|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
The Cross Roads Club
Oakdene, 33 Lyonsdown Road, New Barnet, Herts EN5 1JG
|1919 - 1958
The Cross Roads Club opened in May 1919. It had been founded by Princess Christian, primarily as a mother and baby home for unmarried mothers in need of care and guidance.
The Club consisted of two adjacent houses - Nos. 88 and 90 Alexandra Road in St John's Wood - each of which accommodated 15 women.
Expectant mothers were received in one house six weeks before their date of confinement. They were sent to a maternity hospital for delivery, after which they returned to the other house with their babies. If possible, the mother and baby would remain there for some months, as both might be too delicate due to the misery and anxiety before birth. If the mother needed to get back to work, the baby was given to a relative or placed with a foster mother or in a home (both expensive alternatives). Exceptionally, babies could be adopted.
In 1928 the staff consisted of 2 nurses and a cook-matron. The housework was done by the residents. During the year 122 maternity cases were admitted, but only 112 babies.
The Club received various gifts from well-wishers: baby clothes from various donors, including Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, woolies and towels from Princess Helena Victoria, clothes for girls and woolies for babies, bath towels for the staff, bedspreads, rugs for the staff sitting room, magazines and, for Christmas, as well as a tea party, mince pies, apples and flowers.
In 1931 the staff consisted of a superintendent, a nurse and a cook-matron.
During 1933 some 111 expectant mothers were admitted, while 103 mothers and babies returned to the other house. By this time the Club was in receipt of a grant from the LCC, under the Local Government Act, 1929.
In 1939 management of the Club was taken over by the Governors of the Foundling Hospital, who were extending their work in connection with children welfare.
Following the declaration of war on 1st September 1939, the Club closed the next day. All mothers and babies were evacuated to the country.
On 12th June 1940 the Club reopened in Lemsford House, a large mansion within its own grounds, in Lemsford, near Welwyn Garden City. The nearby Brocket Hall had been converted into a maternity unit for the City of London Maternity Hospital and the expectant mothers were sent there for their confinements.
In September 1943 the Governors of the Foundling Hospital decided to extend the Club's accommodation to a London-based address. For this purpose they converted their Domestic Economy School at No. 21 Craven Hill Gardens in Bayswater.
In 1948 both branches of the Club moved to Oakdene, a large house at No. 33 Lyonsdown Road in New Barnet. It then had 20 beds.
During 1952 some 86 unmarried mothers had been admitted, 46 of whom were from the London area.
The Club closed in 1958.
Present status (October 2019)
The first site of the Club in Alexandra Road was redeveloped in the early 1970s as part of the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, a housing complex built by Camden Council. It was Grade II* listed in 1993.
The second London site at No. 21 Craven Hill Gardens has been divided into several residential apartments.
The third site, Oakdene at No. 33 Lyonsdown Road in New Barnet, was sold in 1959 to the Archdiocese of Westminster. It became a Catholic mother and baby home, replacing Loreto House at No. 17 Pembridge Villas, W11, under the guidance of the Legion of Mary. It later appears to have accommodated the Society of African Missions. The property was sold in 2015 for £1,887,500. In 2017 planning permission was granted to demolish the building and build three 5-bedroom detached houses.
The first site of the Club (above and below) at Nos. 88-90 Alexandra Road is now part of the Grade II* listed Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, roughly located at No. 72 Rowley Way.
After the Club moved to Lemsford during WW2, a second London site was opened later at No. 21 Craven Hill Gardens in Bayswater (the doorway on the right of the image).
N.B. Photographs below obtained in August 2019
The final site of the Club at No. 33 Lyonsdown Road in Barnet (above and below). The building behind the chapel-like entrance is quite substantial in size.
The building is currently occupied by Guardians.
A plaster shield depicting the Madonna and child is located on the gable.
|References (Accessed 23rd October 2019)
Oldershaw HL 1933 Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hampstead. London, Hampstead, 45.
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