Lewisham Municipal
Maternity Home
41 Rushey Green, Catford, SE6 4AS
Medical dates:

Medical character:

On 1st June 1918 Queen Mary officially opened the Lewisham Municipal Maternity Home, the first of its kind to be initiated.

The Maternity Home was located in a former doctor's residence in the centre of the Borough.  It had a spacious hall, which led to a consulting room, an examination room, a clinic room (in which babies were weighed), a dispensary, Matron's office and a large Nurses' Dining Room.

On the first floor were three wards with painted pale green walls and white enamel-painted doorways and windows.  The white beds had fitted cots, hung with white frills, at the foot of each bed.  Each ward contained 4 beds.  A fire was kept burning in the fireplace for those convalescent patients who were allowed to remain up.  The Labour Ward was also on the same floor, as was Matron's bedsitting room.

On the second floor were the nurses' and maids' bedrooms, as well as large store cupboards.

The property had a good-sized garden at the back.  At the end of the garden was a laundry, which had formerly been the stable and the garage.

Each patient was charged according to her husband's income.

In 1923 the Maternity Home was enlarged, after which, in April 1924, it had 17 beds and a single-bed isolation ward.

In 1925 the nursing staff comprised a Matron, 5 nurses and a probationer.  Domestic staff included a cook, 2 housemaids, a laundry maid and a daily cleaner.  There was also a part-time clerk-dispenser.

In 1925 some 317 confinements took place.

For admission, patients were instructed to bring a hairbrush and comb, one dozen handkerchiefs, a toothbrush, soap, hair ribbon, one pair of stockings and a pair of slippers.  The patient had to be accompanied by a friend, who would wait until the admission process was over in order to take away the patient's clothes.  Should the patient have been exposed to an infectious disease, such as scarlet fever, within less than a week of the probable date of confinement, admission could not be entertained, because of the danger to other patients.  Those affected would have to make other arrangements.  The day before discharge, a set of baby clothes had to be sent to the Maternity Home; these consisted of a knitted woollen belt, a woollen vest with long sleeves, a long flannel garment and a long dress of calico or nainsook.

By 1925 the premises of the Council's Maternity and Child Welfare Clinics, which had been housed in part of the building, had become inadequate.  Therefore, the Wesleyan Hall in Rushey Green was hired for four mornings a week for the Infant and Maternity Clinics.  The Ante-Natal Clinic was retained at the Maternity home.

In 1938 some 317 deliveries took place.

The Maternity Home presumably closed at the outbreak of WW2 in 1939.

Present status (February 2010)

The building is now the Rushey Green Nursery.

Lewisham Maternity Home

No. 41 Rushey Green (above and below).

Lewisham Maternity Home

Lewisham Maternity Home
The main entrance.

Lewisham Maternity Home

The building is quite extensive (above and below).

Lewisham Maternity Home
References (Accessed 25th July 2018)

(Author unstated) 1926 The Lewisham Maternity Home.  The Midwife (British Journal of Nursing Supplement), 3rd April, 208.

Miller JW 1929  Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  London, Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham, 68.

Wellesley Harris A 1925  Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  London, Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham, 19, 56.

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