|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
King Albert's Hospital for Convalescent Belgian Soldiers
28 Tanner Street, Bermondsey, SE1
|1915 - ? 1918
The fifth King Albert's Hospital opened on 24th March 1915 with 400 beds. It occupied the former Bermondsey workhouse in Tanner Street, which had been lent by the Local Government Board.
The buildings, erected in 1791, formed a square, with the entrance in Tanner Street (previously named Russell Street). They consisted of a porter's lodge, a Board Room, offices, a kitchen and a dining room along Tanner Street, with more offices along the east side of the square and large dormitories on the west side.
The establishment was not intended to serve as a hospital as such - it had no resident medical or nursing staff - but was used as a staging post and distribution centre for convalescent soldiers following discharge from English hospitals. Following a medical examination the soldiers would be referred to one of the other King Albert's Hospitals, depending on their state of health, or returned to their units.
The Hospital also provided office accommodation for the Military Bureau and the 'Commandement de la Place'. It was also used as lodgings for Belgian soldiers coming to London on leave, or to provide hospitality (for a few hours only) to those on leave en route to visit their families now living in the English provinces.
The number of individuals passing through the Hospital from 24th March 1915 to 31st December 1915 was 17,035. Of these, 596 were deemed unsuitable for further military service and were found work in England. Some 9,364 were on leave from the Front, while the remaining 7,075 were in transit for various reasons - either on their way to the Front, or discharged from English hospitals and about to be sent to a King Albert's Hospital or elsewhere, or volunteers for the army, or escapees from the Netherlands or Germany, etc.
The Hospital presumably closed at the end of the war in 1918.
Present status (October 2013)
The workhouse buildings have been long demolished. Their site is now part of the Tanner Street Park.
The east side of the Park was once the site of the Hospital (left). Looking towards the site from the west (right).
The area has been much redeveloped and the site of the Hospital now contains tennis courts and part of a small park.
8th November 2013)
(Author unstated) The care of the wounded. British Journal of Nursing, 22nd January, 71.
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