LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
St Mary Abbot's Hospital
Marloes Road, Kensington, W8 5LQ
1871 - 1992
General, acute. Later, geriatrics, psychiatry.
St Mary Abbot's Hospital had originally been two former workhouses - the Kensington workhouse and infirmary (built in 1847 in the parish of St Mary Abbot's) and the Westminster workhouse with its schoolhouse and separate infirmary (built in 1853 on an adjacent site belonging to the St Margaret and St John parishes).
The main Kensington workhouse was a 3-storey building in the 'Jacobethan style', with a taller central block and projecting wings. It had originally housed 400 inmates, but soon became overcrowded. In 1871 a separate 4-storey infirmary was built in a matching style. It had 375 beds, mainly for the chronically sick. A new dispensary served both in-patients and the poor of Kensington. A 4-storey wing for 300 able-bodied poor was also built; facilities included a laundry and a dining room for the inmates. Over the next two years the workhouse buildings were improved and extended.
In 1875, following the receipt of £2500 from a legacy, a
chapel dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary was built, serving both the
workhouse and the infirmary (previously the main dining room behind the
workhouse had been used for services).
In 1893 a new administration block was erected in Marloes
Road (in 1890 Wrights Lane had been renamed Marloes Road and, by 1914,
the whole road as far as Cheniston Gardens had been renamed Marloes
Road). Three linked 3-storey ward pavilions for male patients
were built to the south of the administration block, and the 1871
building became an infirmary for female patients. Conditions
continued to improve for staff and inmates. In 1899 new hydraulic
lifts were installed.
In 1923 the Infirmary became known as St Mary Abbot's
Hospital. It had become a general hospital and was used by the
public for the treatment of accidents and for cases of mental illness.
(The Guardians wished to amalgamate the Hospital and Institution,
partly because non-pauper patients resented being transferred to
Institution wards to convalesce.) The postmortem room and
mortuary chapel were improved in 1923, having been rebuilt in 1892
and recognised as inadequate in 1913.
In 1935 the LCC installed two new operating theatres in a new
block which incorporated the western wing of the original lying-in
wards; an anaesthetic room, recovery room and X-ray darkroom were also
In 1951 the original Guardians' Board Room and offices at 28
Marloes Road were refurbished as a maternity unit and a casualty
department. In 1953 the Metropolitan Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital
moved to the St Mary Abbot's Hospital site, existing as a separate unit
with 27 beds. In 1955 St Mary Abbot's Hospital became an
acute general hospital with 395 beds.
The Hospital closed in 1992, one of the four that closed when the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital opened on the St Stephen's Hospital site in Fulham Road. The others were the Westminster Hospital, the West London Hospital and St Stephen's Hospital.
| The Anthony Nolan Trust was based at St Mary Abbot's Hospital following its move from the Westminster Children's Hospital. It is now at the Royal Free Hospital.
In 1970 the 27-year-old rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix was brought here after being found dead of asphyxiation, choking on his own vomit, in an apartment in a private hotel.
References (Accessed 22nd November 2015)
Hughes B 1991 From Workhouse to Hospital. The
Story of St Mary Abbots Hospital, Kensington. London, St Mary
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