|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
St George's Hill
St George's Hill Golf Club, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0NL
St George's Hill Golf Club had opened on 2nd October 1913, with Prince Alexander of Teck as its President. However, the future prosperity of the Club was affected by the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, when some 120 members and 9 indoor staff immediately volunteered for voluntary service.
The Committee therefore responded to an appeal by the War Office and offered the Clubhouse for use as a military hospital. The offer was accepted and some £1,500 was subscribed by the members of the Club to convert and equip the building.
St George's Hill Auxiliary Hospital opened on 1st October 1914, with much ceremony, under the auspices of the British Red Cross Society.
The ground floor lounge of the Clubhouse had been converted into a ward with 30 beds, while upstairs the dining hall had become a ward with 20 beds. The Hospital was staffed by 3 Medical Officers, a Matron, 2 Sisters, 3 trained nurses and 18 members of the local Voluntary Aid Detachment under the command of Mrs Ethel Locke-King, (who received a D.B.E. in 1918).
The first patients were received from the Connaught Hospital in Aldershot, but soon more beds were needed and Mr F. Eckstein offered his mansion, Ottershaw Park, to the Red Cross as overflow accommodation. The Grange in Chertsey and Blackthorns and West Hall in Byfleet also served as overflow accommodation.
Sometimes relations between the Red Cross and the Directors of the Golf Club became difficult during the initial stages of the war, as the Club was attempting to keep its greens and workshops in good condition with a view to future use when hostilities ceased. This meant that Golf Club personnel were on site while most of the Club's buildings were occupied by the Hospital. Problems also arose over who was responsible for payment of the water rate (vital to the Golf Club) and who would pay for any repairs if damage occurred to the buildings. Despite these strains, in December 1915, the Club renewed its offer of the Clubhouse for use as a hospital for the duration of the war.
During the course of the war staffing levels had decreased while the number of beds had increased to 70. An operating theatre and an X-ray apparatus had also been installed, enabling major operations to be carried out.
In 1916 a new Recreation Hall was built for the patients' use, the cost of it being met by the residents of St George's Hill and others who lived near the Hospital.
Initially the Hospital had been affiliated with the Southwark Military Hospital in East Dulwich, but later in 1917 came under the command of Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital at Millbank.
In 1917 the Committee of the Golf Club was asked if part of the golf course could be used to grow vegetables for the Hospital. The matter was referred to the Green Committee to select a suitable area.
The Hospital closed early on 15th March 1919. Some 3,000 wounded servicemen had been treated in its operational lifetime.
Negotiations began with the Red Cross to settle claims for dilapidations of the Club House after four years of war. Eventually, in November 1919, the Club accepted £600 from the Red Cross to cover the cost of repairs and redecoration.
Present status (October 2011)
St George's Hill Golf Course remains very much in operation.
The north entrance to St George's Hill, a venerable gated community, within which the Golf Club is located. St George's Hill is a private estate and access is only allowed to residents and members of the Club.
(Author unstated) 1917 Red Cross work in Surrey during 1917. British Red Cross Society Surrey Branch, 5th Annual Report.
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom. London, H.M.S.O.
Smith J 1996 Monograph No. 58. Auxiliary and Military Hospitals in Weybridge and Walton during the First World War. Walton and Weybridge Local Hospital Society.
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