Woodford and Wanstead
Military Hospital
Highams, High Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 9LA
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 - 1919

Convalescent (military)
On 12th November 1914, during WW1, the Essex/56 Voluntary Aid Detachment was mobilised to prepare Highams, a Georgian manor house owned by the Liberal politician, Sir Thomas Courtenay Theydon Warner, as an auxiliary hospital.

The Woodford and Wanstead Military Hospital opened one week later (it was also known as Woodford Military Hospital and Highams Military Hospital).  It was affiliated to Colchester Military Hospital.  The first patients arrived in December 1914.

The Hospital had 50 beds in twelve wards, a fully equipped and up-to-date operating theatre, a Recreation Room, a Mess Room and various administration offices.

By December 1915, one year after it had opened, some 304 patients had received treatment at the Hospital.

By 1917 it had 75 beds.

The Hospital closed in March 1919.

Present status (December 2012)

In 1919 the house was rented by Essex County Council, who renovated it and converted it into a school for 100 girls.

The Woodford County High School for Girls opened on 29th September 1919.  The operating theatre became the staff room.

In 1922 Essex County Council purchased the property for £7,000.
The entrance gates on the High Road.


The main house has extensive wings (above and below).

Readers' comments


I found these pictures in my grandfather's collection of photos.  I know from his war record he was in Woodford Grange Hospital from September 1917 to January 1918, after which he was transferred to Sutton Coldfield Hospital.  He lived in Birmingham, so it is assumed he was moved to a  hospital closer to his family.

The pictures are dated 3 Dec 1917 and signed by A.E. Cairns - possibly a fellow servicemen who made friends with him in the hospital.


I could find no Woodfird Grange Hospital, but the picture is very similar to the Woodford & Wanstead Military Hospital - but without the extensions.  Were they there in 1917 ot were they they added at a later date?


Maybe someone will come forward who knows who A.E. Cairns was.  The image of a nurse in the grounds indicates that the building was a hospital.  Maybe she is A.E. Cairns.

Rosemary Whittemore
References  (Accessed 7th March 2021)

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

Dunhill ML 2005 A History of Highams Park and Hale End. Chichester, Phillimore & Co.

Loyd AK (ed) 1917 The British Red Cross Society.  The Country Branches, Vol. 1.  London, British Red Cross Society.

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