Leatherhead Emergency Hospital
(Royal Blind School)
 56-66 Highlands Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8NR
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1939 - 1946

In 1939, at the beginning of WW2, the Royal School for the Blind was requisitioned by King's College Hospital as part of the Emergency Medical Service.  The blind residents were evacuated and the School was converted into a hospital with 900 beds, an operating theatre and laboratories, etc.  

Although measures were taken to protect the buildings, part of the School was damaged by bombs in 1940.

The Hospital was decommissioned in 1946.

Present status (July 2009)

After the war the School became an infirmary for Chelsea Pensioners until 1956.  It was modernised and was re-opened officially as the Royal School for the Blind  in 1958 by its patron, the Duchess of Kent.

In the late 1990s the School buildings were sold and the site redeveloped in 2001.  The main building has been converted into an apartment block - Lavender Close - with more blocks built in behind.  The western part of the site contains new luxury-type housing on a private road - Beechwood Park - while the Chapel in the eastern part is now called the Chapel of Ideas - serviced offices for local entrepreneurs.

The Royal School for the Blind, renamed  Seeability in 1994,  is now located nearby in Wesley Road.

Royal School for the Blind
The main entrance now leads to Lavender Close (to the left) and Beechwood Park.  The gates have been removed, but the gate pillars remain.

Royal School for the Blind
The Lodge by the main entrance has also been converted into a residence.

Royal School for the Blind
The main building with its clock tower was built in 1902.

Royal School for the Blind

The building is quite extensive (above and below).

Royal School for the Blind  Royal School for the Blind

Royal School for the Blind
The private entrance to the new housing in Beechwood Park.

Royal School for the Blind

The 1902 Chapel is now a serviced office block (above and below).

Royal School for the Blind   Royal School for the Blind
The entrance (left and signage (right).
References (Accessed 9th August 2014)

(Author unstated) 1939 Emergency hospital organisation.  Statement by Ministry of health.  British Medical Journal 2 (4098), S51, 49-50.

(Author unstated) 1939 A civilian base hospital.  British Medical Journal 2 (4107), 662-663.

(Author unstated) 1946 E.M.S. hospitals.  British Medical Journal 1 (4459), 971.


http://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk (1)
http://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk (2)
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