in Buckinghamshire.
Present status (December 2009)
At the beginning of WW2 the building was used by the Ministry of Defence as a fire-watching centre. It received some bomb damage, as did other properties in the area.
In 1943 the house was bought by the LCC for use as a Rest Home for the Elderly.
By 1950 it had become rather rundown and was demolished. Fenstanton Junior and Infants Schools were built on its site. They opened in September 1952.
By 1991 the post-war buildings of Fenstanton School were in poor condition and needed major repairs. They were re-roofed and the cladding to the external walls repaired (above and below).
Update: December 2015
In early 2010 it was decided to rebuild the School on the same site. The pupils were transferred to other local schools and work began on the new buildings.
(N.B. Photograph obtained in May 2012.)
The new 3-storey Fenstanton School opened in 2013. The site is shared with a new Academy - City Heights - which also opened in September 2013.
The Hill family
Dr James Robert Hill (1844-1906) was the eldest son of Dr Robert Gardiner Hill (1811-1878), who was the Medical Superintendent of the Lincoln County Asylum, where he initiated reform in the treatment of the insane and, in 1835, introduced non-restraint of patients.
Dr Robert Gardiner Hill was also proprietor and Medical Superintendent of a private asylum at Earls Court House, Brompton. At his death from apoplexy in 1878, Dr James Robert Hill, who was then the Medical Superintendent of the City of London Union, Holloway, took over its management. The private asylum later moved to Peterborough House in Fulham, and thence to Fenstanton. Dr Hill remained as Medical Superintendent there until his death from bowel cancer at the age of 62 in 1906.
Dr Hugh Gardiner Hill (1856-1925), the ninth child of Robert Gardiner Hill worked at Bethlem and Cane Hill, and was Medical Superintendent at Wandsworth Asylum.
|References (Accessed 8th December 2015)
(Author unstated) 1906 Obituary. J.R. Hill. British Medical Journal 2 (2392), 1246-1247.
Harris J 2002 From Fenstanton House to Fenstanton School. London, the Streatham Society.
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