Zachary Merton
Convalescent Home
Holly Lane, Banstead, Surrey SM7 2BT
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1937 - 1977

The Zachary Merton Convalescent Home opened in 1937 with 50 beds.  It was managed by Trustees nominated by the Marie Celeste Samaritan Society and approved by the House Committee of the London Hospital.

In 1940, during WW2, the Home became an auxiliary hospital to the Royal Army Medical Corps, run jointly with the British Red Cross, until 1945.

In 1946 the Home was returned to the control of the London Hospital.

It joined the NHS, as did its parent hospital, under the auspices of the London (Teaching) Regional Hospital Board.

It closed in 1977.

Present status (January 2009)

Shortly after the Home closed, the building was purchased by the Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society to replace its Belvedere Institution in Erith, which was in a state of decay.  The residents were transferred to the new 'Belvedere Home' in 1978.

The building was sold to Barratt Homes in 2001 when the Belvedere House opened in Banstead.  It was demolished and a luxury apartment block - Chatsworth Park - built on its site in 2004.

Chatsworth Park
The gateway of the new gated community of Chatsworth Park.

Chatsworth Park
The new building with 24 apartments occupies the site of the former Home.
Zachary Merton

Zachary Merton (1843-1915) was a member of a family of Anglo-German industrialists and philanthropists.  His grandfather, Abraham Lyon Moses (1775-1854) had been a major benefactor to the Jews' Orphan Asylum.  In 1856 Zachary's father, Rafael Lyon Moses (1817-1883) changed the family surname from Moses to Merton.  

Zachary was a partner
in the successful London metal trading company Henry R Merton & Co., which his elder brother, Henry Ralph Merton (1848-1929) had co-founded in 1860.  Another brother, William Ralph Merton (1848-1916), later co-founded the Metallgesellschaft in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1881.  (This later caused problems when war broke out between the two countries in 1914.  After the war the British company was liquidated and reorganised as two separate firms - Henry Gardner & Co and the British Metal Corporation.)

Zachary Merton had been admitted to the Middlesex Hospital for an operation.  He, with a fellow patient, vowed that if they survived their operations they would establish six hospitals.  Zachary Merton would build them and the other patient would furnish them.

The operations on both patients were successful but the other patient reneged on his promise.  On his death in 1915, Zachary Merton left some £350,000 in his will for the building of convalescent homes.  A Trust Fund was established in his name.

The Marie Celeste Samaritan Society

The Samaritan Society had been founded in 1791 by Sir William Blizard, a physician at the London Hospital, who had been appalled at the grim impoverished conditions in which his patients lived.

The Society provided assistance for patients that was beyond the work of the Hospital itself.  Thus, poorer patients were supplied with clothing on discharge, or small monetary grants given if the breadwinner was ill or injured and his family in need of urgent assistance.  Some patients were enabled to provide themselves with artificial limbs or splints as recommended by their surgeon, or were sent away to convalesce in the countryside or seaside.

In 1898 James Hora, a Vice-President of the London Hospital, subscribed a large annual sum to the Society in memory of his first wife, Marie Celeste; he was filled with remorse that he had neglected her while they were living in Australia.  She had died young, an unhappy woman, and to perpetuate her memory he asked that her name be associated in some way with the Hospital.   Thus, the name 'Marie Celeste' was added to the title of the Samaritan Society (the Hospital's maternity wards were also named after her).  On his death in 1917, James Hora bequeathed £120,000 to the Society in his will.

The Society is still operational today.

Reference (Accessed 16th July 2015)

Morris EW 1910 A History of the London Hospital.  London, Edward Arnold.
References (Accessed 16th July 2015)

Smith M, Sakula A 1994 Hospital Names.  London, RSM Press.

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