The Croft Home
1 Church Road, South Park, Reigate, Surrey RH2 8HY
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1872 - 1960s

In 1872 Mrs Kitto established a convalescent home at Bletchingley.  The Home was supported by voluntary contributions and its aim was "to provide a home for those who have no means of making such payments as ordinary convalescent homes require".  Most of the patients came from the East End parishes of London, where her husband, the Revd. John Fenwick Kitto, worked variously as Vicar of St Mary's, Whitechapel, Rector of St Dunstan, Stepney, and Rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Charing Cross.

In 1880 the Home moved to a new building in South Park, Reigate.  Known as Mrs Kitto's Free Convalescent Home, or the South Park Convalescent Home, it had 28 beds - 11 for men and 17 for women.

By 1888 some 3,616 patients had been admitted for convalescence at the Home since its opening - over 300 of them in 1888 alone.

During the Second Boer War (1899-1902) Mrs Kitto offered 10 beds for the use of convalescent soldiers returned from South Africa.

By the outbreak of WW1 the building had ceased to be a convalescent home and it was offered by Mr W.C. Alexander to the War Office for use as an auxiliary military hospital.

The premises were improved and the Kitto Relief Hospital opened on 9th November 1914.  At first it was used as an annexe to Hillfield Auxiliary Hospital but, from 28th September 1915, it was affiliated to the Horton (County of London) War Hospital at Epsom.  It had 24 beds and provided general treatment, massage and passive exercise to injured servicemen.  Located in a sunny, airy position, the house also had a pleasant sheltered garden.  The nursing staff consisted of a Matron, 2 nurses from the local Voluntary Aid Detachment and a masseuse.  The military wards closed on 31st March 1919.

In 1919 the property was given to the London Hospital, who renamed it The Croft Home.  It served as an annexe to the Hospital, becoming a convalescent home for mothers of large families, particularly from the East End.

The Home joined the NHS in 1948 along with its parent hospital, which had been designated as a Teaching Hospital.

The Home closed during the 1960s.

Present status (November 2009)

The building is now known as Margaret Laurie House and serves as a Rehabilitation Unit with 13 beds for patients who have severe and enduring mental illness.  It is under the management of the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Margaret Laurie House

Margaret Laurie House (above and below).

Margaret Laurie House

(Author unstated) 1888 Hospital intelligence.  The Nursing Record, 18th October, 404.

(Author unstated) 1900 Home Hospitals and Convalscent Homes.  British Medical Journal 1 (2036), 42.

(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom.  London, H.M.S.O.

(Author unstated) 1918 Red Cross Work in Surrey during 1917, 5th Annual Report.  British Red Cross Society Surrey Branch.

(Author unstated) 1948 National Health Service.  Designation of London Teaching Hospitals.  British Medical Journal 1 (4558), 947-948.

Lord JR 1920 The Story of the Horton (County of London) War Hospital, Epsom - Its Inception and Work and Some Reflections.  London, Heinemann.

http://fds.oup.com (page 11)
www.aim25.ac.uk (1)
www.aim25.ac.uk (2)

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