|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
King Albert's Hospitals for Convalescent Belgian Soldiers
King Albert's Hospitals were established on the initiative of the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles de Broqueville, who wished to coordinate all the efforts regarding the well-being of wounded and convalescent soldiers in England.
On 9th December 1914 M de Broqueville wrote to the British Minster of War informing him of the nomination of a Belgian Committee and asking him to nominate suitable British members to serve on the Committee. The Minister passed the letter on to Herbert Samuel, the President of the Local Govenment Board, who agreed to the request and, on 16th December, a joint Anglo-Belgian Committee was formed.
The Queen of the Belgians agreed to be Patron to the project, while the Duchess of Vendome became its Honorary President. Earl Curzon of Kedleston was the effective President, Le Baron C. Goffinet the Chariman of the Committee and M Paul May, a Belgian diplomat, the Honorary Secretary.
The first Hospital to be established - on 4th December 1914 - was in Staffordshire House, Store Street, in Bloomsbury.
However, because of the great number of sick and wounded Belgian troops already in British military and auxiliary hospitals or entrusted to the care of the Salvation Army, more hospital accommodation was needed urgently.
The second Hospital opened on 7th January 1915 in Hanwell, the third on 8th February in Highgate, the fourth on 16th December 1914 in Folkstone (the Belgian military authorities in Folkstone requested that the two Belgian ambulance units with 150 beds, which had been based there since November 1914, be added to the list), and the fifth on 22nd March in Bermondsey. The three Hospitals in London were located in premises which were the property of municipal corporations under the authority of the Local Government Board.
The Board requested that some of the civil administrators were retained to maintain the functions of the buildings. Thus, all economic issues (with advantages concerning arrangements with suppliers) remained in the hands of these officials, to the benefit of the Hospitals. The Anglo-Belgian Committee paid the corporations indemnities of £8, £2 10s 0d (£2.50) and £4 per day for Hospitals No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 respectively. These payments covered the rent and the wages of the retained employees.
All the Hospitals had been assigned military and special medical management. The regulations of military hospitals in Belgium were in force and, although still under treatment themselves, discipline was maintained by the wounded Belgian officers. An Army chaplain was attached to each establishment.
Following an arrangement with the British government, the Ministry of War gave a grant of 2 shillings (10p) a day per occupied bed to cover maintenance costs.
King Albert's Hospital No. 1
Staffordshire House, Store Street, WC1
King Albert's Hospital No. 2
King Albert's Hospital No. 3
King Albert's Hospital No. 4
St Gabriel's Home, Folkstone
King Albert's Hospital No. 5
Tanner Street, SE
3rd November 2013)
May P 1915 King Albert's Hospitals. Rapport de l'Exercice 1914-1915 [in French]. Document BEL 10 1/7 Women at Work Collection, Imperial War Museum, London.
Pardoe M 1917 Correspondence giving further information about King Albert's Hospitals. Document BEL 10 1/4 Women at Work Collection, Imperial War Museum, London.
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