St Mary's Maternity Hospital
47 St James Road, Croydon, CR9 2RR
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1918 - 1985

A Maternity Hostel was opened in 1917 by the Croydon Mothers' and Infants Welfare Association at No. 75 Croydon Grove.  It had 7 beds.

In July 1918 it moved to No. 47 St James Road, which had been purchased and specially adapted for use as a maternity hospital by the Croydon Borough Council.  It had 17 beds (each with its own cot).

The Hostel was managed by the Croydon Mothers' and Infants Welfare Association, but received an annual subsidy of £1,800 from the Council, who reserved 15 beds for patients under its care (the Hostel was located between the Council's Antenatal Clinic at No. 33 St James Road and the Infant Welfare Centre in Lodge Road).

At the beginning of the 1930s a 3-storey purpose-built block was built on the empty plot at the corner of St James Road and Lodge Road.  The Hostel was renamed St Mary's Maternity Hospital.  It had 32 beds (with cots attached), 30 of which were reserved for patients referred by the Council's clinics, for which the Council paid a subsidy of £4,500.  The Hospital became closely associated with the Maternity Department of the Mayday Hospital, which had been taken over by the Borough Council in 1932.

On 1st April 1937 administration of the Hospital was also transferred to the Council.

In 1939 the Hospital joined the Emergency Medical Service.  Blast walls were constructed outside the ground floor windows and doors.  The two basement kitchens were reinforced, additional exits were installed, and bunks were fitted so that the rooms could be used as air-raid shelters by patients and staff.

It had been expected that many expectant mothers would choose to be evacuated during the war, but this proved not to be the case.  Although many had put their names down, they changed their minds later.  The expected increase in premature births because of the stress of the air-raids also did not materialise.  When air-raids began, all newly delivered mothers were kept on the ground floor but, when experience showed that patients on the upper floors were more likely to survive, they returned upstairs.

At first patients had been anxious to be taken to the shelters at the start of an air-raid, but as the war went on, they grew indifferent to the sound of the air-raid warnings, despite the heavier bombings which sometimes made the building shake.  Neither mothers nor babies seem to have suffered any ill effects.

A bomb exploding in Elmwood Road blew out the windows of the Hospital, but none of the patients or staff were injured.  By this time the babies were kept in specially made boxes, which fitted together side by side, in the Morrison shelters in the ground floor nursery.  Similar shelters in the basement were used by nursing and domestic staff.

In April 1943 the Monteagle Nursing Home was opened as an annexe to the Hospital and to the Maternity Department of the Mayday Hospital.  Patients were transferred to the Nursing Home on the 7th day of their delivery to finish their nursing.  (The Nursing Home closed in 1945 following bomb damage).

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Croydon Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Health Board.

In 1959 it had 33 beds in small wards (no more than 5 beds in each), but there was no Day Room for the patients.

During 1964, when the Hospital had 30 beds, some 609 babies were delivered.

In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the administration of the Croydon District Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.

In 1979 it had 39 beds.

It closed in 1985.

Present status (April 2009)

No. 47 St James Road, the original site of the Hospital, is now the Crystal Centre for children's service.  It is managed by the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.

The 1930s block, at Nos. 49-51 St James Road, became the Westways Resource Centre, managed by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.  

Update:  August 2015

In 2014 services moved from the Westways Resource Centre to the Westways Ward at the Bethlem Royal Hospital.

It is proposed that the vacated building on the corner of St James Road and Lodge Road should be demolished and a primary school be built on its site.  The Crystal Centre, currently occupied,  would be incorporated into the proposed school site.

N.B. Photographs obtained in April 2009

No. 47 is seen on the left of the image, with Nos. 49-51 on the right.  When the new Hospital was built, No. 47 became an Infant Welfare Clinic to ease overcrowding in the Lodge Road clinic.

The Crystal Centre at No. 47 St James Road.

Mature trees obscure the St James Road frontage of the former Hospital building, now the Westways Resource Centre.

The driveway entrance to the Westways Resource Centre.

The building appears rather dilapidated, with peeling stucco.

Signage on display in 2009.

The Lodge Road elevation.

N.B. Photographs obtained
in February 2012

Monteagle Nursing Home
The Monteagle Nursing Home at No. 35 Beulah Hill became a branch of the Hospital.

Monteagle Nursing Home

The Nursing Home has been converted into apartments and is now Spa Heights (above and below).

Monteagle Nursing Home

N.B. Photographs obtained in April 2015

The former Hospital buildings are still standing, despite the fact that the School was projected to open in September 2015 (above and below).

References (Accessed 11th August 2015)

Berwick Sayers AC (ed) 1949 Croydon and the Second World War.  Town Hall, Croydon Corporation.

Holden  OM 1936 Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  County Borough of Croydon, 5, 14.

Holden  OM 1945 Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  County Borough of Croydon, 91.

Newsholme HP 1923  Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  County Borough of Croydon, 37, 44, 46.

Newsholme HP 1925  Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  County Borough of Croydon, 55.

Veitch Clark R 1919  
Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  County Borough of Croydon, 10, 58, 61.

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