Ellesmere Hospital
 187 Queens Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 5AA
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1842 - 1989

In 1841 Theodore Munro, a medical student at St Bartholomew's Hospital, witnessed the distress of a woman about to be discharged home to her slum dwelling.  Appalled that there were no convalescent facilities for the sick poor of London,  he called a meeting in Wigmore Street with James Thomas Ware, a fellow medical student, and other colleagues in order to found a movement to provide convalescent care in homes that the poorer classes might afford.  At first, he and two of his friends arranged to send such patients to stay with families in Harrow Weald, where his eldest brother, the Revd. Edward Munro, was vicar.

Following a meeting in April 1841, the Metropolitan Convalescent Institution was formally established and, in 1842, the former workhouse in Carshalton was refurbished as a temporary convalescent home to provide "pure air, rest and a nutritious diet" for 56 patients until funds could be raised to build a purpose-built home in the country.

As the demand for places increased, a building fund was set up in 1848.  Shortly after this, the Institution gained the Royal patronage of Queen Victoria.

When Lord Ellesmere became President of the charity in 1850, he donated 5 acres of land between Queens Road, Walton, and the railway at Oatlands Park, Walton-on-Thames.

The Metropolitan Convalescent Institution opened on 21st March 1854 as a convalescent home for adult patients referred from various London hospitals.  It had 100 beds.  Built of red brick with stone quoins, it was the first purpose-built convalescent home in the country.  It was supported by voluntary contributions and patients stayed on average for three weeks, free of charge.

In 1861 the west wing was extended and, in 1868, the east one (named Marner's Wing), after which the Institution had over 200 beds.

The Institution joined the NHS in 1948 with 94 open beds under the control of the Woking and Chertsey Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.  It was renamed the Metropolitan Convalescent Home.

By 1955 104 beds were open.

In 1963 the building was refurbished.  In 1966 the Home had 130 beds for local long-stay geriatric patients.  By this time it had come under the administration of the North West Surrey Group Hospital Management Committee, who renamed it Ellesmere Hospital.

In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the control of the Surrey Area Health Authority.

It continued as a long-stay hospital for geriatric patients until its closure in 1989.

Present status (November 2008)

The property remained empty until 1998, when it was sold to Berkeley Homes.

The Grade II listed building has been converted into 30 luxury apartments.  The Chapel was restored and made into two residences, while additional new housing has been built in the grounds.  The gated development is now known as Ellesmere Place.

Ellesmere Place
The road sign at the entry to the drive off Queens Road.

Ellesmere Place
The entrance drive off Queens Road.

Ellesmere Place
The gateway into the gated development is wide open.

Ellesmere Place
The central part of the former Institution.  The inscription on the left-hand section reads 'Metropolitan Convalescent Institution', on the central section 'Instituted AD MDCCCXLI' and on the right-hand one 'Supported by Voluntary Contributions'.

Ellesmere Place
The west side of the Institution was extended by an additional wing in 1861.  The inscription reads 'Enlarged AD MDCCCLXI'

Ellesmere Place
The west wing adjoining the main building.

Ellesmere Place
The eastern side of the main building was extended in 1868 to match the western side.  The inscription on the new wing reads 'The Marner Wing Erected AD MDCCCLXVIII'. (In this image, the extension is hidden by trees).

Ellesmere Place
The west 'lodge'.  The original lodges have been replaced by new buildings in the same positions.

Ellesmere Place
The 'lodge' at the east side.

Ellesmere Place
A later addition at the east of the site.
References (Accessed 31st December 2014)

(Author unstated) 1867 Convalescent institutions.  British Medical Journal 2 (362), 7th December, 535.

(Author unstated) 1938 Convalescent homes for the poor.  British Medical Journal 1 (4020), 214.

www.walton-weybridgehistory.org.uk (1)
www.walton-weybridgehistory.org.uk (2)
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