Hanover Park V.A.D. Hospital
Hanover Lodge, Hanover Park, Peckham, SE15
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1915 - 1919

Military auxiliary, convalescent

In 1914, at the beginning of the war, Mr. Charles Higgins, of the drapers Jones & Higgins, placed the firm's Male Hostel at the disposal of the War Office for use as a hospital.

Ar first the Hostel was used to accommodate Belgian war refugees.  On 18th December 1915 it became the Hanover Park V.A.D. Hospital with 35 beds, an auxiliary to the First London (T.F.) General Hospital in Camberwell.  The Hospital was officially opened on 24th January 1916 by the Marchioness of Ripon.

The Hospital consisted of two houses with a large garden.  They contained beds, bedding and linen,  and a considerable amount of furniture.  Jones & Higgins had laid linoleum floor covering throughout and agreed to pay for the electric lighting.  The firm had also made a generous donation to the Hospital.

The wards were painted a pleasant shade of green, with the counterpanes and curtains of the lockers either in a contrasting colour or a harmonising shade of green.  One of the brightest and most pleasant of the wards was named after Isla Stewart, Matron of St Bartholomew's Hospital.  The room had two large windows, which reached almost to floor level, and the beds were covered with deep pink quilts.  A photograph of Miss Stewart was placed on the mantlepiece (the Mayoress of Camberwell requested that the Camberwell coat-of-arms be placed in the ward over the bed named by her).  Another ward was named after Dr. Shapter Robinson, who had founded the Camberwell Division of the British Red Cross Society in 1910.  The other wards were named after Field Marshals and Generals - Gordon, Havelock, White, Roberts, Botha and Kitchener.

Apart from the Matron, there were a Staff Sister, two Day Sisters and a Night Sister.  Fourteen members of the London/220 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) worked in rota at the Hospital.  V.A.D. members not only performed nursing duties, but also worked in the kitchen.  As well, they did most of the domestic duties, their only helper being a charwoman who did the grates.  Many members were employed in full-time work, so could only give their services at the weekends or evenings.

The well-equipped operating theatre was on the top floor. The theatre was also used as a salle de pansements, where fresh dressings to wounds were applied.

An anonymous benefactor named 'Sunshine' donated a guinea a week to the Hospital for the support of a bed.   The students at Morley College sponsored bed No. 12 in the Shapter Robinson ward.  The 'Morley College bed' cost £26 a year, and concerts, entertainments and other activities, such as silver paper collections, were used to raise funds.  The convalescent servicemen were also invited to the College for tea.  Students helped with the amusements and refreshments.

In May 1917 the War Office requested that the accommodation be increased to 50 beds.  The Hospital was then staffed by 3 trained nurses and 90 part-time V.A.D. members.

The Hospital closed on 30th April 1919.

Present status (September 2010)

The site of the building is now the car park for Morrison's supermarket.

Hanover Park
The site of the Hospital in Hanover Park is now a car park.

 Rye Lane   Hanover Park
The drapers Jones & Higgins were in Rye Lane.  The store eventually closed in the 1980s but its clock tower building on the corner of Peckham High Street and Rye Lane, built in the 1930s, still remains (left).  The Hospital was in Hanover Park, around the corner from Rye Lane.  Its site was behind the trees shown on the right in the image (right).
(Author unstated) 1915 The care of the wounded.  British Journal of Nursing, 25th December, 529.

(Author unstated) 1916 Hanover Park V.A.D. Hospital.  British Journal of Nursing, 12th February, 140-141.

(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom.  London, H.M.S.0.

(Author unstated) 1917 News in brief.  The Red Cross 4, 69.

(Author unstated) 1925  The British Red Cross Society.  County of London Branch Annual Reports 1914-1924.  London, Harrison & Sons.

Reid H 1949 British Red Cross Society.  Story of the County of London Branch.  London, British Red Cross Society.

Personal communication:  Elaine Andrews, Manager, Learning Resources Centre, Morley College.

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