Alexandra Hospital

for Children with Hip Disease

17-19 Queen Square, WC1N 3AR

Medical dates:

Medical character:

1867 - 1920


In 1865 Miss Jane Perceval (later Mrs Howard Marsh) and Miss Caroline Wood, both nurses at the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, perceived a need for a hospital where children could stay for long-term treatment.  Tuberculous arthritis, a highly destructive joint disease, was a common affliction at the time and treatment required hospitalisation for two to four years.  Usually children admitted to hospital would be discharged once their acute symptoms had subsided.

With several other women, they purchased 19 Queen Square, and the House of Relief for Children with Chronic Diseases of the Joints opened in March 1867 for the 'reception, maintenance, treatment and education of children (up to the age of 16) suffering from TB and non-tuberculous infections of bones and joints'.  Originally consisting of 10 beds, demand was so great that the number was increased to 30.

The Hospital maintained close links with St Bartholomew's Hospital, with many of the medical staff attending both Hospitals.

In 1870 the then Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) became Patron.  The name of the Hospital was changed to the Hospital for Hip Diseases in Children, although TB of the knee and other bones and joints continued to be treated.

In 1872, five years after opening, No. 18 Queen Square was bought, allowing an extra 20 beds.  In 1873 No. 17 was acquired.  By this time the Hospital had 60 beds.

In 1881 it was renamed The Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, after Princess Alexandra.

In 1887 No. 1 Queen Square Place was bought, providing an additional 8 beds and isolation wards.

By 1897 it had 68 beds but, by this time, the four old houses needed such continued and expensive repairs that it was decided to build a new hospital in their place.  The Hospital moved to temporary accommodation at 34 Guilford Street while demolition and rebuilding took place.  The new Hospital was opened in 1899 by the Prince and Princess of Wales and their daughter Princess Victoria.

In 1920 the Hospital moved to the Kettlewell Convalescent Home, the convalescent home of St Bartholomew's Hospital.  It maintained offices at 1 Upper Woburn Place and out-patient clinics contained to be held at St Bartholomew's Hospital until the outbreak of WW2. 

Present status (December 2008)

No. 17 Queen Square is now Alexandra House, the home of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.  No. 19 Queen Square seems to have disappeared or been subsumed (the building to the left of No. 17 is No. 15 and to the right of the open area is No. 23, which houses the Private Consulting Rooms for the nearby National Hospital for Neurology & Neuroscience).

Alexandra Hospital

17 Queen Square

Alexandra Hospital

main entrance

The main entrance







Looking towards Guilford Street.


Black N 2006  Walking London's Medical History.  London, Royal Society of Medicine Press


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