East Surrey Hospital
Shrewsbury Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 6YY
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1866 - 1983

Reigate Cottage Hospital opened in 1866 in a pair of converted cottages in North Albert Road, Reigate.  It had been founded by Drs John Walters and Constantine Holman, both local physicians who had raised the funds for it by subscription.

The Hospital was one of the earliest cottage hospitals to open in Great Britain.  It had 6 beds and was staffed by one nurse, aided by a domestic servant.  Medical care was provided by Dr Walters on a voluntary basis.

In 1871 the Hospital moved to larger premises which had been built in Whitepost Hill, on the northern side of Redhill Common.  It had 12 beds and was renamed the Reigate and Redhill Cottage Hospital.  In 1876 a wing was built on the western side, increasing the bed complement to 18.

The Hospital was a voluntary one, supported by subscriptions and donations, with the local GPs giving their services without charge.  As with other voluntary hospitals, those with mental illness, epilepsy, etc. were not admitted and were usually sent to the workhouse infirmary.

In 1880 the Reigate and Redhill Hospital Fund was established to raise money for the Hospital, with annual parades held in July.  The funds raised enabled an east wing to be built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.  The new building opened in 1897 and provided an additional 6 beds.

In 1907 the word 'Cottage' was dropped from the title and it became the Reigate and Redhill Hospital.  In the following year a children's ward was added.

As the local population of the area increased, so did demand on the Hospital facilities.  The building was extended again and renamed the Reigate and Redhill General Hospital.

After WW1 a scheme was established to raise funds for  a new larger hospital, to be known as the Reigate and Redhill War Memorial Hospital, on Highlands, a plot of land at the northeast of Wray Common.  Unfortunately, the plan failed due to lack of financial support and was abandoned in November 1920.

In 1923 the entrance to the Hospital was moved to Shrewsbury Road and the Hospital renamed the East Surrey Hospital.  It had 52 beds.  An appeal was launched for an endowment fund of £50,000 (of which £30,000 had already been raised) so that the bed complement could be increased to 78.  Lord Ashcombe, Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, laid the foundation stone for a two-ward extension.  Glinton and an adjacent property in Elm Road were purchased for use as a Nurses' Home.

In 1925 the Nurses' Home was demolished to make way for a new ward block.  The Hospital then had 82 beds.

During the 1930s the Hospital underwent considerable expansion.  In 1930 an orthopaedic ward was opened by the Countess of Harewood.  Increase in the use of motorcars had increased the incidence of road traffic accidents and, by 1934, accounted for half the admissions.

In 1937 a new Nurses' Home, built in Elm Road, was opened by the Countess of Athlone.

On the outbreak of WW2 in 1939 the Hospital joined the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), with 40 of its 130 beds designated for the scheme.  During 1940 some 217 patients were admitted to the EMS beds, including 94 evacuated unaccompanied children.  In August 1940 a bomb exploded at Shaw's Corner, just as a bus was passing.  The casualties were brought to the Hospital.  In 1941 the Hospital acquired a mobile X-ray unit from the British Red Cross Society, which had been sent from the United States.  During that year 152 patients were admitted under the EMS.

In 1941 the weekly cost of an in-patient was £3 19s 4d (£3.97), compared to £3 14s 5d (£3.72) in 1940.  By 1942 the cost had risen to £4 2s 0d (£4.10) and, by 1943, to £4 13s 6d (£4.67).

By 1944 the proposed introduction of a national health service to provide free treatment was causing difficulties with raising funds and subscriptions for the Hospital.  The weekly cost of an in-patient had increased to £6 11s 4d (£6.57).

In 1945, at the end of the war, the Ministry of Health withdrew the EMS beds, and the Hospital's bed complement increased from 90 to 102.  Protective measures, installed during the war, were removed.  The children's ward, which had been used as an Air Raid Casualty Reception Ward, was reconditioned and returned to pre-war use.  A new kitchen was added.  The weekly cost of an in-patient fell to £6 1s 4d (£6.07).

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Redhill Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Regional Hospital Board.  It had 139 beds, including those in Casterbridge, Doods Road, Reigate and Thornton House, Warwick Road, Redhill.

In 1964 the Hospital came under the administration of the Redhill and Netherne Group Hospital Management Committee, following a merger of the two groups.

Following a major reorganisation of the NHS in 1974, the Hospital was under the control of the East Surrey District Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.  Work for a new East Surrey Hospital had begun on a site south of Redhill, the first phase of which was due to open in 1979.

In December 1980 approval was given to close the Shrewsbury Road site, which by then had 78 beds.  Services were gradually transferred to Redhill General Hospital.

The Hospital closed in 1983.

Present status (November 2009)

The site was sold in March 1986 for £365,000 and the buildings converted into a private nursing home, run by the Whitepost Health Care Group.

Part of the old Hospital is now Shrewsbury Court Independent Hospital, providing low secure care, treatment and rehabilitation for adults with enduring mental illness.  The site also contains The Elms, a nursing home for elderly frail patients requiring nursing care and elderly patients with dementia or chronic mental health problems.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
The original Cottage Hospital building on Whitepost Hill.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital

The south elevation of the much-extended former Hospital on the corner of Shrewsbury Road and Whitepost Hill.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
The extensions along Shrewsbury Road.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
The main entrance on Shrewsbury Road.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
The foundation stone laid by Lord Ashcombe on 10th November 1923 commemorating the extension of the Hospital.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
Signage to Shrewsbury Court.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
Looking back down Elm Road towards the Hospital buildings.

Site of old East Surrey Hospital
The rear elevation of The Elms Nursing Home, as seen from Elm Road.  The Home has its entrance in Ranelagh Road.

(Author unstated) 1923 The Hospital World,  British Journal of Nursing, 17th November, 316.

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