|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Shaftesbury (French) Hospital
172-176 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JE
|1867 - 1992
The French Hospital opened in 1867 in a building near Leicester Square for 'the benefit of distressed foreigners of all nations requiring medical relief'. It soon merged with the nearby French Dispensary, which had been founded in 1861 by Dr Achille Vintras. The establishment was then known as the French Hospital and Dispensary.
In 1878 the building was enlarged, but the premises had become inadequate and a new building was required.
Funds were raised for the new Hospital, with generous donations being received from many ambassadors and even the French government.In 1899 work began on the new building on a site in Shaftesbury Avenue and, in the following year, the purpose-built Hospital opened, with 50 beds. The building had to be enlarged in 1893 and again in 1910. Patient accommodation was increased to 70 beds.
During WW1 it became a section hospital of the First London (T.F.) General Hospital; 30 beds on the top floor wards were put at the disposal of the War Office for wounded British soldiers. Here, for the first time, they received coffee for breakfast instead of tea, and apparently appreciated it.
By 1932, as well as its 70 beds, the Hospital had an operating theatre, three consulting rooms, a dispensary, an X-ray department and a laboratory. Nursing care was provided by the Sisters of the Order of the Sacred Heart, who had received their training at Versailles. The Sisters also looked after the laundry and the catering. At this time the weekly cost of keeping an in-patient was £2 7s 5d (£2.37) (compared to £2 8s 3d (£2.41) in 1931).
In 1933 a smoking room was created for the patients - an unlikely development in a hospital today. Although most of the patients were from France and its colonies, a sizable number came from Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Presumably all were French-speaking.
By 1966 the Hospital was in deep financial trouble and was forced to close. The Ministry of Health bought the building in 1967 and the French Hospital became the Shaftesbury Hospital, joining the three P's group - St Peter's, St Paul's and St Philip's Hospitals - specialising in renal disease.
The Hospital, with 39 beds, closed in 1992 when the St Peter's Hospital Group was absorbed into the Middlesex Hospital.
Present status (January 2008)
The building is now the Covent Garden Hotel.
The entrance portico still bears the legend 'Hopital et Dispensaire francais'.
The entrance of the former Hospital building in Shaftesbury Avenue.
The back of the Hospital building in Monmouth Street states 'Nouvel Hopital et Dispensaire francais' in the brickwork.
|A convalescent home for patients from the French Hospital
opened in 1896 in Brighton, run by the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres.
The foundation stone was laid by the French ambassador, Baron de
It is the only known example of a French 19th century convalescent home and is now a Grade II listed building.
"I was a post-registration nursing students at the three P's from 1977-78 under taking a year's course in renal and urological nursing.
The top floor of the Shaftesbury Hospital at that time was split between a children's urological ward (I think sponsored by Great Ormond Street) and the School of Nursing (under Miss Callahan). The children's ward was certainly at the centre of medical research at the time, pioneering Intermittent Self-Catheterisation in children with neurogenic bladder syndrome and an out-patients clinic for children with Klinefelter's syndrome. The basement housed the British Institute of Urology (I think they had sold the Henrietta Street premises to the nursing and medical book publishers Balliere Tindall). The BIU was itself pioneering, holding multi-professional Friday lunchtime lectures which were highly successful.
The other floors were occupied by urological patients, and heart patients belonging to the Heart Foundation.
St Philip's Hospital was predominantly a renal metabolic hospital with some innovative investigative techniques.
St Peter's Hospital - mainstream urology, especially out-patients, where I learned to 'pass sounds'.
St Paul's Hospital - mainstream urology, but with acute and chronic renal units in the basement. The operating theatres were on the upper floors/attic, and still had a viewing gallery!"
Paul J. Tubbs, Head of Department: Nursing
Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care
Manchester Metropolitan University
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom. London, H.M.S.O.
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