Bermondsey Health Centre
108 Grange Road, Bermondsey, SE1 3BW
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1937 - 1990s

Health Centre
In November 1928 the Medical Officer of Health for the Borough of Bermondsey presented a report to the Council which suggested that a new facility be built for "the early diagnosis, supervision and treatment of acute rheumatism, arthritis and cancer".  This building could also house a tuberculosis clinic and maternity and child welfare services, as well as a Children's Clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of sick children.

The Council agreed and, at the beginning of the 1930s, decided to replace the buildings at No. 108  (a TB Dispensary), No. 109 and No. 110 Grange Road (a Mother and Child Welfare Clinic, which had once been the American Red Cross Maternity Hospital) with a purpose-built health centre.

The original plan for the new building, predicted to cost £96,000, failed because the Ministry of Health and the London County Council refused to approve the loan in 1931.  The design was amended and a more modest design was presented to the Ministry, and was met with approval.

The Bermondsey Public Health Centre officially opened on 7th November 1936 - the first of its kind in the country.  It had been built at a cost of £44,125.

The 3-storey building contained an Infant Welfare Centre, an ante-natal clinic, a gynaecological clinic, a foot clinic which provided chiropody services and a Tuberculosis Centre on the ground floor.  An X-ray Department, a dental surgery, and a laboratory for the public analyst were located on the second floor.

The first floor, divided into male and female sections, was dedicated to physical treatment by electrotherapy and massage, and included a Solarium for light treatment.  The Solarium replaced the Light Treatment Centre, which had opened in 1924 in the waiting room of the TB Dispensary.  It proved so popular that a temporary iron hut was erected behind the Dispensary.   It was the first municipal solarium in the United Kingdom, fitted with large mercury vapour lamps, carbon arc lamps, radiant heat lamps, Hanovia lamps and a water-cooled Kromater lamp.  Patients, especially ailing children, benefitted from the treatments provided.

The basement contained a sub-electrical station to provide alternating current to the building (the general supply in the Borough was direct current).  This was especially useful for the X-ray apparatus and the Solarium.

The caretaker's living accommodation was on the third floor, with a portion of the roof space set aside for his use.

By the end of the first year of its operational life, some 1,666 patients had received 82,143 treatments in the Solarium.

In 1953 an orthoptic clinic opened to treat patients with eye problems.

The Health Centre closed in the late 1980s.

Present status (October 2010)

In the early 1990s the rear part of the Health Centre was sold off and converted into apartments  - Solarium Court.

The front part of the building remains in healthcare use and now houses the Grange Road Practice.

Bermondsey Health Centre
The Bermondsey Health Centre.

Bermondsey Health Centre
The relief sculpture made by Allan Howes in 1937 of a mother with two children adorns the front elevation of the building.

Bermondsey Health Centre
The Health Centre is on the corner of Grange Road and Alscot Road.

Bermondsey Health Centre
Brewster House, an apartment block with sheltered housing 
was built beside the Health Centre at Nos. 111-115 Grange Road.
References (Accessed 22nd August 2015)

Connan DM 1936  Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Borough of Bermondsey.  London, Bermondsey.  61-68.

Connan DM 1937  Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Borough of Bermondsey.  London, Bermondsey.  39-46.

Jones E 2012 Nothing too good for the people:  local Labour and London's interwar Health Centre Movement.  Social History of Medicine 25, 84-102.

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