Harold Wood Hospital
Gubbins Lane, Romford, Essex RM3 0NE
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1909 - 2006


In 1909 West Ham County Borough acquired a large Victorian country house - The Grange - as a children's convalescent home for patients from the Plaistow Fever Hospital.  Built in 1884, the house stood in 30 acres of grounds, which included a formal garden and an ornamental lake.

The Grange Convalescent Home for Children opened the same year.  It was also known variously as the West Ham Children's Hospital, the West Ham Hospital (not to be confused with the West Ham Hospital in West Ham Lane) and the Harold Wood Convalescent Home.

In 1911 a new block was built.  It was named after Dr John Biernacki (1865-1918), the Home's first Medical Superintendent and the Physician-Superintendent of the Plaistow Fever Hospital (he had been in charge of the Dagenham Smallpox Hospital  during the severe epidemic of 1902-1904).

In 1930 more blocks were added to the site, and the Home was enlarged to 116 beds.  During the 1930s the home temporarily accommodated chronic adult cases, to relieve the Public Assistance Home at Leyton.

During WW2 the Home became an EMS Hospital for military wounded and civilian air-raid casualties.  Temporary prefabricated huts were built in the grounds and the site became the Harold Wood Hospital.  After the war, it remained a hospital.

The Hospital joined the NHS in 1948 under the control of the Brentwood Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North East Thames Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

During the 1960s a modern ward block with maternity services was built and the Hospital became a District General Hospital.

In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, it came under the control of the Havering District Health Authority, part of the North East Thames Regional Health Authority.

By 1990 it had 206 beds.  In 1993, after another reorganisation, it became part of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Hospital closed at the end of 2006.  The remaining patients and staff were relocated to the King George Hospital in Ilford or to the new Queen's Hospital in Romford.

Present status (March 2008)

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital NHS Trust sold the site to Countryside Properties in March 2007.  Originally, it had been planned that some NHS facilities would remain, while the rest of the land would be used for housing development of some 470 dwellings.  This had now been superseded and replaced by a plan to build 810 homes on the site, including a 9-storey block.  The local residents are opposing the proposal.

The site remains fenced off and guarded, except for the access road to the London South Bank University campus
and a Disablement Services Centre at the back of the site.

The original house, The Grange, is Grade II listed.

Update (August 2010)

The Harold Wood Polyclinic, a GP walk-in health centre located in a converted building, once the offices of the McKesson Computer Centre, was opened by NHS Havering on part of the site in July 2010.  It is due to be officially opened in September.

The rest of the site remains undeveloped.
N.B.Photographs obtained in March 2008

Harold Wood Hospital site
In March 2008 blue fencing surrounds the site along Gubbins Lane.

Harold Wood Hospital  Harold Wood Hospital site
Entering the site along the drive.

The Grange Harold Wood Hospital
The Grange, the original house, is fenced off.

Harold Wood Hospital
The extent of the Hospital can be seen from the site plan, photographed through wire fencing.

Harold Wood Hospital
One side of one of the low-level square ward blocks.  Most of the site is inaccessible.

Harold Wood Hospital  
Harold Wood Hospital  
The large maternity block built in the 1960s.  

Harold Wood Hospital site
The Hospital chimney and boiler house.

Oasis House  Oasis House  
Nothing to do directly with the Hospital -  health care facilities on the opposite side of Gubbins Lane to the former Hospital include Oasis House, an adult mental health clinic run by the Upminster Community Mental Health Team, at 28-30 Gubbins Lane (right), and the Harold Wood Community Health Clinic at 24 Gubbins Lane (left).

N.B. Photographs obtained in August 2011

Harold Wood Hospital site

The site remains fenced off (above and below).

Harold Wood Hospital site

N.B. Photographs obtained in September 2012

Harold Wood Hospital site
The Grade II listed Grange remains, but is still boarded-up.

Harold Wood Hospital site
New housing is being built on the site.
References (Accessed 28th January 2018)

www.british-history.ac.uk (1)
www.british-history.ac.uk (2)
www.flickr.com (1)
www.flickr.com (2)
www.flickr.com (3)
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