|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Wandle Valley Hospital
Mitcham Junction, Surrey CR4 4XL
|1899 - 1987
Infectious diseases. Later, geriatric, long-stay
The Wandle Valley Isolation Hospital opened in 1899 for the care of patients suffering from scarlet fever, typhoid and diphtheria. It had 28 beds. As the residents of Carshalton had objected to an infectious diseases hospital being sited near their village, it had been built on a 15.9 acre site in the Wandle Valley. (In fact, the Hospital suffered from a surfeit of addresses - variously noted as Beddington Corner, Wallington, Mitcham or Middleton Road, Carshalton, or Mitcham Junction, Surrey. They all describe the same location.)
In 1904 a new ward with 22 beds opened. The laundry was enlarged and converted to machine power.
In 1910 a new block of 12 beds was built and another of 16 beds in 1921.
In 1928 the laundry was enlarged again and remodelled.
In 1932 two new wards for 60 patients opened. Various small buildings were built in 1936, including an Assistant Nurse Training School.
In 1938 two new wards opened with 60 beds, but three other wards were condemned, with a loss of 38 beds.
In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS with 152 beds. It was under the control of the St Helier Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
The wards, which had been closed during the war due to lack of staff, gradually re-opened, and were redecorated and modernised. However, the Hospital's remote location, off Middleton Road to the west of the River Wandle, made it even more difficult to recruit staff than in other hospitals during a national shortage of nurses.
In 1953 the Hospital had 140 beds, of which 80 were for infectious disease cases and 60 for the elderly chronically sick. The weekly cost of an in-patient was £12 9s 6d (£12.47).
With the advent of antibiotics, there was hardly any need for an isolation hospital and the wards were gradually filled with geriatric patients.
In 1956, when the Hospital had 152 beds, the number of beds for the elderly chronic sick was increased by 12. In 1957 there were 72 beds for the chronic sick and 50 for isolation cases; the remainder were unstaffed.
In 1958 the weekly cost per in-patient was £17 11s 8d (£17.58), rising to £18 5s 11d (£18.30) in 1959. The Hospital had 160 beds, 30 of which were closed because of lack of nursing staff.
In 1966 two derelict wards were demolished and their site made into a car park and a grassed area. The Hospital had 160 beds, of which 124 were staffed. The weekly cost of an in-patient was £31 3s 5d (£31.17), compared to £29 2s 1d (£29.10) in 1965. By 1970 the weekly cost had risen to £41.11 and, by 1971, £50.74.
In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the control of the Sutton and West Merton District Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority. It had 160 beds for orthopaedic, fever amd geriatric patients. The Hospital became the location for the Regional Cytogenic and Cytopathology Units.
By 1976 the Hospital had 158 beds for pre-convalescent, orthopaedic, fever and geriatric patients. It was under the administration of the Sutton and West Merton District Health Authority, part of the Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth (Teaching) Area Health Authority of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.
By 1984 it had become a geriatric hospital with 95 beds.
The Hospital closed suddenly in January 1987 as an 'emergency measure' to save money after just one month of 'consultation', its remaining 70 elderly patients being transferred to other accommodation in freezing winter temperatures.
Present status (August 2008)
The Hospital was demolished in the late 1980s. It site is now occupied by a pleasant housing estate with a large green beside the River Wandle. Part of the grounds of the Hospital is now the Wandle Valley Wetland, a local nature reserve.
The entrance to the estate is the original Hospital driveway (left). The Wandle Valley Community Centre in Budge Lane may have been built on the site of the Hospital lodge (right).
Looking across the green by the River Wandle towards the Health Centre (left). The Wandle Valley Health Centre (right).
New housing on the Hospital site.
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