Theydon Towers
Theydon Road, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 4EF
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 - 1937


In 1914, at the outbreak of WW1, Theydon Towers - a large yellow brick 19th century mansion house - was lent to the War Office by Mr Soper and his brothers for use as an auxiliary hospital.

The Hospital opened in November 1914 with 36 beds.  It was equipped with an operating theatre and an X-ray apparatus, and was staffed by the Essex/58 Voluntary Aid Detachment.  The initial patients were wounded and sick Belgian soldiers. By December 1914 it had 40 beds, all of which were occupied.  After one year some 256 patients from the Belgian Army and the British Expeditionary Force had been treated.

In 1917 the Hospital had 45 beds and was affiliated to Colchester Military Hospital.

After WW1 the South West Ham Committee (a branch of the West Ham Relief Committee, later renamed the West Ham Committee of the Charity Organisation Society) presented Theydon Towers to Queen Mary's Hospital for the East End for use as a children's convalescent home.

The Home, with 30 beds, was officially opened by Princess Mary in 1921 and the South West Ham Committee agreed to maintain the property.

An adjacent cottage was redecorated and furnished by Mrs C.E. Leo Lyle (later Lady Lyle), the wife of the Chairman of Queen Mary's Hospital.  It became a Home of Rest for the nurses of the Hospital who needed a few days' break.

In 1924 the South West Ham Committee was disbanded and the cost of the upkeep of Theydon Towers became the responsibility of the Hospital. 

 The Convalescent Home closed in 1927 because of the difficulty in finding the money for its upkeep; there were also insufficient children in need of convalescence.

Later the house was sold and the proceeds invested as a fund for meeting the cost of children's convalescence.

Present status (July 2008)

Recently the site has been redeveloped by Time & Tide Homes at a cost of £7.2m.  During 2008 the mansion house was converted into four apartments, while the stables and office block became a 3-bedroom house.  A 4-bedroom house had also been built in the grounds.

gateway  notices
The locked entry to the new development.

The driveway to Theydon Towers, seen through the gateway.

The house is just visible through the driveway of the neighbouring property.
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom.  London, H.M.S.O.

(Author unstated) 1921 The Hospital World.  British Journal of Nursing, 30th April, 252.

Loyd AK (ed) 1917 The British Red Cross Society.  The Country Branches, Vol. 1.  London, British Red Cross Society.

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