|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Richmond Red Cross Hospital
Old Friars, The Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1NH
|1914 - 1919
On 8th August 1914, four days war after had been declared, a meeting of the Richmond Branch of the British Red Cross Society decided to launch an appeal for funds to establish a hospital. Within a month some £800 had been raised from a house-to-house collection.
The Richmond Red Cross Hospital was established in Old Friars, a substantial double-fronted property lent by Captain and Mrs C.B.M. Hodgson. The property had once been the Richmond Liberal and Reform Club but had been empty since 1907. It had been given to Captain Hodgson by his father as a wedding present, but the Captain was serving at the front. The building, with its wide staircases and large rooms, was ideally suited as a hospital, and there was a large kitchen and plenty of bedrooms for the staff. It had been equipped and furnished by means of gifts and loans of the necessary furniture.
The first patients were admitted on 6th November 1914. Both medical and surgical treatment were provided. The Hospital had 45 beds, with the largest of the nine wards containing 10 beds. Three of the principal wards had a ward kitchen. The operating theatre had a bathroom attached.
At the rear of the house was a large garden, where convalescent patients could relax or play ball games.
There were 3 Medical Officers and several visiting consulting surgeons. The nursing staff consisted of a Matron, 2 nurses and 25 members of the Surrey/4 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) from the Richmond Division, who cooked and did housework as well as providing nursing care. The number of V.A.D. members soon increased to 40.
At first the Hospital was affiiliated to the Third London General Hospital; by April 1915, some 200 patients had been received. Later it became an overflow hospital for the Second London General Hospital.
On 29th May 1915 Queen Amelia of Portugal visited the patients.
In July 1915 the War Office requested that the Hospital be enlarged to 100 beds. Mrs Cockburn consented to vacate her house Abbotsdene, adjacent to Old Friars, so that it could be used as an extension to the Hospital. An opening was made in the wall dividing the two properties.
In 1916 the Hospital was receiving 2 shillings (10p) a day capitation grant per occupied bed from the War Office, but the rapid rise in the cost of provision had rendered this quite inadequate. The Hospital applied for an increase, which was allowed.
In December 1917 a large Y.M.C.A. Recreation Hut was erected in the grounds.
After almost three and a half years, some 1,787 patients had received treatment at the Hospital, 655 of them during 1917. By this time the staff consisted of a Matron, a radiographer, 2 masseuses and 45 members of the V.A.D. (by the end of the war there were 100 V.A.D.s).
On 14th February 1918 the King and Queen visited the Hospital.
In April 1918 the Hospital was transferred to the administration of the Richmond Military Hospital in Grove Road.
The Hospital closed on 30th April 1919. During 1918-1919 some 718 patients were treated.
The total number admitted during the operational lifetime of the Hospital (4 years and 5 months) was 2,505.
Present status (May 2011)
Both Grade II* listed buildings are now private residences.
Old Friars (above and below) is reputed to have been the site of the Convent of the Observant Friars, a reformed part of the Franciscan Order. The original part of the house is believed to have been built around 1687, but the building was extended later.
Abbotsdene was the western side of this building, built around 1700 and later split in two. It became the extension of the Hospital. During the early 1930s the building was reconverted into one residence - Old Palace Place.
17th September 2013)
(Author unstated) 1915 News in brief. The Red Cross 2, 94
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom. London, H.M.S.O.
(Author unstated) 1918 Red Cross work in Surrey during 1917. British Red Cross Society, Surrey Branch. 5th Annual Report.
(Author unstated) 1920 Red Cross work in Surrey 1918-1919. British Red Cross Society, Surrey Branch.
(Author unstated) (Undated - ? 1954) Surrey Branch British Red Cross Society. Historical Summary. April 1907-31st December 1953. Aldershot, John Drew.
(Author unstated) Untitled. Richmond (Surrey) Notes 14, 145-151. (Cuttings books filed at Richmond Local Studies Library)
(Author unstated) Richmond Red Cross Hospital. Richmond (Surrey) Notes 21, 327-331. (Cuttings books filed at Richmond Local Studies Library)
Grateful acknowledgment is given to the staff in the Local Studies Department of Richmond Library, who were helpful in providing much of the information on this Hospital.
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