|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
Englefield Green, Surrey
|1915 - 1919
The Princess Christian Red Cross Hospital was officially opened on 11th September 1915 by Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein herself.
Built in 12 weeks on Crown property at Englefield Green, almost on the southeast border of Windsor Park, it was located a mile or so from Egham. It was affiliated with the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich.
The Hospital had been built on an efficient, economic hut system similar to the Red Cross Hospital erected at Netley in fields behind the Royal Victoria Military Hospital. Sir John Furley and Mr W.J. Fieldhouse, who had specialised in hospital trains during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), designed the buildings and oversaw their erection, as well as their furnishings and general equipment. The British Red Cross Society had contributed £10,000 towards the building costs, and the remainder of the money had been raised by Princess Christian.
Although it was difficult at this time to find good wood and labour, the finest pitch pine was used. Because the grain was so good, it was decided not to paint the external walls. The yellowish-brown hue of the wood with decorative green gave a warmth and cheerfulness to the camp. The interiors of the huts were lined with asbestos panels.
The Hospital consisted of six pavilions containing 20 beds each, laid out in a semi-circle facing south. Behind these were 27 other buildings for clinical, administrative and staff use. The site contained an up-to-date operating theatre with an exceptionally well-equipped X-ray room, a Pathology Laboratory, a dispensary, a kitchen, store rooms, mess rooms, and staff quarters with bedrooms and sitting rooms for the Commandant, the Resident Medical Officers, the Matron and Assistant Matron, and cubicles for 15 Sisters and members of the Surrey/96 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.). Gas radiators and slow combustion stoves provided heating. There was a plentiful supply of bathrooms for all ranks. The Hospital was lit by electric lighting and was connected to the telephone system.
The floor of each ward hut was extended 8 feet (2.4 metres) beyond the front wall so that, in fine weather, bedridden patients could be wheeled through the central doors into the fresh air. A covering of striped canvas was stretched across the verandah to steel poles.
In the centre of the south front was a covered octagonal stand, like a bandstand in appearance, which was used as a Recreation or Dining Room in the summer.
Messrs Sutton, seedsmen and florists of Slough, laid out and planted the flowerbeds.
The Commandant, Sir William Taylor, K.C.B., formerly Director-General of the Army Medical Service, and the Assistant Commandant, Major Buckley, R.A.M.C., resided at the Hospital and were assisted by five local General Practitioners. Male orderlies were provided by the St John's Ambulance Brigade, but the remainder of the staff were women, including the Superintendent of the X-ray Department, the Quartermaster and the cooks.
In 1917 the Hospital was taken over by the military authorities and it became the Princess Christian Military Hospital. From 1915 to 1917 some 575 patients had been treated, of whom 403 returned to active duty. Twelve were discharged from service, 32 sent to other hospitals for specific treatment, and 24 transferred elsewhere (the others remained in Hospital). The low number of cases reflects the serious nature of the injuries, requiring a long period of in-patient care.
The Hospital closed in 1919. Of the 3,400 patients treated there, some 2,900 had arrived directly from the front. Only 17 had died.
Present status (April 2011)
The area was completely redeveloped after WW2, with Kingsley Avenue and Magna Road being built on the site of the Hospital.
The site of the former Hospital (above and below).
The Engelfield Green cemetery, owned by the Urban District Council, contains 90 war graves, including those of 32 Canadians from the Hospital and the Canadian Forestry Corps Hospital at Beech Hill.
(Author unstated) 1915 Care of the wounded. British Journal of Nursing, 18th September, 236.
(Author unstated) 1915 Care of the wounded. British Journal of Nursing, 25th September, 254.
(Author unstated) 1915 New Red Cross Hospital at Englefield Green. British Medical Journal 2 (2855), 453.
(Author unstated) 1915 Summary of Work Since the Outbreak of War to Date. London, British Red Cross Society.
(Author unstated) 1917 Our work. The Red Cross 3, 135.
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom. London, H.M.S.O.
(Author unstated) 1920 Red Cross Work in Surrey 1918-1919. British Red Cross Society Surrey Branch.
(Author unstated) 1919 Princess Christian Military Hospital. British Journal of Nursing, 8th November, 285.http://hansard.millbanksystems.com
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