Morris Markowe Unit
Kingston Road, New Malden, KT3 3RL
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1933 - 1991

In 1933 an Annexe was opened for the Springfield Mental Hospital in the buildings which had previously been used as the Kingston, Surbiton and District Red Cross Hospital during WW1.  

The Annexe provided custodial care for 302 long-stay elderly female patients.  They were provided with occupational therapy and entertainments, and were allowed to go out on parole, or on leave and holidays.

For the Coronation in 1953 a large TV screen was installed, so that the patients could watch the ceremony.

In 1954, when the Annexe housed 300 patients, an epidemic of epidermophytosis pedis (athlete's foot) broke out and was brought under control with difficulty, as shoes could not be sterilised by boiling.  

Some patients were given treatments at the Annexe, usually ECT, as well as the new drugs, such as chlorpromazine and Reserpine.

In 1956 many of the old ramshackle buildings, made of corrugated iron, were rebuilt with brick.  The large TV screen was abandoned as it was unreliable, and was replaced by two 21" screen TV sets.

The Annexe had 169 beds in 1974 and, in 1978, 112 beds.  By 1979 there were 154 beds.

In 1980, when it had 163 beds, it was renamed the Morris Markowe Unit, after the Medical Administrator of Springfield Hospital.

In 1982, after yet another NHS reorganisation, it became part of the Wandsworth District Health Authority (DHA), along with Springfield Hospital. In 1984 it had 161 beds, reduced by 1989 to 120.

At the beginning of the 1990s the Wandsworth DHA had the largest deficit in any English Health District and needed to save £9m.  It decided on the early closure of the Unit, which by now had only 54 beds.  The patients were transferred to Springfield Hospital in 1991.

Present status (July 2010)

The site was sold to Charles Church plc  for redevelopment as Springfield Place.

In 1994 a reclusive British bachelor, Alan Angus, a water rates collector who died at the age of 65 from a heart attack bequeathed almost £1m to the Morris Marlowe Unit, which had treated one of this relatives ten years previously.  Living in squalor, Mr Angus was unaware that the Unit had closed in 1991.

Hft Kingston  Hft Kingston
The newly developed site contains Hft Kingston, a day centre and short-term care home for people with learning difficulties, run by a national charity, the HF Trust.

new housing  new housing
Springfield Place, a cul-de-sac, as seen from Kingston Road (left)  The inner part of Springfield Place (right).
(Author unstated) 1990 Death by 1000 cuts.  8 South West Thames.  British Medical Journal  301 (6742), 7.
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