|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
60 and 64 St James Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 4QL
The idea for a cottage hospital in Surbiton had originated with Mrs Frederick Howell early in 1870. An initial meeting was held at the Howell's house to discuss the possibility and, later, in October to appoint a hospital committee. An Honorary Consulting Physician and an Honorary Consulting Surgeon were appointed to the staff, as well as an Honorary Acting Surgeon. Mrs Howell was made the Lady Superintendent.
Initially the committee experienced some difficulty in obtaining a suitable property for use as a hospital, but eventually managed to lease York Villa. The property, near the west end of the north side of Victoria Road, was not entirely suitable for the purpose and lacked many amenities. Nonetheless, the Surbiton Cottage Hospital opened for the reception of patients in October 1870.
The Hospital served those residents of Surbiton, Kingston and the surrounding neighbourhood who were unable to afford medical care in their own homes. It was funded by voluntary contributions, and by payments from patients and their friends.
After a few years the premises proved too cramped and inadequate, and a building fund was established with a view to build a new hospital. By 1881 the fund contained £1,650 and a Building Committee was appointed.
A site was acquired in St James Road for £1,150 and, on 20th April 1882, the foundation stone for the new hospital was laid by the Ven. Archdeacon Burney.
The new purpose-built Surbiton Cottage Hospital opened in April 1883 for the reception of patients. It was fully equipped and free from debt. The Hospital had cost £5,000 (£1,150 for the site, £3,400 for the building works and £400 for the furnishings).
During 1886 some 123 patients were treated at the Hospital (in comparison, 470 cases had been treated during the operational lifetime - 12 and a half years - of the previous hospital in York Villa).
After WW1 the Hospital Committee decided to build a modern hospital on a new site as a war memorial to those who had died during the war. A site in the Ewell Road was gifted for the project and building work began in the early 1930s.
The new Surbiton Voluntary Hospital opened in 1936, while the Old Surbiton Hospital was leased to Surrey County Council. It became the Surbiton Annexe, housing chronic sick patients from the Kingston & District Hospital.
During WW2 the Hospital joined the Emergency Medical Service, under the control of St Thomas' Hospital.
The Old Surbiton Hospital joined the NHS in 1948 under the control of the Kingston Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
In 1950 a row broke out over the use of the Kingston and Malden Victoria Hospital for general patients. The Regional Hospital Board had decided it should become the gynaecological unit of the Kingston Hospital. but the General Practitioners who treated their patients at the Victoria Hospital resisted this. The rebellion failed, but the Board offered the GPs the use of the Old Surbiton Hospital as alternative accommodation for their patients. The 140 GPs of the Kingston Group accepted the offer, despite having to spend considerable money in renovating the building.
The Hospital re-opened in 1951 with 41 beds for chronic patients, having been renamed the Claremont Hospital. By 1955 it had 28 beds and a new operating theatre. A retired surgeon attended for half a day a fortnight to perform operations.
In 1960 the Hospital had 30 beds for general patients.
In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the control of the Kingston and Richmond Area Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.
The Hospital closed in 1977.
Present status (October 2008)
The buildings remained in the ownership of the Area Health Authority. In 1993 No. 60 became Claremont, the Headquarters of the Kingston and District Community NHS Trust.
The former Hospital building has been converted into apartments and its address is now No. 1 Ravens Close. It is surrounded by new housing built in the same style in 1998 by Persimmon Homes South East Ltd.
The site of York Villa, the first Surbiton Hospital.
The building was demolished and a Post Office erected in its place in 1898. The Post Office is now no more and the premises are occupied by Zizzi, a restaurant.
No. 60 St James Road is now No. 1 Ravens Close, an apartment block.
The entrance to the building is in Ravens Close (left). The former Hospital is surrounded by new housing built in the same style, of yellow London stock with red brick dressings (right) The house on the left of the former Hospital occupies the site of No. 64, but has its entrance in Dolphin Close.
(Author unstated) 1950 Medical Notes in Parliament. British Medical Journal 2 (4689), 1178.
(Author unstated) 1951 Kingston Victoria Hospital. British Medical Journal 1 (4713), 1028.
Richardson RWC 1888 Surbiton; Thirty-two Years of Local Self-Government, 1855-1887. Surbiton, Bull & Son.
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