|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
Marie Curie Hospice
11 Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead, NW3 5NS
|1954 - current
The Marie Curie International Memorial (later renamed the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation) had been established on 6th July 1948 by five members of the committee overseeing the rebuilding of the Marie Curie Hospital, which had been destroyed buring WW2. These members decided that the name of Marie Curie, the Polish scientist who developed the use of radiation to fight cancer, should be perpetuated as a medical charity separate from the newly created NHS.
Following the donation of a diamond engagement ring, the charity's first appeal was launched to raise funds to provide care for terminally ill patients. The ring was sold for £75 and, by 1950, some £30,000 had been raised.
The Edenhall Marie Curie Centre opened in January 1954 with 32 beds. It was the third such centre to be established by the charity (the first had opened in Scotland in 1952).
The Centre, located in Edenhall, a large Victorian house in Lyndhurst Gardens, was run in a far more relaxed atmosphere than would be expected in a hospital. It provided palliative care for cancer patients whose treatment had proved unsuccessful, and also respite care so that patients' families and carers could go away on holiday. The Centre also offered assessment and relief of pain and other symptoms, such as lymphoedema, for both in-patients and out-patients. Complementary treatments, such as acupuncture and reflexology were available, as well as physiotherapy. Art therapy and relaxation classes were also held.
By 1972 the demand for places was so high that it was decided to rebuild the Centre. The Council of the charity acquired the freehold of Edenhall, as well as the property next-door. In 1973 the building was demolished and a purpose-built centre built on its site.
Completed in March 1976, the first patients were admitted in December of that year. The Edenhall Marie Curie Home was officially opened two years later, in December 1978, by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It had 26 beds.
In the early 1990s the Home began to accept patients with AIDS, a condition first described in 1981.
In 1999 the charity set up the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research and Development Unit, based at the Royal Free Hospital, to study ways to improve patients' quality of life. (It later moved to the Division of Psychiatry at University College London).
In 2008 a complete £3.8m refurbishment of the in-patient faciltiies began, including the heating, lighting and sound-proofing systems. Despite the work, the Home remained open while the multi-occupancy wards were converted into single en-suite rooms.
It reopened in November 2009 as the Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead.
Present status (February 2010)
The Hospice currently has 33 beds in two wards; patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses are admitted for terminal or respite care, symptom control or rehabilitation.
The Day Therapy Unit provides various out-patient services - physiotherapy, occupational therapy and complementary therapies, including reflexology, homoeopathy, aromatherapy and relaxation techniques.
Update: April 2015
On 22nd January 2013 a bust of Maria Sklodowska-Curie was installed at the Hospital to commemorate the centenary of her second Nobel Prize (in recognition in radioactivity). The statue had been donated by the Polish Heritage Society.
|N.B. Photographs obtained in February 2010
The main entrance of the Hospice on Lyndhurst Gardens.
The eastern elevation of the Hospice, built on a corner site.
The southern elevation along Lyndhurst Gardens.
16th April 2015)
Seymour E 2009 Cancer treatment centre reopens its doors to sick. Ham & High, 19th November.
Tookman A Kurowska A 1993 Letter. Funding policies for HIV and AIDS. Patients have access to palliative care. British Medical Journal 307 (6907), 802.
Wilkey S 2008 Hampstead hospice refurbishment reaches important milestone. Ham & High, 22nd August.
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