Home Hospital for Women
187 High Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0LH
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1825 - 1940

General, maternity
In 1825 Mary Lister, an aunt of Lord Lister and a Quaker, established an invalid asylum for women in a house on the north side of Stoke Newington Church Street.  

Named the Invalid Asylum for Respectable Women in  London and Its Vicinity, it was intended to accommodate working women of the servant class whose health had broken down and who need rest and some nursing and medical care, but who were not seriously ill.  It was felt that the country air of Stoke Newington would be beneficial to them.  In the first year of its existence, some 47 women had been admitted to the Asylum.

Before admission, each patient had to produce a certificate of good moral conduct signed by two respectable housekeepers or her employer.  Strict rules had to be followed within the Asylum and patients were required to provide some nursing care for their fellow patients, as well as undertaking cleaning of the wards.

The Asylum was managed by a Ladies Committee and was supported by subscriptions and voluntary contributions.  It gained royal patronage in 1826, when Princess Augusta became its Patroness until 1840, when Queen Victoria took over the role.

When the Asylum moved to a Georgian building in Stoke Newington High Street in 1830, applications from other respectable working women, such as shop girls, were welcomed.  However, as with voluntary hospitals, those suffering from TB or any other infectious disease, epilepsy, incurable condition or decrepitude, were ineligible for admission, as were girls under the age of 12 years.

In 1851 the Asylum had 24 beds.

An honorary physician and surgeon attended the Asylum daily.  From 1866 a dentist was also available.

In 1884 subscribers, who paid a guinea (£1.05) annually or gave a 10 gn. (£10.50) donation, were allowed to nominate one patient a year for admission.  The patient was entitled to board, lodging and medical attendance for a period not exceeding one month, but had to pay £1 towards her tea and sugar.

In 1908 the Asylum had a staff of 25.  In 1909 it was converted into a hospital and, by 1911, had been renamed the Stoke Newington Home Hospital for Women (Invalid Asylum).

In 1913 a new ward with open-air balconies was opened by the Lord Mayor of London.  It was named Lister Ward and had cost £1,600 to build.  The Home Hospital then had 30 beds.

In 1919 a maternity department opened, with 3 of the 30 beds dedicated to it.

In 1921 a Nurses' Home was built on the Hospital's freehold site, at a cost of £2,000.  It had 6 bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom and a WC.

By 1924 the roof  needed to be replaced.  It was decided that the domestic servants' bedrooms on the top floor should be converted into an operating theatre with adjoining sterilising and anaesthetic rooms.  A new top floor was added to create new bedrooms for the servants.  The work cost £3,499 as beetle-damaged woodwork also had to be replaced.  The Home Hospital then had 35 beds.

In 1930 the Home Hospital had 31 beds, including 14 for private patients.  On average, 20 beds were occupied throughout the year.

In 1932 the kitchen was completely renovated at a cost of £320.

In 1935, of the 111 patients admitted during the year, 35 were medical cases, 4 surgical and 72 maternity.

During July and August 1939, with the threat of war, the Home Hospital was evacuated to The Firs in London Road, Stevenage, where it later joined the NHS in 1948 with 16 beds for chronically sick patients.

The building in Stoke Newington was sold in 1944 and the Home Hospital never returned to London.

Present status (November 2008)

The premises are now occupied by YumYum, a Thai restaurant.
N.B. Photographs obtained in November 2008

Home Hospital for Women
No. 187 High Street was Grade II* listed in 1953.

Home Hospital for Women
The side wing looks newer.  It is unclear when it was built, but the roof line is similar to the top floor extension of the original building.

Home Hospital for Women
The main entrance.

N.B. Photographs obtained in March 2016

Home Hospital for Women

The building is unchanged (above and below).

Home Hospital for Women
References (Accessed 18th August 2016)

(Author unstated) 1844 The Metropolitan Charities.  London, Sampson Law.

(Author unstated) 1929 A Lister institution.  Glasgow Herald, 4th June, 31.

Mackeson C (ed) 1880 Low's Handbook to the Charities of London for 1880.  Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.

Mitton GE 1908 Hackney and Stoke Newington.  London, Adam & Charles Black.

Ross-Keyt FD  1935 Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stoke Newington.  London, Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington, 17.

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

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