Croxley Green V.A.D. Hospital
The Institute, Dickinson Square, Croxley Green,
Herts WD3 3HD

Medical dates:

Medical character:
1916 - 1919

Convalescent (military)
In October 1915 work began to convert the Dickinson Institute into an auxiliary military hospital for convalescent soldiers.  The Institute, built in 1896, contained a theatre which could seat 600, reading and recreation rooms, and a large billiard room.  To make it suitable for hospital use, it was necessary to make internal structural changes to the rooms and the kitchens, and to install adequate sanitary facilities.  A local farmer, Mr Foster, whose milking sheds were next door to the building, was asked to regularly remove the cow manure so that its smell would not trouble the patients.

The Croxley Green V.A.D. Hospital opened in May 1916.  Its opening had been delayed as the railway had failed to deliver 30 beds in time.

The Hospital had 35 beds and was under the patronage of John Dickinson & Co., owners of the local paper mill and of the Institute itself.  The local Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) managed the Hospital, providing nursing and domestic services.

By 1917 the Hospital had 50 beds.

It closed in 1919.

Present status (June 2011)

After the war the Institute continued to be used for community activities - dances, clubs, classes, formal dinners and wedding receptions.  In 1926 it was renamed the Guildhouse.

On 3rd October 1965 fire broke out at the rear of the hall, destroying much of the structure and all of its contents.  The cost of rebuilding - some £55,000 - proved prohibitive to the company and, without the hall, many social activities ceased.  After five years the Guildhouse proved financially unviable and was sold for redevelopment.  It was demolished in 1976.

An apartment block, also named The Guildhouse, now occupies its site.

The Guildhouse
The main frontage of The Guildhouse is on New Road, with the New Road Surgery next door.

The Guildhouse
The entrance to The Guildhouse is in New Road.

The Guildhouse

The northeast aspect of the building on the corner of New Road and Dickinson Square (above) and the southwest aspect on the corner of Dickinson Square and The Guildhouse road leading to Cherry Croft, a new housing development (below).

The Guildhouse
References (Accessed 26th August 2016)

Russell E, Russell Q 2015 Watford and South West Herts in the Great War.  Barnsley, Pen & Sword Military.

https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk (1)
https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk (2)
www.geograph.org.uk (1)
www.geograph.org.uk (2)
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