Albert Dock (Seamen's) Hospital

Alnwick Road, Custom House, E16 3EZ

Medical dates:

Medical character:



1890 - 1991

Acute, for merchant seamen.
Later (1974) orthopaedic, then (1981) mental handicap

The foundation stone for a new hospital for the care of merchant seamen was laid on 15th July 1889 by the Prince of Wales (later King George V).

The Royal Albert Dock Hospital was officially opened on 24th June 1890 by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).  It was a branch of the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital in Greenwich.

The Hospital had two general wards of 5 beds each, a 2-bedded isolation ward and 2 single rooms, an Out-Patient Department, dispensary, kitchen, post-mortem room and an ambulance house.

Located in Connaught  Road, near the western entrance to the Royal Albert Docks, it was managed by the Seamen's Hospital Society and was open to the general public.  However, it dealt mainly with injuries acquired by dock workers.

The dockside buildings suffered from subsidence, with the foundations collapsing, so in 1937 the Hospital moved to new premises, built at the cost of £68,100, at a site donated by the Port of London Authority in Alnwick Road, Custom House.  It was officially opened by Queen Mary in 1938.

The new Hospital had 55 beds and an Out-Patients Department, including a fracture clinic, a rehabilitation centre and a VD unit.  A Nurses' Home had also been built.

In 1948 it joined the NHS and became known as the Albert Dock Seamen's Hospital.

From 1974 to 1981 the Hospital was part of the Newham Health District and ceased to deal with acute cases.  It was an orthopaedic hospital until 1981, when Newham Health Authority took over administrative control.  It then became a mental handicap unit.  It finally closed in 1991.

Present status (December 2007)

The building was sold and demolished in 1993. New roads and housing have been built on the site, as well as the Sally Sherman Nursing Home.

Alnwick Road

In Alnwick Road the gates of the Hospital are still preserved. The newly built Sally Sherman Nursing Home is seen on the left.



old Hospital wall

The foundation stones of the Hospital are mounted on the wall of the right-hand gate.

foundation stonefoundation stone

The foundation stones of the Seamen's Hospital. The one on the left is dated 1889 and the one on the right 1937.

Sally Sherman Nursing HomeSally Sherman Nursing Home

The Sally Sherman Nursing Home has been built on the northern part of the Hospital site.

new housingnew housing

New housing in Felsted Road, built on the southern part of the Hospital site.

Sir Patrick Manson founded the London School of Tropical Medicine at the original Royal Albert Dock Hospital in 1899.  The School remained there until 1920, when it moved to the new Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Euston.  

The London School of Tropical Medicine merged with the School of Hygiene in 1924, and the amalgamation became known as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Cook GC, Webb AJ 1990 Early history of tropical medicine in London.  Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 83, 38-41.

Cook GC, Webb AJ 2001 The Albert Dock Hospital, London:  the original site (in 1899) of tropical medicine as a new discipline.  Acta Tropica 79, 249-255.



Return to alphabetical list
Return to home page