|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
East and West Molesey
High Street, West Molesey, Surrey KT8 2LU
|1911 - 1933
The Molesey Urban District Council was formed following the Local Government Act, 1894, which united East and West Molesey. The Act abolished the old rural sanitary authorities, which meant that the infectious diseases cases resident in West Molesey, previously under the Kingston Rural Sanitary Authority, were no longer qualified to be admitted to Tolworth Isolation Hospital in Surbiton.
The Local Board at East Molesey, an unusually parsimonious body, had managed to avoid building an isolation hospital by quarantining infectious patients and their families in their homes (the Infectious Diseases (Prevention) Act, 1889, required local authorities to isolate infectious patients). This had had the result of making the family breadwinner unable to go to work, thus reducing the family to poverty. The Board eventually relented and allowed one person to work, but to lodge elsewhere for the duration.
The new Council was therefore compelled to build an isolation hospital for the area. It received a sum of £1,400 towards the cost of this in settlement of the contribution the residents of West Molesey had paid through their rates for the use of Tolworth Hospital.
The site chosen for the new hospital had once been an orchard and, in fact, some trees still remained.
The foundation stone for the East and West Molesey Isolation Hospital was laid on 6th October 1910 by the Chairman of the Council, Mr James Ray. The Hospital opened on 6th May the following year.
It consisted of four separate ward blocks, built at a cost of nearly £3,500. The cost of the Hospital buildings, together with the land (just over £1,000) and other expenses, including the laying of a gas main from the Walton Road, came to a total of about £5,000 - approximately £400 per bed. The Hospital was truly isolated, being completely surrounded by fields, with not a single house to be seen in any direction.
In 1914 the River Mole overflowed and the Hospital was flooded. Matron, doing her rounds, was wheeled on a trolley, while the staff on day and night duty, wore sea boots to wade from block to block. The doctor had to abandon his motor car, reaching the Hospital by farm cart.
In 1933, following the Surrey Review Order, East and West Molesey, Esher and the Dittons, and the parishes of Cobham and Stoke d'Abernon were united to form the new Esher Urban District. Arrangements were made to use Tolworth Hospital as the isolation hospital for the District.
The Hospital became redundant and closed in 1933.
Present status (June 2008)
In 1936 the vacant buildings were taken over by the Molesey Cottage Hospital, and are still in use today.
The entrance drive to the Molesey Hospital.
The main building.
Various smaller buildings containing the wards are located around the central courtyard (above and below). It is unclear which of these were the original ward blocks of the Isolation Hospital.
31st October 2013)
(Author unstated) 1914 Nursing echoes. British Journal of Nursing, 21st March, 253.
Baker RGM 1981 The story of Molesey Hospital. Self-published.
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