Nuffield Speech and Language Unit
 6, Castlebar Hill, Ealing, W5 1TD
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1961 - 2007

In 1960 No. 6 Castlebar Hill, a large house with extensive grounds, was bought by the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital for use as a long stay hostel for deaf children.  The hostel, which was next-door to the existing Hostel for Deaf Children and Mothers, opened in September 1961.  It provided intensive auditory training for late-diagnosed children aged from 4 to 7 years.

As techniques improved and it became possible to identify deaf children earlier, in 1971 the hostel was converted into the Nuffield Speech and Language Unit.

The Unit could accommodate 14 children, who had been
assessed in the Nuffield Hearing and Speech Centre at the parent Hospital and were recommended for a place in the Unit.  While they all had hearing  and speech defects, the Unit focussed especially on those with developmental verbal dyspraxia. The children were aged from 4 to 7 years and came from all parts of London and the Home Counties.  They stayed as boarders at the Unit for two years.

In 1982, after a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital came under the control of the Bloomsbury District Health Authority.  In 1996 it became part of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.

By 1997, as it had become increasingly difficult to recruit residential staff, the Unit had ceased to have boarders and had become a Day Unit, with children attending for two (or sometimes three) years.  They were brought to Ealing by taxi, with an escort; the cost of this was borne by the local authority or the referring Primary Care Trust.

By 2005 referrals had begun to dwindle and, in 2006, the Trust decided in principle to close the Unit as it was no longer financially viable.  In its final year of operation the cost of a place was £28,326.

The Unit closed in July 2007.

Present status (April 2008)

The property, which was owned by the Royal Free Charity, had been leased by the Trust.

Update:  February 2015

The lease for the building ended on 30th March 2011.  In 2014 it was being offered for letting by Go View.

N.B. Photographs obtained on April 2008

No. 6 Castlebar Hill
The house is well hidden by a wall and trees.

No. 6 Castlebar Hill  
NHS signage by the entry gate.
References (Accessed 27th January 2015)


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